How Can I Start an Online Store in Minutes?
Have you got a fantastic business idea? It’s never been easier to get an online store up and running, so you can start connecting with customers immediately. The rise of eCommerce platforms has made it possible for businesses to incorporate and start sales immediately — sometimes even the same day!
Starting a business can be nerve-wracking, which is why we’ve compiled some of our best tips to help you get your online store open and running in just minutes.
Don’t skimp on web design
The aesthetic of your store is the first thing that people see when they navigate your page. The design should be pleasant to look at and should complement the look of your products.
Lots of eCommerce platforms make design easy. But if you’re unsure of your skills, this is one area where it may be worth paying a professional to assist you.
Make it personal
If you’re a sole proprietor or small business owner, making your business personal will only help you.
People want to hear stories about the products they’re buying. Plus, everyone loves supporting small businesses. Even if you’re shy, it’s worth it to get your face out there. It helps personalize your products and makes you look more trustworthy.
Don’t make the mistake of getting too personal online — no one wants to scroll through your entire life story — but a well-written bio or About Me page can do a lot to make you more trustworthy and relatable.
Make your support easy to find
Even if you don’t have the support of an entire IT department, make sure that your online support is easy to find. It can be as simple as displaying an email address at the footer of every page of your site or having a chatbot that pops up and greets customers as they hit your homepage.
Chatbots, in particular, are great tools. If you can install a chatbot plugin on your site, it’s definitely worth it.
Ensure your website takes advantage of SEO
If you’ve ever seen a website that looks like a string of nonsense words, you may have seen a poor attempt at SEO.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It’s a set of writing and coding principles that you can use to make sure that your page can easily be found on search engines like Google and Bing.
The easiest way that you can do it yourself is by checking out what keywords are used in your industry and making sure to include those in your written text. Don’t focus on it too much though. Ultimately, search engines want text that’s written for humans.
Use Google Analytics to track your customer’s online behavior
Google Analytics is a service run by Google that gives you behind-the-scenes information to your own website. You can see how many people are browsing, which of your products they’re clicking on, and how they found your site.
If you get an indication that people are navigating to your site from social media, you’ll know your marketing efforts there are working. That’s really useful information to have.
Choose the Right eCommerce Platform
There are tons of different eCommerce platforms that you can choose for your online store. Each has their own pros and cons, but ultimately you want to be able to understand the one you’re using and be able to get support when you need it.
To help, here are our quick reviews of the most popular eCommerce platforms available to small business owners today.
People gravitate towards Shopify because it offers a ton of features and the ability to customize almost any aspect of your site. You can do everything from selling physical products to drop shipping on their platform.
If you need a good storefront, Shopify starts at $29 per month, but they also offer a much cheaper option for payment processing if you only want to sell via social media. That’s $9 per month.
- It’s super customizable; you can add tons of extensions and completely personalize your design.
- Loads quickly, which is key for retaining customers.
- Doesn’t offer great plugins to help with SEO.
- Adding different apps will cost you money every time, which can add up.
If you don’t need as much customizability and are feeling overwhelmed by the setup process, BigCommerce may be the option for you. Their dashboard is so useful that you can build an entire store of products online with minimal effort. They also have a full suite of security measures, so you can rest assured that you and your customers will both be protected.
- 24/7 live chat support.
- Great SEO features on the dashboard.
- It will cost you more money to list more products than their maximum.
- They don’t offer 1-Click selling, which is a feature many convenience-oriented people love.
If you want a simple set up — just the basics and that’s it — Big Cartel is a great choice. Their dashboard is so pared down that anyone can figure it out. Despite the basic dashboard, it still offers plenty of features.
Plus, they have a free plan, which is great if you’re just starting out and aren’t sure if having an online store will work for you. After that, prices range from $9.99/month to $29.99/month depending on the number products listed on your store.
- One of the only major eCommerce platforms to offer a free plan.
- Unlimited bandwidth for orders.
- You can only list up to 300 products at a time, so it may not be scalable if you’re planning on growing your business.
- Their apps are more basic than some of their competitors.
It’s surprising, but many people don’t realize that they can start an online store in less than an hour. You don’t need to sign up for a huge yearly plan, plus there are some platforms where you can even start for free.
You just need to put yourself out there and start hustling to get some sales!