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eCommerce Checklist: 10 Things Your Online Store Needs

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    With streamlined eCommerce storefronts, online entrepreneurs can launch a fully functional online shop in just a few hours. Most platforms even let shops start accepting orders right away. Unfortunately, this convenience causes first-time shop owners to underestimate the process behind eCommerce. Launching a shop is one thing, but turning a profit is another.

    Several factors affect the success of any eCommerce shop. When launching an eCommerce site, understanding and utilizing these factors would help you get ahead of your competitors. 

    Are you not sure whether your online shop would attract customers? Don’t worry — Bliss Drive can help! Our eCommerce checklist will help you grasp the basics of launching a thriving store that generates profit.

    eCommerce Platform

    Perhaps the first item you would need to cross off your online business checklist is signing up for an eCommerce platform. As we mentioned above, dozens of websites allow websites to sell online. The sheer number of options sometimes even confuses first-timers.

    Choose a platform that best suits your business model. For instance, if you want to build a scalable, customizable website and shop, go with platforms like Wix and Shopify. Meanwhile, those who prioritize simplicity can check out Amazon or Amazon FBA.

    To streamline the selection process, watch a few videos demonstrating how to use the builder. Options like Shopify and Wix offer excellent flexibility and customizability, but utilizing their features requires basic coding skills. Meanwhile, platforms like Amazon have a more straightforward system, although they charge pretty high fees.

    Domain Name

    Your domain serves as the direct equivalent of a storefront address. Shoppers who want to visit your eCommerce shop would need to input your domain name into their browser’s URL bar. You will also use this address in your link-building strategy. The most commonly used domain registrars include HostGator, Domain.com, GoDaddy, Bluehost, and Namecheap.

    Make sure you make a concise, catchy domain name. Customers tend to ignore lengthy, hard-to-read links that take more than a few seconds to memorize. Here are some tips to help you choose an attractive domain name:

    • Avoid unnecessary numbers and punctuation marks
    • Capture brand’s voice and identifying traits
    • Incorporate competitive keywords
    • Make the main domain name eye-catching and memorable
    • See if your service location fits

    Web Host Platform

    Once you have your domain name, you’ll need a web hosting provider to make the link live. Essentially, your provider makes your name accessible on the world wide web. They often charge annual rates, but you can negotiate with your provider if you want custom terms.

    Finding great deals on web hosting services is great, but do not forgo other crucial factors. Keep in mind that several factors contribute to an excellent web hosting provider, such as their:

    • Storage Capacity: Large eCommerce shops with thousands of listings can consider unlimited disk space options.   
    • Site Reliability: Look for web hosting service providers that have proven they can accommodate high-volume traffic spikes at any time of the day.
    • Customer Service: Avoid providers that take several days to return your emails.

    Note: Most companies that sell domain names also provide web hosting services.

    Security Certificates

    eCommerce shop owners should never neglect security. Websites that process card information regularly are prone to cyberattacks, data breaches, and data breaches. Statistics even show that more than 360,000 cases of identity theft involving fraudulent credit card transactions are reported per annum. A quality security system is your first line of defense against these attacks.

    Content Management System

    Developers traditionally had to code text and images manually onto their sites. Fortunately, content management systems (CMS) significantly streamlined the entire process. You can use these platforms to manage every piece of content on your site. Some of the most popular options on the market include WordPress, BigCommerce, and Drupal.

    Consider hiring content specialists if you run a large eCommerce shop with several live blogs. Trust us — their services are worth every penny you pay. A good combination of SEO strategies, eye-catching visuals, and engaging content will reduce your site’s bounce rates, attract more qualified prospects, and ultimately generate more profits.

    Payment Processing Provider

    eCommerce shops accept payments through payment processors. These third-party entities cooperate with acquiring and issuing banks to process various transactions. Many systems now process overseas payments as well. Some of the most common processors on the market include Square, Merchant One, Paypal, and Clover.

    Don’t forget to compare transaction fees. Payment processors charge a minimal fee of around 2% to 3% per transaction. For instance, if you process a $10 order, about $0.20 will go straight to your processor.

    Also, make sure to test your prospective provider’s security systems. They serve as your first line of defense against cyberattacks. Hackers and thieves can easily bypass weak, flimsy systems using activity-monitoring and phishing technology.

    Keep in mind that each compromised data could set your business back by $150 in legal and technical fees during data breaches. If your shop accidentally leaks 1,000 pieces of personal identifiable information (PII), you might have to shell out $150,000 to recover the lost data and settle lawsuits.

