Guest post by Oscar Waterworth, Bizzmarkblog
eCommerce is a booming industry. Online retail has seen significant growth in the last couple of years, even in the developing countries. In the United States, the National Retail Organization has estimated that the total online sales will grow from 8 to 12% in 2017 alone. So, there are plenty of reasons to jump on this train and open your online store.
There are two most basic ways to build an eCommerce website. You can do it with regular CMS or with a specialized online platform. Shopify is one of the best platforms you can use for building a flexible online store. You can do the most basic tasks in less than 10 minutes, and there are also many customization options and a wide selection of specialized themes. In this article, we are going to share the tips that will help you to set the basic online store and personalize it for your targeted audience.
In order to create a store, you will need to complete the signup process. With Shopify, this step is easy and transparent. Apart from personal information, you will also need to assign your store with a unique name. When choosing a name for your store, keep it short and catchy. It also needs to be recognizable to your audience and easy to promote.
Choosing a Theme
After you have signed in, the platform will direct you to your store’s dashboard. The dashboard comes with plenty of different functionalities and options. It allows you to add products, customize the store’s look, add payment options, and read the analytics insights.
Before adding products, you will need to set up the store’s look. You can do it by choosing a specialized theme from the official theme store. The Shopify store has both paid and free themes and there are more than 180 options all together. Since Shopify has its official theme store, all of the themes come with designer support. Same as with WordPress themes, before choosing the desired layout, you should check its functionality and reviews. There is also a View Demo option, where you can review the chosen theme in action.
These theme layouts also allow you to change your store’s look and layout without messing with the code and they come with the list of modifications you can apply. For bigger changes, you will need to access the themes’ HTML and CSS, which you should not do if you do not have the adequate knowledge and experience. If you want a more customized look, check out the Shopify Experts Directory. There you can build your store with expert assistance.
Customize your Store’s Appearance
One of the best things about Shopify themes is that they are highly customizable. Whatever theme you choose, you definitely will not end up with a cloned website. Most themes allow you to:
- Add company logos;
- Upload photos for the homepage carousel;
- Add Item functionality on product pages;
- Change color schemes;
- Change fonts;
- Choose the number of items for each bar on the collection page, etc.;
Adding new products on Shopify is very easy. You can do it by clicking only one button and adding the product description and all other necessary information. When describing your products, be as thorough as possible. Also do not forget to add detailed, high-resolution imagery. Videos and 360 degree photos can also be very helpful. Adding a link to product manufacturer’s website will help your shoppers to learn a thing or two about the production process and raw materials. Remember that online shoppers are a very nosy bunch and they want to have all the information on the plate before choosing the product they want to buy. That is why adding more information and multimedia will make your store more competitive.
Grouping feature is very useful for big stores. It allows you to categorize and group products that have something in common. For example, clothing shops may categorize their products by their types, sex, size or colors. By categorizing products, you are helping your customers to find what they want much faster and easier. In addition to this, the categorization enables product recommendations and drastically improves your store’s conversion.
If you have already assigned various attributes to your products and you do not want to categorize them manually, the platform can do it for you. After you set up the conditions, the platform will automatically group products that meet your criteria.
Setting Payment Gateways
When it comes to payment options in eCommerce, there are never too many. Shoppers often leave the checkout page because it does not allow them to pay the product in the most convenient way. That is why you need to choose the payment gateway that has options that suit the needs of your target audience. Before making the selection, you need to check their characteristics and conditions. These usually include:
- Transaction fees – some online payment services ask for a flat fee or a percentage of every payment;
- Card types – Check out which cards are the most prominent among your targeted audience and choose a payment gateway that accepts them;
- Offsite checkout – some getaways run payments on their own servers, which allows you to have more control over the shoppers’ flow and your store’s sales funnel.
On top of the rates that are charged by the payment gateway, Shopify charges its transaction fees for every purchase. In order to avoid some of these fees, store owners from the United Kingdom and the United States can use Shopify Payments as their payment gateway.
Some Other Considerations Before Creating Your Online Store
By following the previous six steps, you have given a basic functionality to your new store. Still, there are several other tasks you need to do to make your online retail operation run smooth. These include:
- Adding general information – This would be the equivalent of the ‘About’ page. Shopify offers you a special form for this, so make sure that you’ve entered all the important information about your business.
- Charging taxes – You can add taxes to the price, by checking “Charge taxes” and “Required shipping” boxes on the “Inventory & Variants” page.
- Shipping rates – Shopify automatically calculates the shipping rate, from the rules you’ve defined on the Shipping page.
- Test the ordering process – before you open your store to shoppers, do an experimental order and payment yourself.
In addition to everything we have mentioned, Shopify also offers many other customization options. For example, if you want to make your store’s name more memorable, you can buy a new domain and add it to the Shopify registry. This platform allows you to make a flexible online store, easier than ever. You should use this opportunity and start capitalizing on the staggering eCommerce growth right away.
Oscar is a writer and one of the editors at Bizzmarkblog. He explores the worlds of business, marketing, and technology, and writes about it on a daily basis. To stay updated with Oscar's latest posts, you can follow him on Twitter.