The eCommerce industry is skyrocketing like never before, especially due to the COVID19 crisis. In addition, due to containment measures, online shopping that was once used to be a convenience and luxury has become necessary. Stats reveal a notable upsurge in global eCommerce sales.
Many people want to explore the domain of eCommerce and show a keen interest in launching their very own eCommerce store. However, if your objective is to start earning instantaneously, the goal should be a scalable & engaging eCommerce Store. Suppose you want to add true value to the contemporary online market to earn you a notable return over minimal investment. In that case, this blog post will take you to the journey of a 10-step guide to launch your eCommerce store using Shopify.– from picking a brand name to acknowledging shipping alternatives. Let’s discuss every step included.
1. Getting Started
There are many eCommerce platforms to opt from, but Shopify provides a very user-friendly interface, offers a free 14-day trial, and is efficient enough to handle your growth. Start by making an account on Shopify by entering your email address, password, and unique brand/store name.
You’ll then be provided with another page that needs you to enter personal and business information. It’s a good practice if you do it without skipping this option later. Don’t forget to:
Setting up Google Analytics – it’s your much-needed tool to reduce cart abandonment.
Adding your credit card details – you don’t want all your effort and progress to disappear once your 14-trial days are finished.
2. Personalize Your eCommerce Store
Here comes the most interesting part, that is, building your eCommerce store.
Buying your domain (optional)
Your domain name is your website address. Shopify automatically assigns you a .myshopify.com domain for free, but if you’re curious about brand image and growth, you are recommended to purchase a personalized domain name. Go to your Shopify admin and click Online Store >Domains >Buy a new domain and start searching your domain name from available options. Ideally, it must be easy to cram, quick to type, and possess your store/brand name.
Selecting a theme
Your theme is one of the most important entities that showcase your website’s presentation, appearance, feel, and ease of use for your customers, and it cast a notable impact on engagements and conversions. Go to the Shopify Theme Store to search for free or paid themes. All these themes are highly customizable and don’t require any coding or programming skills. Must ponder over sample web layouts and reviews. Make sure that your theme is optimized for smartphones.
Customizing your theme
Once you’ve selected a theme, you can begin customizing and adjusting as per your requirements. Go to the Shopify admin, click Themes>Customize and start customizing by adding colors, fonts, social media links, pictures, and visual options such as categories, lists, menus, and products per page.
Here, you’re gearing up to create an attractive visual flow and streamlined customer experience. Enrich your website with plenty of light color space, high-quality images, and an organized layout that drives visitors to your buy button.
Once you’re done with your website’s overall appearance, look and feel, you need to add relevant content. Start by enriching:
A home page;
A contact us page;
An about page (Don’t forget to add shipping and returns policies); and
Refrain from using complex vocabulary. Instead, maintain clarity by using crystal clear and engaging words that improve your customers’ experience, and refrain from using lengthy paragraphs. Keep it as much simple as you can. Last but not least, add SEO-friendly content.
You can boost your eCommerce website with utility applications and integrations but don’t get too carried away. Poorly designed apps can drive down your website’s performance and reduce engagements.
3. Add Products
What’s an eCommerce platform without any products? But wait a minute, you need to choose between where you’re getting your products from.
Dropshipping or not?
You have two viable options: opt for sourcing and owning products yourself or a dropshipping model. As a starter, dropshipping saves you a lot of effort and helps you avoid numerous risks as you market and sell the products of a third-party supplier, while the third-party supply stores and ships the products directly to the customer. In addition, dropshipping frees you from the burden of manufacturing and inventory management. The perks of dropshipping can be attractive for entrepreneurs, but one must not oversee the possibility of encountering poor delivery standards, limited inventory visibility, and less RoI. Another alternative is to source products by yourself and use an outsourced shipper to store and deliver.
Adding a product
To add a product, go to the Shopify admin and click Products >Add products and fill the product briefing including:
A clear, concise, and relevant title;
A complete, informative, and SEO-optimized product description;
Clear, high-quality, and professionally outlooking images; and
Any other relevant information such as price and variants etc.
Organizing your products
Imagine an eCommerce website with a poor layout and messy appearance, and you will hardly tend to stay on such a website, forget about searching and buying anything. Organizing your products into categories (for example, womenswear and menswear) is a lifeline of your business as it allows your customers to navigate your website easily. Create product categories and filters on the search page.
