Starter Guide for Building Your First E-Commerce Store


Within the past year, I have created over ten e-commerce stores. Some were for me, and some were for my clients. Some were a success, and some were failures. But, that is not the purpose of this blog post. In the post, I am going to share a majority of the pieces that it takes to get your on your way to build an e-commerce store in 2018.

So there are three main platforms you can use to create your online store. Most start ups are using one of these platforms due to the ease of use and features. So to get started you first will have to choose your platform.

Affiliate Link Disclosure Certain links in this post may contain an affiliate link. Affiliate links are marked with a *.

Recommended Platform

  • Shopify* 14 day free trial (Easy to use, recommended for beginners)
  • BigCommerce 15 day free trial (Powerful but more advanced)
  • WordPress/WooCommerce (inexpensive, more for developers you’re in 100% control)

Accepting Payments

Now there are allot of payment getways out there. Payment gateways are a service provider that makes it extremely easy for your to start accepting credit cards on your website.

Here are some merchant gateways.

  • Stripe
  • Paypal
  • Authorize.net
  • 2 Checkout
  • Braintree (powered by PayPal)

I only included the link to PayPal and Stripe because those are the only two I’ve personally used.

Be prepared for processing fees. I found for the industry standard to be 2.9% of the transaction plus $0.30 for each transaction. You will likely be using Stripe if you’re in a supporting country. I also encourage also to allow customers to check out with their PayPal account. PayPal help buyers shop with confidence online with their protection policy.

When you accept credit cards on your website, you are going to need an SSL Certificate. An SSL provides an encrypted connection between your visitor and your web server. If you were using Shopify or BigCommerce, you will do this inside of your dashboard. If you are using WordPress, you will install an SSL certificate inside your hosting account.

Note: In most cases with Stripe, credit cards information are not stored on your server. This is a good thing. But you still need a SSL.

Analytics

There is two main analytics tracking that you are going to want. A must have is Google Analytics and Facebook’s tracking pixel if you are running Facebook ads.

Your Products Pages

Your product page is your landing page. With that being said you should treat it like one. You want your visitor to click that “add to cart” button. When creating your product pages, you can start by focusing on the following: The problem that your product solves, or the value the product and provide. Also, answer all the potential questions your potential customer may have about the product. Don’t leave let your visitor be uncertain about anything. Last but not least, leverage the power or emotion, bring the feeling to life that your customer will have when they hold, use, feel, touch, wear or whatever it applies to the way your product or service. Social proof is a great way to bring out emotions. For better results leverage the power or video and have frequently asked questions on your product page. Ok, I get that I gave your allot here. But this should put you in the right mindset.

Marketing Strategy

Plan out your marketing strategy ahead of time. Make a list of campaigns ideas and retargeting ideas and offers. Remember, it is unlikely a custom will by from you the first time they see your product of service. With this being said think of some retargeting ads to show to website visitors who visited your site that who din’t end up buying anything. This is easy to do with your Facebook Pixel. Be creative and come up with as many as you can your more you have the more you can test to determine what ads perform the best.

Recovering Abandon Carts

Abandon cart is a massive problem with e-commerce stores. The industry average for shopping carts is between 60% – 80%. That is enough to make or break your e-commerce store. Therefore it is essential to have a strategy on how to get ahead of this one.

Here is a basic email abandon cart strategy. Email follow up sequence. First email: Simple cart reminder. Second email: Shopping cart is about to expire. Third email: Offer coupon code. These options are 100% up to you.

If you are using BigCommece and Shopify* this feature is included in specific plans. If you are using WordPress, you can use an abandon cart plugin to send out emails for abandon cart.

Use Facebook messager. On your website if a visitor does not check out you can send them a message on Facebook if they added a product(s) to their cart in Facebook’s app browser.

Frequently Asked Questions

In your online store, you are going to want to have a Faqs page. You would be surprised how times a visitor will visit this page to find out more about your store such as shipping time, return policy, order tracking and maybe even why you are different. Having a Faqs will increase trust and build credibility.

Legal Stuff

You are going to want to have terms and conditions and a privacy policy page. These policies will outline how your business operates and how you will protect consumer information. Here is an example if a policy generator. Having this on your website increases credibility.

If you start making a lot of sales, I encourage you to hire an accountant to keep track of everything. Things can scale fast in the world of e-commerce.

Contact and Support Page

Customers will have questions. Having an excellent support and faqs page can significantly reduce the number of support emails. Make sure you take time and plan out this page. Ask your friends and family. “Take a look at this website and what questions would you have?”

That’s the basics of the beginning of building your first e-commerce store. I hope this gets you on the right path.

Final thought: Building an e-commerce store can change your life for the better. Take a stab at it and see if you got what it takes! Feel free to revisit this post. I will be adding to it periodically.

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