Many businesses rely solely on an online store to make money. Others use online ecommerce tools to complement their offline sales. Whichever camp you fall into, an online store could be a very profitable way to enhance your business and increase your revenue.

In this article, we’ll look at four crucial things you’ll need to do to set up your store correctly. You may still need professional help, but this guide will help you plan out exactly what’s required to get your store off to the right start.

Step 1. Consider Payments

There are many different ways to accept payments. Consider them all now. The method you choose will shape your requirements for the rest of your store.

When considering payment options, you’ll need to gather information from a variety of sources and look at payment gateways from your bank and other providers. Weigh up the costs per transaction and think about the payment methods your customers are most likely to use.

Armed with the right information, you can choose the most cost-effective payment gateway. And if in doubt, you can always start with something like PayPal and upgrade to a more comprehensive payment processor later.

Step 2. Choose Your Ecommerce Software

There are thousands of different ecommerce packages to choose from, from expensive storefront packages to free shopping cart plugins. Even the most basic ecommerce solution will get you up and running in no time.

When evaluating software, ensure that the package you’ve chosen supports your payment gateway (see step 1, above) and your product types. For example, if you sell lots of variations of the same item, you’d be best choosing a package that supports drop-down lists and checkboxes. If you charge VAT or variable postage, ensure the software can cope with the calculations you need it to do.

Many ecommerce applications are complete packages including templates, codes and skins for customisation. But you may still need to do a bit of tailoring and tweaking to get everything working correctly. Factor in the cost of a website designer or developer to help. It may seem like an unnecessary expense, but it’ll free you up to spend more time on the rest of the project.

Step 3: Get Your Copy Prepped

One your store’s set up and your payment gateway has been tested, it’s time to list your products.

Don’t rush this step: getting the product listings right is critical.

Never copy and paste product descriptions from other websites, even if you tweak them here and there. Google penalises duplicate content, and its algorithms can detect copies that have been changed or ‘spun’. The only way to ensure your copy is unique is to write it yourself, or employ a content writer to do the job on your behalf.

Every product description should be long enough to sell the product, cover all of its features and give Google something to index, so don’t go for short pages.

Remember to weave your keywords into the copy and spellcheck everything thoroughly prior to the go-live date.

Step 4: Compile Your Listings

Now it’s time to complete the rest of your product listings. This normally means adding an image of the product, categorising it, adding tags and reviewing the listing on the page.

Make sure you have a clear call to action: Buy Now or Add to Cart are the two most common. Also, every product page should have social sharing buttons in a prominent spot to increase the viral potential of your store.

If you have any video content, use it here too. Research shows that video makes a big difference to conversions, and it could set you apart from competitors that are selling the same items.

The Launch

When your store’s finished, it’s time for the launch. Use this as an excuse to kick off a marketing campaign, both online and offline. Use social media, link building, guest blogging and other tactics to raise awareness, and don’t forget to tell friends and family to spread the word. Over time, your store will grow, and it’ll really benefit from being built on solid foundations from day one.

Getting Started with your Ecommerce Store

If you are interested in setting up an online store then please contact JJ Solutions and we will give you all the help you need to create your very own ecommerce website.