If you are a small business owner or want to start selling online, setting up an online store can be very profitable for you. In the age of growing e-commerce and more and more purchases made online, the market is very competitive but also full of opportunities. In this guide, we present comprehensive guidelines for setting up and running an online store that will help you successfully start your e-commerce adventure.
How to set up an online store - 10 steps:
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The first step in setting up an online store is to choose a niche and products that you want to sell. You need to carefully consider your interests and skills, as well as which products have potential on the market. When choosing the right products, it is also important to pay attention to their quality and price to make sure they will be attractive to customers.
After selecting the right niche and products, the next step is to set up an online store. To do this, it is best to use ready-made solutions and choose proven (on which many stores operate) software for online sales.
This way you can easily set up a store, using ready-made templates or you can order the creation of a store with graphics and configuration from a specialist company. It is important that your page is clear and easy to use, contains all the necessary information about the products and order fulfillment.
Before making a decision to choose software to set up an online store, it is worth using the demo version and testing its operation, as the choice of the right e-commerce platform is key to the functionality and success of the store.
Configuration and building of the store varies depending on the chosen software, but in most cases the process is similar and includes several basic elements.
For details of the store configuration, it is best to check the manufacturer's website in the documentation. See the SOTESHOP online store documentation: Store Documentation
Learn more about how to choose a store domain from the article: How to choose a domain for an online store or website? Frequently asked questions and practical tips.
Product page is one of the most important elements of an online store, as it is responsible for selling the product. In order for the product page to be effective, it should contain the appropriate information that will help the potential customer make the right choice.
Important elements of the product page:
Particularly important element is the presentation of information related to delivery and purchase. See an example of a product card with a cart.
Product description is the most important part of the product page and should be accurate, clear and accessible. The description should include information about the features, functions and benefits of the product, as well as answer any potential customer's questions.
Product images should be of high quality and show the product from different perspectives. The images should be attractive and help the potential customer imagine the product in their everyday use.
Prices and availability of the product should be clearly displayed on the product page. Customers should know how much the product costs and if it is available for purchase.
Reviews and opinions of other customers are an important element of the product page and help potential customers make the right choice. Reviews should be genuine and given by authentic customers.
Technical specification of the product is particularly important for technical products and should contain detailed information about the parameters and functions of the product.
The cart on the product page should be visible and presented together with the price. If the product has options, they should appear above the cart, so that the final price and ordering method are clear.
Configuring payments in a store is an important element and it is good to offer customers several payment systems, so they can match the type of payment to their preferences. Convenient payment has a positive impact on sales.
Basic payment methods worth adding to an online store from the start:
Activating online payments involves signing a contract with the company offering such a service and configuring it in the store. Configuration is usually simple and involves entering the appropriate data in the store panel.
Before signing a contract with a company offering online payments, make sure that the payment is supported by the store software we are using. Such integrations are very advanced and there is no possibility to add them on an individual order or the cost of such implementation will be very high.
In short, we check the list of payment integrations of the store program and choose what is best for us.
Before we start selling, we should test each payment form to make sure that everything is properly configured and the funds for orders are transferred to our account. Never skip this step;)
See SOTESHOP payment systems: SOTESHOP Online Store Payment Integrations
For many customers, a good product price, convenient delivery type and fast order processing time are the most important parameters that decide whether to place an order. That's why it's worth choosing several different delivery methods and clearly presenting information about delivery.
Basic deliveries to add to an online store at the start:
Initially, we can send shipments even without signing a contract, but eventually it is worth taking care of it to have more favorable conditions.
A popular form of store promotion is offering free delivery. It can be offered e.g. for orders above a certain amount or for the entire offer.
When analyzing delivery costs, it is also worth taking into account the costs of returns and including them in our calculations.
An important element of delivery is reliable information. That's why information about real delivery should be shown next to the products and appropriate information about delivery costs should be added to the regulations.
It is a good practice to show information about deliveries immediately on the product card at the basket, so that the customer has everything at hand.
Example integrations with deliveries in the SOTESHOP online store:
Delivery Documentation: Deliveries in SOTESHOP
The marketing strategy can be better, worse, more expensive or cheaper to implement, but regardless of what we start with, it is worth having. Before we get into the detailed development of the plan, let's see how customers get to the store.
7 main channels through which we acquire entries to the online store.
Learn more from the article: How to acquire customers in an online store? 7 most important entry channels.
Every store wants its page to be in 1st place in search results. Of course, it is not possible for everyone from the outset. SEO needs to be prepared for. First of all, you need to have a good store program that supports SEO from the technical side. This is a ticket to further actions.
Learn about the technical aspects of SEO that a store program should have: 33 Technical SEO ElementsRemember that the position in the search results depends on the page ranking and even if we add the best product and the best description to the page, if the domain position is low, we have no chance of getting high places. But there is still hope, just start with longer keywords that are easier to position. Over time, as the domain gains points in the ranking, we will be able to fight for high positions for more competitive keywords.
