How long do you think it takes to get your online store up and running? Few weeks? A month? No! If you do it right, it takes only a few hours, maybe a day or two. Well, if your question is “How do I get it right, then?”, we’ve got your back. Take your first step by reading this article.
Before Going Online
It is important to think logically as well as chronologically. That is first things first. Before even thinking about building the web store, you need to give a thought to a few other kinds of stuff.
- Quite obvious but what idea exactly?
- The idea of what you want to sell.
- The idea of selling them online.
- The idea of making an online presence and being there.
- The idea of reaching a wider audience.
Market Value and Trend
- Once you have the idea, evaluate it. You know what you are going to sell, but you also need to know if there are people to buy it. Some aspects you could evaluate are:
- Market trend and demand for the product type.
- If your product is the first of its kind, then evaluate how the market will react to the launch.
- Think if selling it online is the best idea.
- Also, think if the product is good enough to sell online. If it is, then go for it.
- Well you can’t sell something that does not exist, can you?
- Have your products lined up before you set out to sell them - either physical or digital product.
- Have them listed in the inventory - a simple one for now. If it’s digital, much better, it would be.
- Your brand name, logo and domain. These are important but don’t get too preoccupied with the name. It will eventually become a brand when your work speaks loud. However, prioritise the domain because it is the path to your online store. Buy the domain from a reliable host and you will be good to go in a few minutes.
Build Your Website
Your website finally comes into play. The fastest way to get your website up and running is to choose a Content Management System (CMS) and go with its flow. The steps go like this:
- Install your CMS - Joomla and WordPress are the most famous.
- Get a beautiful theme that suits your business, either free or premium. Try ThemeParrot for free and premium WordPress and Joomla themes.
- Get your e-Commerce extension. The extension does all the eCommerce works for your site. For example, installing J2Store in your Joomla website makes every e-Commerce action easier.
- Put up some nice content (your vision and values are usually the charms). Simple images do wonders.
- Upload the products - either manually or import from inventory depending on the number of products you want to sell.
- Set the payment gateway up to receive payments. Choose one based on your location and requirements. It is just a few clicks away.
Your functional online store is now ready and very much open for sales. All these steps may take just a few hours if you’ve got good internet connection.
Create Your Catalog
In the above steps, uploading your products to your site is the only thing that may take time, again depending on how you do it. If you are a small size business, say you’ve got 20 products for the first sale, you can upload them manually. It may approximately take around 2-3 minutes and a few clicks to upload a single product to the site. If you have a lot of products in your inventory, to upload them manually shall take forever. But fret not, CSV to the rescue. CSV (Comma-Separated Values) files can make your life easier in such a case. All you need to do is:
- Save your inventory as a CSV file.
- Import them into your e-Commerce site with a plugin. And done.
For instance, J2Store has its extensions to support CSV import and export.
While the simple version does the job of importing and exporting basic product data, the advanced version can be used to import/export complete product data including images and also to take a full backup of the site. You choose based on what the business needs. Take advantage of these simple tools and have your catalogue created in no time.
Why Should You Go Live Immediately?
The market is not waiting for you, dear folk. Nor is time. Trust me on this. We live in a world driven by immediacy. This reason is exactly why you should publish your online store to the world as and when you have your products all set to sell. Let’s create a scenario. Say you are setting up a brick-and-mortar store of yours. Would you construct the building first or would you rather waste time deciding the interior decoration specifications? The priority would be the location of the building, quality of bricks and cement, starting the basement work and making your building ready to store and sell stuff. The carpets, curtains and painting can be worked upon later. You get where I’m going with this, right? Similarly, you do not have to waste time pondering over the shiny finish of your site. The more productive way of doing it is simpler than you think:
- Set up your store first.
- Get customers to visit your site.
- Start selling.
- Receive feedback and improve.
- Now become shiny.
When you go the other way around, by the time you figure out how to store a million records on your database, you might lose out on your very first client. Worse, your product could have lost its position in the market, or someone else could have already launched it. It does not mean that your website must have a shortcoming while going live. It just means that you should work on the necessities and go live so that you have all the time in the world to improve further. The risk of not even being in the market is eliminated this way.
Getting a functional online store up and running is as simple as any technology can get. The key to get into the online business game is very simple. It is the very step of getting in the game first. Only then you can revamp your performance based on customer feedback. The customer is the best reviewer. Regardless of the field of business, feedback from the customer is real and can never go wrong. So launch today, get feedback, work on them and improve. Watch as your site grows gradually flawless.