Ecommerce For Dummies: How To Build an Online Store (Step By Step)

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Start Here: 3 Things To Do Before Starting Your Online Store

immediately, before you pull out your citation wag and sign up with any of the commend ecommerce builders, ensure you :

1. Clarify your goals

Knowing what you want to sell and how you ’ ll sell it ( in the present and the future ) will help you choose the perfective platform for your memory.

Answer these questions to simplify the process :

  • Is it going to be a single product store? If yes, do you plan to sell multiple products in the future?
  • Do you want to sell digital products, physical products, or both?
  • Will you manufacture the product(s) yourself, buy wholesale, or dropship?
  • In the foreseeable future, will the store size be small to medium (< 100 products) or large (> 100 products)?

Got your answers ? immediately, go to step-2. Side Note: This will besides help you choose a proper domain appoint. For example, say you are presently planning to sell andiron food ; then, you ’ re probable to choose something like however, if you ’ vitamin d pre-plan for the future and know there ’ s a casual of selling other supplies, then you ’ five hundred prefer

2. Decide on how you’ll make your store

The three common ways are :

  1. Using a website builder that supports ecommerce (Squarespace is the best)
  2. Using an ecommerce website builder (Shopify is the best)
  3. Using a CMS plugin (like WooCommerce)

For most minor to mid-sized ecommerce stores, we recommend Squarespace for its beautiful templates, drag-and-drop builder, and rest of use. On the other hand, Shopify is slightly building complex but gives you gain functionalities through the Shopify app memory with 6300+ 3rd party apps ( for case, Oberlo for dropshipping ). Overall, it ’ sulfur great for stores of all sizes. As for WooCommerce, it ’ randomness less beginner-friendly than the other two, but a good choice if you want to have other subject ( like video or photograph galleries ) alongside ecommerce and are already companion with WordPress.

3. Get the domain name for your store

once you know the oscilloscope of your store, list down a few domain names in precedence order. then, search for the handiness of each domain from top-to-bottom. Register a soon as you find one available. Ideally, register from the ecommerce chopine you choose ⁠— both Squarespace and Shopify ’ s plans include detached domain registration.

1. Using a Website Builder with Ecommerce Plans

These days most major web site builders let users create ecommerce stores alongside other web site types ( web log, landing pages, little business websites, etc. ). We prefer web site builders because they ’ re typically easier to use. For exercise, Steve created his Squarespace-powered, one product storehouse for his music in approx. 10-15 minutes.

What is a website builder?

web site builders are all-in-one web site construction tools with everything you might need : templates, photograph galleries, web host, forms, ecommerce, and more. Besides, most web site builders include a drag and drop ocular editor program to add/arrange/edit ocular elements of your store.

What’s the best website builder with ecommerce features?

These two are the overall best web site builders and exceed web site builders with ecommerce functionalities :

  • Squarespace ⁠— It’s the best website builder in our experience. For ecommerce, it has an intuitive editor, outstanding templates, and all fundamental features: built-in tax tool, discount code generator, point of sale, simplified & secure checkout, free SSL certificate, all ways to sell (physical products, digital products, subscription, appointments), and more. Plus, it has a handful of extensions like Shipstation to print shipping labels for a streamlined ecommerce experience.
  • Wix ⁠— It’s a great website builder with standard ecommerce features. However, it’s a bit complex and messy for beginners.

A Step-by-Step Guide To Building Your First Online Store With Squarespace

now that you ’ ve some idea of how web site builders help build an on-line store, let ’ s walk bit-by-bit through creating a shop with Squarespace :

Step 1: Create a Website

a soon as you sign up with Squarespace, you ’ ll see the “ Create Website ” button. Click it to get started. If you want to make a standard web site first, check out our how to make a web site guide. We discussed a fortune more about plan and styling the web site there. here, I ’ ll just concentrate on the ecommerce expression.

Step 2 : Choose A Template

adjacent, you ’ ll have to select a template ⁠— Squarespace has 100+ templates to choose from. Filter the templates as needed. I'll stick with Of the many, I chose the Crosby template : You can customize it however you want ⁠— change images, choose colors, add buttons, edit text, remove sections, etc.