From the very beginning of the store's operation, it is worth having a blog, as the content there will be helpful in SEO and positioning. Even if it does not guarantee high positions now, in the future it may be very helpful in achieving them.
You can also take advantage of the professional help of SEO and positioning specialists, but regardless of whom we choose, it is worth getting to know what SEO is all about to better understand what we want to achieve.
One of the answers to the question: How to set up an online store that grows quickly? - is to find the answer to the question: How to advertise effectively? Commercial advertising is one of the places that is perfect for scaling.
However, before we start scaling, it is worth bearing in mind that a badly planned advertisement that brings losses, multiplied many times, will deepen the bad results, while a good plan will add many times and allow us to reach a large number of recipients and customers in a short time.
Where to start? When planning an advertisement, we should consider 3 main places:
Learn more: How to start advertising online. 9 answers to frequently asked questions.Until recently, most ads were added to Google ADS or the Facebook ad network, but recently alternative advertising locations have become popular to add to the list. These can be news portals or affiliate link exchanges.
Regardless of which platform we use, it is worth having one common tool to measure the effectiveness of the ad. If we have it in the store, we don't have to rely solely on the data from the system and we can verify it. In addition, due to the limitations of external advertising systems and privacy policies and legal aspects, the store can collect data that is not available to other platforms.
Find out how to measure the effectiveness of any ad: ADS Tracker. Measuring the effectiveness of advertising.
Store social media profiles don't have to be boring. It's not about posting funny videos and pictures, but helpful information. If we add a blog post, let's also add a post to social media. Let's be where our customers are. Answer their questions and help. For many customers, social media is a convenient way to contact the company and instead of calling or writing an email, they will send a message via Messenger or Instagram.
To start, it's worth setting up accounts on the following platforms:
We don't have to add new content every day, but it's enough to plan to add new posts or even short video clips once a week to quickly build a valuable base of information that we can later use in advertising.
Learn more: Online Store in Social Media. 10 basic rules.
Use the newsletter in the online store to reach customers with interesting information and offers. Even if the customer does not make a purchase immediately upon visiting the store, we can encourage them to sign up for the newsletter. When building a mailing list, some incentive will come in handy, such as a discount, interesting information from the guide, freebies, etc. as a thank you for adding the address to the newsletter. A well-run mailing campaign can generate up to 20-30% of sales in the store.Good idea is to combine blog and newsletter. Thanks to that we build bigger engagement of customers who are more likely to come back to the store.
Learn more about using newsletter in the store from the article: How to send newsletter in an online store and measure its effectiveness?
When we have a ready store, we must take care of collecting information about the number of visits, conversions from entries and ads. This data will allow us to make better decisions on how to develop and optimize the store's offer and effectively increase sales.
For this purpose, it is worth adding additional tools to the store, such as:
When we have a store with products, our own domain, store program, graphics, configured deliveries, payments and we are ready to start selling, it is best to do it as soon as possible. If we can start selling, even with part of the offer or for a limited group of recipients, we do not have to wait to start selling online.
Working on the store is more like a spinning wheel than a waterfall, where everything is planned at the beginning and then there is no possibility of change.When we manage to launch a store, even in its basic form, let's go back to the previous stages with more knowledge and improve the next elements. From offer through marketing to distribution, using data collected in the store and analytical systems.
The e-commerce industry is changing very dynamically and those who can quickly adapt to changes win, giving them an advantage over the competition. Even if there are already large stores in your industry, you can always find your niche and be better than them. It's your knowledge, idea and passion that count, because it's thanks to them that your store will be unique.
Every online store must present customers with clear legal rules on which it conducts sales. Example required legal documents and elements to be added to the store page:
We don't have to create the online store regulations and other documents from scratch. We can use a ready-made template. It can be obtained from the software provider or from one of the many law firms. Don't prepare the regulations yourself, as they may turn out to be invalid and may expose us to high legal costs.
When choosing a store regulations, it is worth paying attention to whether there is an English version of the regulations and whether its translation was made by a sworn translator. If there is no such version, we must count on a high cost of translation (about 1500 PLN - 2000 PLN net) and updating the regulations in the future.
Check out the example prices of the regulations:
Regulations and privacy policies are one of the elements required by law when selling online. A professional online store should be constantly adapted to changes in the law. It is worth paying attention to this.
Find out more about e-commerce law: SOTE Blog. E-commerce Law.
If you have any questions about how to set up an online store, you can get our help. Just write to the e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org or write to the chat at the bottom of the page. We will be happy to answer your questions.
Set up your SOTESHOP online store from 45 zł/month.
Check out the new version of SOTESHOP 8.