    Note: Whether you run an online or brick-and-mortar store, get a payment processor. Around 67% of modern-day consumers prefer to pay with their debit and credit cards. Your business will miss out on a lot of potential profits if you refuse to invest in a quality, reliable POS system.

    Terms of Use and Privacy Policy

    One of the most crucial tasks to cross off your website requirements checklist is creating a comprehensive Terms of Use and Privacy Policy document. These guidelines should explicitly state the extent of your liabilities. You can use these if a customer ever sues your business for issues where you shouldn’t be held legally liable. 

    Place the T&C link in a visible area of your page. Make sure that your customers can easily see and access the link upon arriving at your site. Note that some businesses get in trouble for hiding these policies.

    Pro Tip: Consult a legal specialist if you’re having trouble drafting your website’s privacy policies. Yes, attorneys charge steep fees. However, the level of protection that an extensive, all-encompassing policy could protect you from losing millions in lawsuits if things ever go south.

    PCI Compliance and Business Licenses

    The Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard consists of multiple rules that every business should abide by if they want to process card transactions. These guidelines exist to protect cardholders from thieves and hackers. 

    No establishment is exempt from these. Whether you own a multi-million dollar banking institution or small boutique, you would need to be PCI compliant. 

    eCommerce shops need to adhere to PCI compliance guidelines in order to process payments online. However, many find the process too tricky. Setting meetings and sending approval papers already takes a couple of days.

    Fortunately, you don’t have to undergo the process alone. Payment processors and credit card companies guide clients step by step in creating a PCI-compliant store.

    For a more detailed and accurate guide, consult your prospective processors. If you’re lucky, you might end up with a processor that’s willing to take over the entire registration and qualification process for your business.

    Inventory and Order Management System

    Statistics show that traditional inventory practices are only about 60% accurate. Brick-and-mortar shop owners that manually count their physical stock automatically take into account discrepancies in product availability.

    Fortunately, modern management platforms help streamline the process. An inventory and order management system produces reliable reports quickly and efficiently. Not only do you spend less time taking stock, but you also get more accurate data.

    Stocky is currently the most popular order management system on Shopify. However, you can explore third-party SaaS solutions, such as eComdash, Katana, and Sellercloud. Most of these platforms also accommodate dropshipping inventories.

    Optimized and Dynamic Web Design 

    Your web design directly affects customer activity. Shoppers are more likely to stay and purchase from stores that have a streamlined, navigable site. Block layouts and minimal navigation buttons will only increase bounce rates. Recent surveys even show that 30% of shoppers were likely to abandon shopping carts if the site took too long to respond.

    Did the recent pandemic affect your sales? Bliss Drive can help! Check out our eight simple tips on how SMBs can generate sales and keep their business alive despite the reduced foot traffic.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What are the three types of eCommerce? 

    The three types of eCommerce are business-to-business (B2B), business-to-consumer (B2C), and consumer-to-consumer (C2C).

    Are online boutiques profitable?

    Starting an online boutique is a great business opportunity for entrepreneurs. According to research done by Statistica, there are already about 22 million consumers who buy items for themselves or their loved ones through online stores.

    What do online shoppers look for? 

    It is important to make sure your website provides an easy and seamless experience. You can also include promotions like free shipping or 10% off of the first order for customers, so they know that their needs are being met.  

    How much does it cost to set up an online store? 

    Building an online store can be a costly endeavor, with the range of cost depending on the size and complexity desired. Building your own website is estimated to take at least $1000-$10,000 for small companies, and up to as much as $50,000 to $100,000 for enterprise-level businesses.

    Can you run an online business without a license? 

    A true and legitimate online sale will need to have the appropriate paperwork in place for tax purposes and other legal requirements that come with operating any type of retail establishment.

    Use this website setup checklist as a starting guide to eCommerce. Keep in mind that starting an online store varies from person to person, so we encourage exploring other eCommerce requirements. Overall, strive to provide a convenient, secure shopping experience. Make it as easy as possible to buy from your shop, so you can attract both new and repeat customers.

    If you don’t have the resources to study eCommerce website requirements but want to launch your million-dollar business idea, work with professional marketers. Agencies like Bliss Drive can build a scalable, customized shop. Leave the site development and marketing to the experts so that you can focus on realizing your business idea’s full potential.

    Is your online shop struggling to generate sufficient traffic? Bliss Drive can help. Check out our quick introduction to learn how you can start optimizing your eCommerce site.

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