Step 3: Add Site Title

You can add your site/store ’ south name good from the depart or skip it for subsequently. I'll call it the

Step 4: Add Online Store Page

once you add the initial information, you ’ ll country on the Squarespace editor program. Under Pages, I ’ ll remove all the existing pages and add a store to keep it simple.

Step 5: Adding Items

here ’ s how the web site looks with precisely the store foliate : Now, let’s add items. Click on the summation ( + ) picture to add new products. following, you ’ ll be asked to select the product type you want to sell. I ’ ll choose the most common one for the demonstration – Physical.

Step 6: Add Product details

immediately let ’ s add all the product details. Add Basic Details

  • First up, add the product title.
  • Then, the product description,
  • Product images,
  • And the thumbnail image.

future, insert the monetary value of the product. If you want to show it on sale, enable the choice and set the sale price. besides, enter the quantity of the product you ’ ve in the stock to show it ’ s sold out when the specify number is sold. Setting Variations Of The Product If you sell multiple variants of the same product, you can add those options while entering the details : For exemplar, if you sell a earphone in unlike sizes and of different materials, add the pas seul and price for the size & corporeal here. Product Organization: Organizing your products is necessity. For example, if person is looking for over-ear headphones, there ’ s no sense in showing them earphones or earbuds. With Squarespace ’ randomness Organization, you can set the intersection categories and tags to make searching easier for the visitor. last, add proper SEO style, URL, and description to stand a luck of getting constituent traffic to the merchandise page.

Step 7: Add Custom Elements To The Product Page (Optional)

You can besides display product reviews, consign customers repeatedly with Squarespace Subscription, collect visitors ’ details using the form, show associate products to cross-sell, and do a batch more on the product page.

Step 8: Tada! The Product Page Is Ready!

Step 9: Add a Way To Get Paid

all right ! The product page is ready. potential purchasers can now scroll through your web site, discover the products you sell, and even add it to their shop handcart. But… They can ’ thyroxine quite make a purchase yet. You need to set up a payment central processing unit to accept on-line payments. then either blue-ribbon “ Add a way to get paid ” from the apparatus assistant or go to Commerce > Setup > Payments to connect a payment central processing unit. You can set up Paypal to accept Paypal payments and Stripe for all other chief requital methods – credit cards, debit cards, Apple Pay, etc. additionally, if customers are hesitant to pay upfront ( because your shop is raw & doesn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate seem trustworthy ), you can use Square for POS ( Point Of Sale ) payments ( for US customers ).

Step 10: Add Shipping Rates

You can set shipping rates under Commerce > Setup > Shipping. Keep either a fixed price or dynamic price depending on weight, localization, and shipping carrier.

Step 11: More Features (Optional)

Your basic store will be cook by Step 10. On clear of that, you can add many features like express check, minimum order to checkout, refer items, notifications, electronic mail market, collect taxes from customers, etc.

Step 12: That’s It – Choose a Squarespace plan

The shop ’ s ready ! now, choose a Squarespace plan to keep it live after the 14-day spare test. Squarespace has three plans that support department of commerce :

  • Business: $18/month
  • Commerce Basic: $26/month
  • Commerce Advanced: $40/month

Bonus for SBR readers: We have single Squarespace promo codes !

2. Using an Ecommerce Website Builder

Ecommerce web site builders ( aka on-line memory builders ) are easy-to-use builders designed to build on-line stores of all sizes. Because they are not the jack of all trades ( like the general-purpose builders ) and master of one ( merely for ecommerce ), everything is designed keeping ecommerce in mind, making them ideal for building on-line stores. however, they are a bit more complicate than the web site builders meant for the general populace.

What’s the best ecommerce builder?

For distinctive stores, these two come to mind :

  • Shopify : It’s arguably the best ecommerce builder for beginners. It has 80+ templates to play with. Moreover, the Shopify app store, with 6300+ apps across categories like dropshipping, design, fulfillment, shipping, merchandising, marketing, etc., is the best among all ecommerce builders.
  • BigCommerce : BigCommerce is another big name in the ecommerce industry. However, it’s difficult to use and has an inferior app store compared to Shopify, and hence is not ideal for novice store creators.

A Step-by-Step Guide To Building Your First Online Store With Shopify

Building a memory with Shopify is pretty much the same as with Squarespace, barring the different interface, of course. So I ’ ll skip over the non-essential parts I already discussed in the previous section for this scout.

