Are you a small business owner looking to sell your products online, but aren’t exactly sure how to get started? Look no further! This post will walk you through eight steps you can take to get your e-commerce business up and running.
Step 1. Choose what to sell online
The best way to determine what to sell online is to ask yourself what you can offer to customers that fulfills a need or desire. Is there an untapped market that you can take advantage of or a pain point you can solve with your products? Is there a popular or trending product that you can capitalize on? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, you’ve found an e-commerce opportunity. Any products you’ve chosen to sell should be easy to ship or manufacture, align with your current small business operations, and generate a positive return on investment (ROI).
Step 2. Pick an e-commerce platform
There are many different types of e-commerce platforms to choose from, all with varying benefits, features and extensions. Some of the best platforms for small businesses include: Shopify, BigCommerce, Wix Ecommerce, Squarespace and WooCommerce. To identify the best choice for your small business, make a list of all your requirements and evaluate the platforms based on how well they meet your needs.
For more advice, read our post: How to Choose an eCommerce Platform for Your Small Business.
Step 3. Get a domain
Next up, it’s time to generate a domain name for your e-commerce store. Getting your domain name right is essential for guiding customers to your online store and improving brand awareness and recall. As you’re brainstorming, try to strike a balance between a unique and memorable name, and one that is short and simple to spell. For more tips, check out How to Choose the Right Domain Name for Your Small Business.
Step 4. Design your site
The easiest way to ensure a pleasant, seamless experience for customers and optimize your e-commerce site for sales is to use a website theme or template. Many of the e-commerce platforms mentioned above provide customizable templates that you can update to reflect your small business branding.
Step 5. Add your content
Once you’ve designed your online store, the next step is to load up your products and content. While this part can sound intimidating, remember that your website is a living, breathing document that can (and should!) continue to evolve. Your product pages are critical for launch and should include product categories, descriptions and images. Focus on your homepage and your “about” page to deliver a solid first impression and ensure that customers can learn more about your small business. Don’t forget to include accurate contact information so shoppers can get in touch with you, the small business owner.
Step 6. Partner with a dropshipper
To simplify your e-commerce experience, consider integrating your online store with a dropshipping supplier. This partnership allows you to sell products selected from the supplier’s catalog without having to stock, manage or ship any inventory. Customers will buy the products–chosen, priced, and marketed by you– from your online store, but have their orders fulfilled and shipped by the dropshipping supplier.
Step 7. Connect a payment provider
Ensuring your e-commerce site can accept secure online payments is a requirement for your small business to run smoothly and ensure you can get paid. The first thing to do is decide what kind of payments you will accept, keeping in mind that it’s best practice to offer customers multiple payment methods (think: credit cards, debit cards, bank transfers, split-payment or buy now, pay later solutions and digital wallets). Then, do some online research to select a reliable provider to process transactions for your small business. Popular providers include Stripe, Square, PayPal, Braintree and Shopify.
Step 8. Market your online store
Once your website goes live and you’re ready to start selling, it’s time to promote, promote, promote. There are several different ways to market your online business, ranging from free or low-cost options like social media posts and email campaigns, to paid ads and influencers. For more ideas, check out these Small Business Marketing Channels to Prioritize in 2022.
As online shopping rates continue to soar, there’s never been a better time for small business owners to market and sell products online. Following the tips above will get you eight steps closer to creating a booming e-commerce business.