4. Select a Payment Gateway
Now, you want to make sure that you can accept payment for your products. First, choose a feasible payment gateway using the Payments section on the Shopify admin page. The key points to consider while choosing a payment gateway include:
Transaction fees – taken on top of Shopify’s transaction fees;
Payment options – the more payment methods you provide, the stronger customer base you can build; and
On-site checkout – keeping payment methods on-site allows your customer to have a smooth purchase journey.
5. Line up your taxes
Depending upon your location, you may need to charge your customers for sales tax. Go to Settings >Taxes, where you can select tax regions and add options such as all-inclusive rates, shipping taxes, and taxes on digital items.
6. Create Shipping Policy
The next step is to ponder over your shipping rules and to dedicate shipping options. For example, is it rational to offer free 2-day shipping, as Walmart’s fast shipping program does?
Fast shipping costs you more than standard shipping, but it is worth the spending as it can skyrocket your customer’s satisfaction trajectory. Statistically, sellers experienced a 900% increase in sales by offering fast shipping on their products. Therefore, another directed strategy is offering fast shipping on your trending and best-selling items to increase their traction. Once you acknowledge which strategy you should opt for, decide how to fulfill your Shopify orders, fast delivery is an important concern for 99% of US consumers, so it is recommended to opt for the option to promise on-time delivery to your customers.
You met with the two choices here:
Self-fulfillment - It means fulfilling orders from your home or warehouse and handling everything from labels to packaging and shipping on your own. This practice ensures you full control and deep analysis of your business operations.
Outsourced fulfillment - It means partnering with an outsourced vendor that handles storage, packaging, shipping, and tracking of your products. Shopify-powered fulfillment vendors are a trusted option for eCommerce stores eager to benefit from professional staff expertise and suitable delivery rates.
Once you’re done choosing your method, you need to set your delivery fee.
Every customer prefers to form a platform that provides free shipping. You can later cover the costs of free shipping in the form of a sales boost.
Flat rates are driven by parameters like product destination, weight, or value. Flat shipping rates are favorable while selling items of similar sizes and weights. However, when items vary, the cost burden would be on the shoulders of either a customer or the seller.
Real-time shipping rates
Shopify integrates with specific shipping carriers to provide real-time shipping rates. Unfortunately, this option is only available on the most premium Shopify plan, and it doesn’t allow you to offer attractive rates. Once you’ve made your mind regarding how to ship and how much to charge, go to Settings >Shipping and add shipping origin, destinations, weights, sizes, and rates.
Before going live, it’s very important to test your eCommerce site, specifically:
Accessing your store;
Exploring the products on your site;
Buying a product (Apart from Shopify’s bogus gateway, it is recommended to use the real payment gateway to ensure it works)
Testing on multiple devices.
Is the process hurdle-free and quick? Do you find what you want easily? Are there any errors? Are you drawn to the checkout without any trouble? Are the shipping options and policies clear? Does your inventory update itself? Ultimately, would you prefer to buy from you? If your answer is NO, change anything that you think is causing trouble.
Once you go live, you will realize it’s making any change at all without any customers. So prioritize a pre-launch marketing plan and utilize social media, podcasts, google ads, Facebook ads, youtube ads, discounts offers, and blog posts to boost engagement and gain customer retention.
9. Go live
It’s time to sound the launch drum and get ready to cut the ribbon as you launch yourself to go live. If you’re still using a 14-day trial version, you’ll need to choose a plan and then go to Online Store>Preferences, uncheck the Enable password page option, and click Save.
Congratulations – your eCommerce platform is now live, but you’re not done yet. Once you’re live for business, you need to start working on your next objective, that is, expansion.
Seventy-five percent of online shoppers utilize a multitude of sales channels for locking a single purchase. Customers go through reviews, compare competitors, and most of the time prefer buying from a brand they trust. Integrating online marketplaces with your eCommerce store is the best way to engage these customers, and it’s easy to use multi-channel fulfillment vendors, cross-channel inventory utilities, and multi-channel listing tools.
If you opt for self-fulfillment at step six, you will find yourself bound as you try to expand. However, outsourcing your fulfillment in part or fully lessens your burden by handling strict delivery deadlines, especially during peak seasons. It also has additional advantages while selling on multiple sales channels, as it allows you to win your place in the fast shipping programs.
Reviews influence more than 90 percent of consumers. So reviews about transparent tracking, excellent customer service, and timely deliveries surely create a difference by giving you a competitive edge over your potential rivals.
There are many advantages of having your eCommerce store, and with Shopify being so simple and easy to manage, you can easily turn your e-commerce startup dream into reality. Thinking of launching your e-commerce store, get in touch with us for consultation.
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