Step 1: Choose a Theme

angstrom soon as you sign up with Shopify, the frame-up assistant will show the Customize Theme option. Click on that or choose Themes from Online Store on the left bar of the interface. The “ Visit Theme Store ” will take you to the Shopify root shop, wherein you can choose from 82 responsive themes across categories like free, paid, individual product, small catalogue, bombastic catalog, across-the-board layout, grid layout, etc. I chose the first becoming one I saw ⁠— a theme named Dawn.

Step 2: Add Product

The future natural step ⁠— and the one setup assistant hint ⁠— is to add a intersection. Click All products” src=”/assets/images/lqip.png” data-blink-src=”” alt=’Click “Add product” under Products > All products’> All products ” src= ” /assets/images/lqip.png ” data-blink-src= ” hypertext transfer protocol : // ” alt=’Click “ Add intersection ” under Products > All products ‘ > Adding Product Details The interface to add product details is pretty similar to Squarespace. You can enter :

  • Product title & description
  • Product images
  • Product categories/collections & tags
  • Product variants
  • Page SEO title, description, and URL

And the product is live :

Step 3: Set Up Payment Methods

To accept payment, set up the shop ’ sulfur payment supplier ( randomness ). From there, you can add Shopify ’ s own payment processor, Shop Pay, or choose from local, national, and international third-party requital gateways like Stripe, RazorPay, Paypal, and many more. Your customers can besides express checkout with Shop Pay, Apple Pay, Google Pay, Facebook Pay, and Amazon Pay.

Step 4: Customize Checkout

You can besides customize Checkout options. You can enable guest checkouts and checkouts with minimal information by setting up what details are required from Settings > Checkout.

Step 5: Shipping & Delivery

fair like in Squarespace, you can select your transport service and plant charges for shipping ( fixed price or dynamic based on package size, weight unit, and customer ’ second placement ) with Shopify.

Step 6: Add Features With Shopify App Store (Optional)

Shopify covers all fundamental features, so you can create a standard store without looking for any external apps. however, if needed, you can choose from 6300+ apps on the Shopify app shop.

Final Step: Pick Your Shopify Plan

Shopify offers a 14-day free trial. Past that, select one of these three plans depending on the count of staff accounts and sum stock locations you want, and transaction fees you ’ five hundred be less sad to pay :

  • Basic Shopify: $29/month
  • Shopify: $79/month
  • Advanced Shopify: $299/month

3. WooCommerce – The WordPress Ecommerce Plugin

Though not highly beginner-friendly, WooCommerce is right up there alongside Shopify & Squarespace in terms of popularity. It ’ s the de facto WordPress ecommerce chopine, and people use it for two reasons :

  1. It’s free: You don’t have to pay to use WooCommerce. However, you’ll have to pay for hosting, domain name, premium themes, add-ons, security, SSL certificate, etc.
  2. It’s open-source: You have access to the whole code, and you can tweak it as you like, which simply isn’t an option with something like a Shopify or Squarespace. However, because it’s open-source, Woocommerce is a barebone platform ⁠— most things will be up to you, and you might need to code.

For exercise, there ’ s no dredge and drop builder or pre-made contented blocks out of the box, so you ’ ll have to add code or use a third-party plugin to make design changes. similarly, you ’ ll motivation to add a plugin like Yoast for SEO. And therefore on.

A Step-by-Step Guide To Building Your First Online Store With WooCommerce

To build a WooCommerce memory, you ’ ll beginning need to install & set up WordPress. We discussed the bit-by-bit process to build a WordPress site in our “ web site for dummies ” article ⁠— refer to it if you don ’ triiodothyronine know how to. ( That in itself is quite complicated, and consequently we suggest starting with a web site builder if you aren ’ t familiar with WordPress. )

Step 1: Install WooCommerce Plugin

Like most WordPress functionalities, you ’ ll have to take the hassle of installing a plugin ( WooCommerce ) to enable ecommerce. search for “ WooCommerce ” in the WordPress plugin memory, and install it.

Step 2: Setting Up The Store (Optional)

once you install WooCommerce, the apparatus adjunct will take you through the bit-by-bit setup process.

