How to Set Up a Successful Online Store in 2021
If you have a product to sell in 2021, you need an online store. With pretty much the whole world on digital devices throughout the day, the best way to sell your product or service is online!
Even if you have a successful brick and mortar shopfront, you need to be a part of the digital revolution and get yourself an online store.
Whether you have a speciality food shop or sell auto parts, having an online presence with effective SEO marketing is a great way to increase your customer base and is a necessary backup, if people are forced into isolation again in the future.
Don’t miss the opportunity to generate more revenue for your business – get yourself an online store.
How Do I Set Up an Online Store?
An online store is a website where you can sell your product or service.
To set up an online store, you will need an eCommerce platform. So, what is it?
An eCommerce platform is essentially website building software that allows you to build an online store, with everything you need to sell products online (such as the website customers can visit, with products, sales and payments functions).
If you’re unsure if your current website set up for future growth and the sale of your products or services online, have your local SEO specialist conduct a website health check to assess the current capabilities and potential short-falls.
There are many different options when choosing the right eCommerce platform for your business, so you will need to do your research. We recommend starting by writing down your ‘Wishlist’ for the website. What do you want it to be able to do? Such as:
- Easy to use (no coding required)
- Credit card / PayPal / AfterPay functionality
- Integration with warehouse system (so you can show when your products are ‘in stock’)
- Easy to scale (as your business grows)
- Meets your budget
Once you have your Wishlist, start researching the different eCommerce platforms out there, so you can find one that has the capabilities you require.
Which eCommerce Platform Should You Use?
There are plenty of great eCommerce platforms ideal for building an online store. Armed with your Wishlist, check out some of the below, to find the one that will work for you:
As the name suggests, this is a big platform, with loads of features and customisations. It also comes with a big price tag. This platform is fantastic, but you need the budget and developer skills to make it work.
WCR Says: Big Commerce is great for SEO and user experience customisations, more suited to big retail stores and brands.
WCR Says: Great for SEO – this platform is for a mature online store, you will need to employ a developer to build this for you.
Neto is an Australian eCommerce platform, which can handle small to enterprise sized online stores. Neto is a Saas platform, the same as Shopify, so you don’t own the site, just pay a monthly subscription fee. The worry here, is they can change their prices and you are a bit stuck as you don’t own the site.
WCR Says: fairly user friendly and has adequate SEO capabilities.
Shopify is a good choice for the non-developers amongst us, as no coding is required. This platform is designed specifically for online stores and can be customised and scaled, so a starting choice for an online store.
WCR Says: The product URLs created in Shopify can throw up some strange duplicate and redirect issues, so keep an eye on the URL paths on product pages.
Squarespace is popular as you just choose a template and populate it, hosting and URL all come included. Same as Shopify though, you don’t own the site, just the subscription to Squarespace.
WCR Says: Adequate for small, single store business owners with limited website knowledge.
WIX is super easy to use, however it is more suited to beginners and small online stores, as scalability is limited.
WCR Says: We see a lot of online stores start off with WIX, however will need to change platforms once they grow as there is limited SEO capabilities within the website builder.
WooCommerce is an open source ecommerce platform that’s built for WordPress. It is completely customisable within WordPress so a good choice as you can own the site.
WCR Says: Great for SEO but you will need a developer to help you build and optimise.
There are a range of eCommerce platform options out there, to suit your budget and requirements. Not sure which one is right for you? Contact our friendly team for advice regarding your online store.
Tips for Your Online Store
Once you have chosen your platform, you need to build your store in way that will help you maximise sales. We have put together some tips to help ensure you get the most from your online store.
Mobile Page Speed
Ensure your online store is fast. By this, we mean the overall speed of your website is fast and all pages load quickly on mobile devices. People use their phones and tablets to shop, so your online store needs to be easy and fast to use on mobile.
Google research shows 40% of consumers will leave a page if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load. That’s almost half your potential customers gone, if your site is too slow.
Keep It Simple
As we mention above, consumers are an impatient bunch in 2021, so you want to ensure your website is simple to use. People’s first impressions with your online store can make or break a sale, so ensure you get the basics right, such as:
- Navigation is easy to follow
- All buttons clickable
- Language is Clear
Call to Actions
Your Call to Actions are what you want your site visitors to do. Anything from ‘Call Now’ ‘Buy Now’, ‘Add to Cart’, ‘Shop Now’ etc. Your number one job is to make sure these CTAs are smack bang where your web visitors are looking (and obviously these buttons need to work).
Shipping & Delivery Information, Returns Policy
Most customers will check shipping and delivery information before they make their purchase. So have a page which explains delivery times and methods (Australia Post parcel tracking provided etc). You should also include your refund and returns policy.
Offer a Deal They Can’t Refuse
There are many studies around the psychology of shopping and increasing profits through “sales” and other “discounts”. People like to think they are getting the best deal, so try incorporating something along those lines to help increase conversions, some ideas might be:
- Urgency – it helps to create a sense of urgency to encourage a purchase. For example – sale ends midnight, only two items left in stock, factory clearance etc. something that encourages your customers to buy now.
- Free Delivery – a big bugbear with online shoppers is delivery fees. Reward your shoppers offering free delivery over a certain price point (eg Free Delivery on Orders Over $50). Some online stores build the delivery fee into the retail price, so they can offer free shipping on all orders. Decide on what works for your business and profit margin.
- Subscribe to our Newsletter for 10% Off – Offering a discount will encourage potential customers to convert. Signing them up is also a great way to capture customer details and gives you the chance to remarket to them.
Before people hand out their credit card details, they need to be able to ‘trust’ your website. This makes it incredibly important to provide trust factors on your site, to assure them their goods will be delivered and no credit card details stolen. Trust factors include:
- HTTPs Certificate – this security certificate on your site adds a layer of encryption between the information being passed back and forth between your website and web browsers, adding security. You will see a little padlock next to the URL in your browser, so you know the website is secure.
- Secure Icons – you want to have payment and secure logos on your site, to build the authority in the consumers eyes. Some examples invlude the eway secure payments logo or PayPal online security.
- Contact Details – customers want to know there is a real company behind your online store. So if they need to get in touch about a missing order or other information, there are contact details and an address where the company is based. This build trust and helps present your online store as a real business.
White Chalk Road are experts when it comes to optimising websites, to maximise leads and sales. Check out some of our top tips when building a new website, or give us a call for further information on the best ways to optimise your online store.
How Can Customers Find Your Online Store?
Once you have an online store, you need your customers to find it! There are two main ways to get your online store found online:
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Optimising your online store for search engines (such as Google), is the absolute best way to get it found by your potential customers. Implementing a tailored SEO Strategy for your website will help ensure it turns up in search results, right when your target customers are searching for your product or service.
Find out more about how SEO can help grow your online store here.
Paid Search includes all forms of online advertising, including Google, Facebook and Instagram Ads. If you need quick results or to immediately drive traffic to your online store (while your SEO Strategy is implemented), Google Ads and other paid search options can get quick results for you.
Learn how to use Paid Search to increase your online store traffic and conversions here.
Speak to the Experts
Having an online store is vital in 2021, to ensure you have a successful business. Before you build your website, speak to the experts at White Chalk Road, who will make sure your online store gets built correctly, to maximise your profits.
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Sarah has more than 15 years’ experience in media and marketing, having worked in both Perth and Asia in the search marketing, media intelligence and content marketing industries. She has worked with some of the most well-known brands in WA along with many of the largest state government departments. Sarah has a BA in Mass Communications from Murdoch University, focussed on Marketing & Public Relations. She is also a Google Ads and Google Analytics accredited professional.
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