Running an e-commerce business is a great way to reach a larger audience and scale your operations. Especially in today’s tech-driven world, selling online can be highly lucrative. In fact, 2021 statistics have shown that global online retail sales surpassed $5.2 trillion.
However, as great as it sounds, there’s more to setting up and launching an online business than meets the eye. Before you get started, there are a few things you need to take into account. Here are some key elements you need to consider before launching an e-commerce business:
Online stores work differently than brick-and-mortar businesses. They need an e-commerce platform to help manage inventory, process payments, and track shipping information.
Many e-commerce platforms are available, and each has its features and benefits. So, choosing one that best suits your business needs is essential. Some factors you may want to consider include ease of use, cost, features, and integrations.
Shopify, for example, is a popular platform that offers a variety of features, including 24/7 customer support and ease of use. WooCommerce is another popular option among small businesses because it’s free to use and integrates with WordPress.
Ultimately, your chosen platform should follow your specific needs and goals. This way, you can launch and run your business smoothly.
Domain Name and Web Hosting
Every website needs a domain name, which is essentially its address on the internet. It’s how customers will find and visit your store.
Your domain name should be short, easy to remember, and relevant to your brand. Once you’ve chosen a domain name, you need to link it to web hosting. This area is where your website’s files and other contents will get stored.
There are many web hosting providers to choose from, and some hosts offer e-commerce-specific features, such as security and performance enhancements. These can be beneficial for your online store. Nonetheless, researching and choosing wisely allows you to set your website up for success and avoid any hosting issues down the road.
Aside from an e-commerce platform, you need a web developer to help create and launch your website. These experts can also provide you with custom features and unique website integrations unavailable on your chosen platform.
They can even optimize your website to allow you more control over your website’s front-end design while still leveraging the e-commerce platform’s back-end functionalities. This feature is possible using a headless web development. As a result, you are in a position to provide a better overall customer experience.
Some businesses choose to develop their site themselves. But unless you have experience with coding or web development, it’s best to leave this task to the professionals. Especially with the complex processes of an online store, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Product Images and Videos
How a product looks is what convinces customers to buy from your store. They should be high-quality, engaging, and relevant.
Putting your best foot forward is always best when showcasing your products. But you have to ensure that your images accurately reflect the items you’re selling. Otherwise, you’ll likely get a lot of returns and refunds, which can negatively impact your business.
Product videos are also essential as they give customers a more in-depth look at your products. You can create these videos yourself or hire a professional to do it for you. But regardless of who creates them, ensure they are well-made and give customers the information they need to make a purchasing decision.
Investing in high-quality product images and videos is essential to launching a successful online store. So, make sure to allocate the necessary budget for these materials.
Shipping and Delivery
When customers purchase items from your store, they expect to receive them promptly. So, you need to have a shipping and delivery system before launching your business.
You’ll need to find a shipping service that can deliver your products to customers in a timely and safe manner. UPS and FedEx are two popular shipping services offering ground and air shipping options. Be sure to compare fees and terms before deciding on a provider.
You’ll also need to set up delivery methods and rates. Common options include flat rates, free shipping, and real-time quotes. But the best choice for your business will depend on your products’ sizes, weights, and shipping destinations. Either way, you can always change these rates and methods as you learn more about your customers’ shipping preferences.
Launching an online store is a great way to reach more customers and grow your business. But before you open your e-commerce business, there are a few things you need to consider. By taking the time to research your options beforehand, you can set your e-commerce business up for success.