Step 3: Add Product

On the left-hand side of the WordPress dashboard, you ’ ll see WooCommerce. And under it, Products. Click on “ Add new ” from under Products. then, add :

  • Product title and description,
  • Product images,
  • Pricing,
  • Inventory,
  • Related products,
  • Shipping options, etc.

Last Step: Add Payments

ultimately, let ’ s add a payment central processing unit to enable the store to accept on-line payments. WooCommerce ⁠recommends WooCommerce payments. It ’ s a commodity choice to process payments coming from credit cards, debit cards, Apple Pay, and more. But besides that, you can besides add one of the 70+ payments extensions for requital serve.

Tips & Tricks: The Secrets To Great Online Stores

Hopefully, now you know How To Build an Online Store. But “ building an on-line store ” and “ building a successful on-line store ” are two unlike things. here are a few elements of bang-up on-line stores you should copy while building your storehouse :

Tip #1: Design your website properly

This one ’ sulfur obvious, but many beginners miss it in the rush of going live with their shop. Your web site design immediately impacts the attend and feel of the memory ⁠— it impacts conversion rate, bounce rate, trustworthiness, and consequently the bottomland channel of your on-line business. so consider these design elements of successful ecommerce websites while creating your memory :

  • Fast loading speed
  • Mobile responsive theme ⁠— to give a great experience to 50%+ of potential customers who buy from a mobile device.
  • Convenient navigation ⁠— with brand logo leading to the homepage, breadcrumbs to navigate throughout categories, categories & tags to filter effectively, and a search box to look for specific products.
  • Clear visual hierarchy ⁠— with about page, contact page, FAQs section, navigation menu, hero image, featured product, etc., accessible from header, footer, or homepage.

even after your store is be, you must keep improving the design for public toilet and conversion. For exercise, Smartwool A/B tested a new invention and increased the conversion rate by 17 %.

Tip #2: Accept popular payment options

People prefer to checkout with Paypal, Apple Pay, Google Pay, credit cards, e-wallets, etc. therefore, most top ecommerce stores accept all those types of payments. And your payment gateway must besides.

Tip #3: Well-written product descriptions

merchandise descriptions serve two purposes :

  1. It adds to the SEO value of the page.
  2. It gives customers all the necessary details about the product.

consequently, compose clear, in-depth, and keyword-rich descriptions while keeping them scannable and visually appealing.

Tip #4: Use high-quality photos

75 % of on-line shoppers rely on product photos when deciding on a potential buy. therefore having high-resolution, fine-looking, and details-showing photos of the intersection is necessity.

Tip #5: Show Product Reviews For Social Proof

Over 74 % of customers believe news of mouth is a key influence in their buy decision. And intersection review from unknown people is the nearest to a recommendation from friends or family in the on-line global. consequently, collect as many product reviews as possible ( even incentivize customers to leave an honest inspection ) and display it under each product.

Last Tip: Do Effective Marketing

Goes without saying, successful ecommerce businesses are successful because of effective selling strategies. even the biggest of all ⁠— eBay, Amazon, etc. ⁠— run Facebook ads & Google shop ads, do SEO, enforce influencer marketing campaigns, maintain social media presence, build e-mail lists, track Google Analytics, incentivize customers to share products with friends & family ( aka affiliate selling ), and do a distribute more to spread awareness, gain visitors, and convert them into customers. here ’ s a television that ’ ll aid you understand the basics of it.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to make an online store for free?

There are exempt web site builders that include ecommerce features, but there ’ randomness constantly ⁠— and obviously ⁠— a give and take. For example, Square ’ s $ 0 plan lets you sell on-line, BUT you ’ ll have to pay 2.9 % + 30¢ per transaction + you can ’ triiodothyronine use a custom-made sphere + Square ads will be shown throughout the memory.

How to create a free ecommerce website with WordPress?

The WooCommerce plugin ⁠— the de facto ecommerce platform for WordPress ⁠— is free. however, you ’ ll need to pay for host, sphere name, premium themes, add-ons, security system, SSL certificate, etc.

Which is the best overall store builder?

If you are looking to set up a memory quickly without any hassle, Squarespace is the best. For big stores that ’ ll motivation more functionalities than the all-important ones, Shopify is the best overall shop builder.

How long does it take to create an online store?

honestly, it depends on your requirements. If you have barely a few products, you can go bouncy with your memory in under 30 minutes of signing up with Squarespace or Shopify.

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