Imagine having the leverage of an online e-commerce store to generate a new income stream for you and your family. During the day your phone sounds a ‘cha-ching’ to notify you of a new online purchase.
Some days you make no sales and other days register on or near your best sales ever.
Without an online e-commerce store, your ability to generate income will be zero. With an e-commerce store, you will be surprised at what is possible.
Let’s look at my 7 Tips to Building an eCommerce Store in a Weekend
Map out the plan of your website
Ideally, you have already tested the demand for your products on sites like Etsy, Gumtree or eBay. This will give you the confidence to map out a structure for your new website.
You should also have:
- Registered your domain
- Organised hosting (some shopping cart platforms have this included)
Spending time on planning your new site will serve you very well in being able to complete your new website build in a weekend. Do not underestimate the power of a well-defined plan.
You want to note things like:
- What drop down menu’s will you have?
- How will you capture email addresses
- Will you have a blog on your site
- What social media (mentioned below) channels will you feature
In addition to those key questions, note down the types of images you will need of your products and how you want to feature them on your new site.
Choose your online shopping cart platform
Online shopping carts have come a long way in the last few years.
The main ones to consider are:
- WordPress with Woocommerce
The above list isn’t exhaustive but will push you in the right direction. I’ve personally built eCommerce stores with Shopify, WooCommerce, OpenCart & VirtualMart.
I find Shopify to be the most feature rich and easiest to get started with. Having said that, you must be ok with paying a monthly fee to access the Shopify features.
Given the focus of this article is to build your site in a weekend, my firm suggestion is Shopify.
Setup your core pages
Every website will have a set of core pages that are mandatory. Your number 1 goal with your new e-commerce site is to build your credibility and earn the trust of all potential customers.
To earn their trust, you will need the following pages as a bare minimum:
- About Us
- Your shipping details
- Contact Us
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- Refund policy
Many people get caught up in getting everything ‘perfect’ before going live. Don’t fall into this trap.
In my experience, a website is never ‘done’. Instead, it is a constant work in progress.
Get each of the pages to 80% and then come back based on the feedback you receive from friends, family and your initial clients.
Establish your social media accounts
Social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google+, YouTube and Pinterest should be your initial focus.
If you have a visual product, then go to the channels that allow you to post your stunning imagery.
If video is more your thing, then focus on YouTube and Facebook. Facebook is one of the best channels for promoting your products via video.
Upload your products
Setting up your products will likely take the most amount of time. One of the shortcuts I used was to download the excel sheet from Shopify and enter all the details in there.
Once you have done the heavy lifting of entering all your products, titles, descriptions, prices, stock levels and SKU codes, you press upload, and all the products get added to your site.
The spreadsheet allows you to see everything clearly and copy and paste on products where that is necessary.
Run a test
Once you have all your products uploaded and your shipping prices set, run a test by buying one of your products.
Take note of the customer journey. The words used to prompt them to complete the checkout.
You want to make sure the process is as smooth as possible. Your main goal is to make sure the payment facility is working with your site, and stock levels are being updated accordingly.
Tell the world about your new site
Congratulations. Your site is now live, you have run a test, and everything is in working order.
Now for the exciting part. You need to tell the world. Well at least initially, tell all your friends and family.
You’ll need all the support you can get initially.
I highly recommend telling a few of your key friends about the site and ask them for honest feedback.
- Is the focus of the site clear to them?
- Can they navigate around the site with ease?
- What were the challenges they had with navigation?
- Is the colour scheme congruent and visually appealing?
- Would they feel confident is purchasing from the site?
- Have you done enough to build credibility and trust?
- What could be improved?
Your friends and family will be the perfect sounding board for constructive feedback. Tell them you need them to be 100% honest and the more direct the advice, the better.
Can you truly build a site in a weekend? Well, I procrastinated for nearly a year in building my website as I was too busy working on client websites.
But I can tell you, it was built and live in a weekend. It is 100% possible and well within your reach.
Now it is your turn. Get inspired, turn off distractions and just get it done. It may mean the difference between earning a full-time income or having to go back to the 9-5 grind.
About your Guest Blogger: Nicky is the proud mum of 3 beautiful girls and Owner of Earth Inspired Gifts. Earth Inspired Gifts is an online retail store specialising in gifts inspired by Nature, such as Himalayan Salt Lamps, Geodes, Crystals, Jewellery and other beautiful items. In addition to running Earth Inspired Gifts, Nicky has been building and managing many websites, including some of the largest online stores in Australia.