The Ultimate Checklist for Starting an Online Store
In today’s world, a business that isn’t online essentially doesn’t exist. Nowadays, customers assume that all legitimate companies will have an internet presence. A company website and accompanying social media accounts are practical necessity. However, companies that enable direct customer purchases through their websites are the most prosperous.
The global growth of online commerce did not begin with the pandemic. But there’s no denying that it gave individuals greater incentive to become interested in making online purchases. Does your company have a ready-to-use online store? With the beginning of the shopping season, this is the ideal time of year to set one up. Let’s go over the checklist that a retailer would employ before opening an online store.
Choose an eCommerce Platform
Choosing an eCommerce platform that offers ready-made templates to expedite the design process is the simplest way for new online company owners to get started. The option, which necessitates substantial coding and digital design expertise, is to build a website from scratch.
Instead, pick from the list of best eCommerce website builders for small enterprises. For the time being, it’s sufficient to say that learning how to set up a Shopify store, a WooCommerce store, a Wix store, etc., will help you save a ton of time, effort, money, and hassle. The main advantages of selecting an eCommerce platform versus building your website will be briefly discussed later.
Choose a Creative Domain Name
Your domain name is also known as your website address. Through a variety of services, you can look for and select a domain name for your online store. However, let’s say you have a limited budget. In that scenario, it is best to choose a domain from a reputable company that offers some of the most affordable domain rates available so you may avoid going into debt while still getting the domain name you desire. As soon as you register your domain name, you can begin setting up your online store.
Each eCommerce platform has its own advantages and disadvantages. Some plans, like those offered by Shopify, come with website hosting included at no extra cost. Others could impose pricey limitations on what you can do with their hosting services, such as bandwidth restrictions, file storage limits, additional fees if you use a payment processor other than the one they provide, and so on. To elaborate on what was previously discussed, creating your website from scratch could be far more expensive than hosting it on an eCommerce platform.
Organize Your eCommerce Stock
When creating categories for the inventory of your online store, you should be mindful of the basic product category demand. What searches do people make online? Google Trends can be used to find out this. It reveals the evolution of interest and search demand throughout time.
You can forecast future demand for your products with the help of your research, which is based on past searches and sales information. It is advisable to use ERP software to coordinate your supply chain processes and any daily operations on your online business, so you don’t get bogged down in inventory management and other unavoidable responsibilities.
After discovering what online consumers want, create your product categories. Next, figure out how little of each item’s stock you can actually sell. Your overall objective should be to choose the least amount of inventory you can store while still satisfying customer demand and avoiding shipment delays.
Adjust Your Shipping and Tax Settings
Make sure the tax and shipping costs you’re charging are appropriate for the item you’re trying to sell. If you’re paying for order fulfillment out of your own pocket, you can be losing money if your shipping costs aren’t high enough.
Examine whether adding fees for the international delivery is necessary and how much you should charge for quick delivery. Sales tax may also need to be included, depending on where your customers and business are located.
Make Your Return Policies Clear
If you take payments, be ready to get your fair share of return requests. There is surely no shortage of returns in the online retail industry as the value of returned eCommerce items in the United States alone in 2017 exceeded $121 billion.
To manage the apparently never-ending flow of returns and possibly even minimize them, you should have a clear return policy posted on your website. Your home page, the checkout screen, and other crucial points in the consumer experience should all contain links to the return policy. Once more, honest communication with your clientele considerably aids to trust-building.
Numerous other commitments and difficulties will unavoidably arise as you work to establish a great eCommerce firm, so be prepared for both. However, as is frequently the case in life, experience is the best teacher. By following the steps outlined in this eCommerce launch checklist, you may get off to a solid start in the meantime.