Guest Blog: A Small Guide to Building an Online Store from Scratch


Thanks to the appearance of advanced ecommerce software solutions, also known as online shopping carts, nowadays, it has become pretty much easier to start up your own online venture. Many entrepreneurs worldwide highly appreciate this remarkable opportunity to create a full-fledged online store while avoiding significant investments on professional web development and design services.

Many modern ecommerce programs and applications come packaged with a rather wide toolkit and provide sufficient usability and flexibility, making it incredibly easy for virtually anyone to set up a professionally looking and multifunctional ecommerce website just from scratch in a matter of a few days only, even with basic technical skills and no related experience at all. Here is a brief guide to go down to business.

Choose The Perfect Online Shopping Cart

When exploring the market of online shopping cart programs and applications, be prepared to encounter a very extensive choice, with solutions differing somehow in their functionality, power and flexibility level provided. No secret, success of any venture is all about making the right decisions. Your shopping cart software is going to be not only a platform to build and set up your online store on, but also a comprehensive tool to manage and control your online sales, customers, shipping, marketing – actually, all aspects of your online venture. Therefore, you should take your time to make the most deliberate choice meeting perfectly your specific business needs and goals.

Primarily, your choice should depend on the size of your future ecommerce website. Some web shopping carts are intended for small and mid-sized web shops, while others are designed specifically for sophisticated ecommerce projects, like virtual shopping malls, multi-department stores and enormous online marketplaces with multiple independent vendors selling their products via a common storefront.

Some other crucial points to pay your attention to are: software functionality, open-source or proprietary character, technologies used, sufficient choice of payment gateways and shipping options, marketing and promotional campaigns, customer support and multilingual support to name a few.

Customize Your Storefront

The next logical step is designing and customizing your storefront. While being the first thing that your prospects see when visiting your online marketplace, it is actually what creates their first impression of your store in general. It's no secret that rather often shoppers judge a store, the quality of goods offered and business credibility level by its appearance. Your storefront can also serve as a powerful marketing tool to get your web store noticed and attract more new visitors to it. And finally, one more crucial mission that your storefront is going to fulfill is differentiating your online store from hundreds and even thousands of your competitors that are always just a few clicks away.

Therefore, you should take your time to make your online storefront, unique, highly attractive and professionally looking to convince your customers and visitors to buy from you. The entire look and feel of your storefront should be also sticky and engaging, so that to keep your prospective customers interested, encourage them to browse through your website and explore your product catalogs and finally induce them to spend their money on your goods or services.

Luckily, today's advanced online shopping carts provide multiple remarkable opportunities to create a really sophisticated, exclusive storefront. You can take advantage of various cutting-edge web development and design technologies, templates and options with stunning graphical elements, awesome effects and creative options to highlight your goods and attract your visitors' attention to them.

It's also definitely worth to integrate interactive graphics, extra visual elements and some web design tricks, such as full-color, bright photos and images, exciting videos, cute quotes, relevant reviews, ratings, customer testimonials, etc. They will do a great job of attracting a larger client audience and making your marketplace stand out from a crowd of your competitors. Make sure, it's never enough to be creative when it comes to making your web storefront really exclusive and eye-catchy.

Set Up Your Product Catalogs and Add Content

As soon as your web storefront is ready, you can start setting up your catalogs and adding products. When working on the structure of your product catalogs, try to use customer-tailored approach. It's highly important to ensure that your visitors enjoy ultimate, maximum convenient user experience while browsing through your web store. The best way to fulfill this crucial task is through user-friendly, intuitive web store interface, smartly organized navigation and clean design. While adding products to your storefront, you should also provide them with sufficient information and visual content to let your shoppers learn everything they may need about any particular item just on the spot.

Take your time to provide each and every product in your stock with large professional photos and well-written, detailed descriptions. Some other useful content, like user guidelines and videos, will surely contribute to your customers ultimate shopping experience. One more essential thing is to arrange comprehensive and easy on-site search.

Try to offer your customers as many search options as possible, so that they can find any necessary item in a matter of a few clicks and moments only: by the product name, model, number, category, description, popularity and pricing to name a few. Take Care About Your Absolute Online Security The final and highly important step in your online store set process is ensuring ultimate online security. While you obviously need to have total peace of mind knowing that your online transactions are completed successfully and securely, your shoppers also want to be 100% confident when entering their personal information, especially their credit card numbers, that are typically required for the purchase transaction completion. Two popular and really effective ways to protect your online store are HTTPS (SSL) and security entities, such as TRUSTe or VeriSign.

Author's Bio

Nicolas Fincher is a marketing and community manager at www.cs-cart.com, an established ecommerce platform development company with its primary product CS-Cart. Learn more about CS-Cart here.

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