People’s purchasing behavior has changed ever since the COVID-19 pandemic started early in 2020. More and more purchases are being made online. Having an online platform means it helps you stay competitive in the marketplace and allows you to stay relevant and afloat. 

It’s time you moved your physical business. In this article, I’ll explain to you the six easy steps to shift your business and provide some benefits of making the change to ecommerce.

1. Choose An eCommerce Solution Fit For Your Business

The very first step you need to take is finding the right eCommerce platform for your business. Many web hosting companies have an eCommerce extension that you can add to your existing site if you already have one. Take the time to research the different web hosting companies and compare the benefits that they bring.

Once that’s done, you now need to choose what type of hosting you want for your business. Do you want to use shared hosting where it is the most affordable type but has limited features, or go all the way to VPS hosting where you get your dedicated resources.

If you have the budget, I recommend that you choose VPS hosting because not only do you get your own dedicated resources, but you can scale your business quickly without any issues. 

Plus, the hosting company is also fully managed, so you don’t have to worry about maintenance and management. One great and reliable VPS hosting provider is Hostinger.com. They’ve proven to have excellent uptime and have very competitive prices.

2. Setup and Customize Your Website

The next step is to create your website. First, you’ll need to register a domain name. Usually, web hosting companies have tools to help you do it. You can check whether your domain name is available through their domain name checker and register it. Since you’re planning to use their web hosting plans, the domain name is often given to you for free for the first year.

Second, you should now create and customize your website. Some web hosts have website builders that you can utilize. They offer various themes and templates to get you started. It’s highly customizable, and some web hosts also provide additional tools to help you integrate features or elements missing from your website.

Don’t forget to set up an online store on your website. Decide on the right platform for you, whether it is a builder or a popular alternative like WordPress and WooCommerce.

3. Add Products and Content

Once everything on your website is set, now is the time to add what you want to sell. You should take high-quality photos of your products which should cover every part of it. Then upload them to your website and write product descriptions underneath them. Ensure that it starts with its best features and then follow up with a detailed description.

Because people can’t visit your store directly now that you’re online, therefore it is necessary to have content on your site. Here are a few pages that you should have to get people familiar with your products and business in general:

  • Home page – Should have a visual showcase of your products and a brief description of what your business is.
  • About us page – Tell more about yourself and your business, mention your professional background, certifications, and how your business started,
  • Products page – Explain in more detail about each of your products and services.
  • Contact us page – Here, put your contact information and business hours so customers can know how and when to reach you.

4. Improve Website SEO

As your business goes online and if its content is good, it’ll appear on search engines for various queries, bringing in more traffic. Your website must rank high on search engine result pages because most users are more likely to click on a website that’s on the top five suggestions or the first page of the SERPs.

To improve your website SEO, here are some steps you can take to do so:

  • Fix technical SEO issues – This ranges from speed, broken links, duplicate content to unoptimized pages.
  • Optimize pages – You can use Google Search Console tools to help optimize your Title, meta descriptions, and content. 
  • Find out high-ranking & profitable keywords and use them on your site – use tools like Google Keywords Planner.
  • Create local pages to attract local customers.
  • Optimize your website for different devices – desktop, mobile, and tablets.

5. Have an Order Fulfillment Plan

Since customers are buying your products online, there needs to be a mechanism for delivering them. To do this, you can do the shipping and packaging yourself and send it to delivery services, so they provide it to your customers.

The second way is to have an order fulfillment system where you work with a third-party service where they would store your products, do the packaging, and drop-ship orders directly to your customers on your behalf. Find a fulfillment service that can integrate into your eCommerce website to make it easier for customers to pick a shipping option.

6. Promote Your Online Store

After everything is set up, the last thing you need to do is promote your online store to get traffic and sales. As mentioned before, one of the ways to gain traffic and promote your store is by optimizing your website SEO. Besides that, here are a few other tips to help you promote your online store:

  • Create special launch discounts – this is to get customers to your site and spread awareness about your products and website.
  • Boost your digital engagement through social media – promote your products through various social media channels, use appropriate hashtags, and work with influencers active in your niche.
  • Create useful and informative content – provide helpful information about your products and your niche so people looking for similar products might stumble upon your site.
  • Use Google Ads – this can help you with search engine marketing to bid on keywords, so you appear on top of the search engine results. Though since it’s bidding, you need to pay the highest amount during the auction.

Benefits of Starting An Online Store

You now know the simple steps to create an online store. In case you are still wondering or unsure whether or not you should go online from your brick and mortar store, here are some benefits of starting an online store:

  • 24/7 availability – if your brick and mortar store closes at night, the online store is always open. Customers can place their orders online anytime.
  • Low starting cost – it’s substantially cheaper than opening a brick and mortar store where you need to rent a building and hire staff. An online store only requires you to create a website to get started.
  • Work from anywhere – having an online store no longer limits you to just staying in one place. You can go virtually anywhere as long as there is a good internet connection.
  • Go global – you’re no longer limited to selling locally. With access to the internet, your website is open to anyone worldwide to visit and purchase.
  • Reduces operating costs – with everything easily automated, staff numbers and office expenses can be reduced since everything is done online.

Conclusion

Creating an online store is considered a necessity these days. Not only you’ll reach a broader market, but it will significantly reduce various costs compared to your previous brick and mortar store. Let’s recap on the steps to create an online store:

  1. Choose An eCommerce Solution Fit For Your Business
  2. Setup and Customize Your Website
  3. Add Product and Content
  4. Improve Website SEO
  5. Have an Order Fulfillment Plan
  6. Promote Your Online Store

All that’s left to do now is for you to apply these steps and start creating your online store. Remember to take your time and choose the right web hosting provider as you’re probably going to be with them for an extended period.

Posted by Elaine Bennett

Elaine Bennett is an Australian-based digital marketing specialist focused on helping startups and small businesses grow. She writes hands-on articles about business and marketing, as it allows her to reach even more people and help them on their business journey.