E-Commerce Store Grand Opening: Let's Get Started
LeapWebHosting provides a variety of jumping-off points to you when you begin the task of creating your E-Commerce store. If logistics are your thing, it may be a good idea to start with planning for shipping and payment. If you want to start with your interface it may be a good idea to ensure that your check-out procedure is intuitive. Maybe look into some web apps to make the process really slick.
Whatever you start with, there are a lot of tasks for you to complete before you have your store's 'Grand Opening'. Don't get going too fast until you can complete the following sentence.
In my store, I am going to sell...
Are you already selling products? What is your customer base? Do you have a brick and mortar location? Do you sell through third parties, at trade shows, at craft fairs? Will your new E-Commerce store be the initial introduction of your product(s) to the world? If you have existing customers, chances are you know what they like and should market those same products. If you have a brick and mortar location, it might be a good idea to make sure that your E-Commerce store has the same look and feel. In this case you want to pay careful attention to fonts and colors. This will provide for brand continuity.
Of course it is perfectly acceptable to start with your store and build or expand the product line later. In fact, creating the store might drive your product decisions. Think about what you like in an online shopping experience. Chances are most people want the same things. Order customization is one thing to consider. Another thing to consider is the rising popularity of open source browsers. Are you going to be Firefox, Safari, and Chrome friendly? Will you create apps and add-ons to enhance your customers' shopping experience, no matter what they choose as a browser?
Once you've created this framework, it's very likely that the E-Commerce store front you have created will scream out the product that is the best fit. So, let's get started.
Packaging matters (even on the Internet).
Brand names sell for more money. Why? Marketing and packaging consistency. If it looks good and people are familiar with it, they will buy it. Your product needs to look as good. It takes some work to make this happen, but it's all worthwhile.
It's important to remember that no photograph will completely capture your product in the way that it looks in person. That's why it is important to make sure that the pictures are high resolution and shot using a high quality camera. It is probably a good time to invest in a professional photographer. If this is cost prohibitive, please, at the very least, upgrade your digital camera. Ask the professionals at a local camera retailer for the accessories you might need to take great pictures. We recommend a tripod at bare minimum. Look at other websites and jot down what makes their products 'pop'.
A well written, easy to read, description of the product(s) is also important. In fact, some customers are drawn more to the written word than pictures. The descriptions should certainly provide an accurate description. Beyond that, remember that the words used to define the product are also part of the brand. Is it appropriate to describe the product in the context of a story? Is it appropriate to use words that imply luxury, reliability, or familiarity?
Now build your store!
No online store is the same, but the successful ones have a lot in common. We have identified E-Commerce solutions that meet a variety of needs and a variety of budgets.
While they aren't as well known as Shopify, solutions like Magento, CartKeeper, and Zen Cart are definitely more budget friendly. In addition to this, these solutions allow hosting of your own E-Commerce store, and this may be important to you as you expand and grow your business. These have all been used to great success by other online businesses.
If you aren't blogging via WordPress, chances are you follow more than one blogger who does. If you know that interface, you will have an easy time using ShopperPress, WP E-Commerce, or MarketPress as the driving force behind your store. Do you have something for sale that needs to be downloaded? SP Secure downloads is a great vehicle for that, and you don't have to give a cut to a middle man.
What are you waiting for?
You have the groundwork. Good branding. Hi-res photography. Meaningful descriptions. Intuitive customer interaction. Get started!
P.S. And if you will need a good hosting for your website, don't forget to sign up with 20% OFF code :)