An attractive, well-functioning e-commerce site is critical to the success of any retail business. Indeed, retail e-commerce sales totaled about $5.2 trillion in 2021. Forecasters believe the figure will grow to more than 8.1 trillion by 2026. Here are tips from Rush Mommy and founder Amanda Jaggers on how to start an e-commerce site.
Decide what products or services you’ll sell and research competitors to discover what makes your service or product unique. Develop a business plan. If you still need to, create a logo for your business.
Choose a Content Management System
The Content Management System (CMS) is the foundation of your site. You can choose from several, but WordPress is one of the most popular. Other popular content management systems are branded website builders. Rush Mommy’s brand is Website Builder.
Open an Account or Find Hosting
If you’ve chosen WordPress, your next step will be to find a web hosting service. The best web hosting services provide:
- A domain name relevant to your business.
- An SSL certificate.
- A way to install WordPress with one click.
If you use a website builder, you’ll register for an account on the provider’s website and register your domain name there.
Build Your Site
Select a ready-made template or theme and build your website around it. Then customize your site by adding your heading and footer, configuring the navigation, and building out the pages, such as your home page, products page, and returns page. Organize your product listings so customers can easily find what they want.
Set Up Tools
You’ll need to set up some tools to help the site operate. These include
- A payment gateway. Some of the simplest are Stripe or Paypal.
- A sales tax calculator.
- Shipping integration
Consider additional functionality for the site, such as social media integration, a built-in shopping cart, and search engine optimization.
Test Your Site
Once you’ve built the site, you’ll want to test it thoroughly before launching. Click through the site to ensure every link works. Add products to the shopping cart, then try the payment processing. Most platforms will allow payment processing testing without charging a credit card. Test how your site looks and functions on different browsers and mobile devices. Finally, make sure emails go to the correct inbox.
If everything functions properly, you are ready to launch your site. Be sure to publicize the launch through your social media, by writing guest blogs on relevant websites, and through your email lists. If you have an ad budget, consider Google or Facebook ads.