Setting up an online store involves the following steps.
1. Planning the store
2. Design and development of the website
3. Buying the website host
4. Managing the fund transfer
5. Promoting the shops, etc.
Out of these designing and develop ecommerce website is the most crucial one. A step by step guideline to develop ecommerce website is discussed below.
1. Choose your Domain Name
If you already have an offline store and you are planning to expand your business to the online world, then the domain name of your online store should be same as your offline store. If you are freshly starting an online store, then first select an attractive name for your website and choose the domain name that is similar to the selected one. Buy the domain name for a longer period so that you can save some money. Websites selling domain names are listed below.
2. Choose the right tool
An e-commerce website can be developed using an e-commerce platform like Magento or you can build one from scratch. E-commerce platforms will help you to build an e-commerce website quickly and with less effort. Working with services like these offer some convenience, but if you want additional flexibility and control, your best bet may be to create your site on your own. With a little know-how and some easy-to-use tools, you can develop an e-commerce site that looks and functions exactly the way you want, helping you meet the needs of your customers and your business more effectively. In order to start from scratch requires solid knowledge of HTML, PHP, MySQL, and other programming languages. To shorten the learning curve, you might want to invest in web design software like Adobe Dreamweaver or Microsoft Expression Web.
3. Select Flexible web hosting services
The web hosting service you are going to choose must offer flexibility to scale up and down according to the number of visitors. Using cloud based hosting services offer these kinds of flexibility and you have to pay only for the usage, that is no need to pay any monthly or yearly hosting charge. Above all the hosting service you are going to choose must come under your budget and it should support the platform of your website. Amazon EC2 is one of the best clouds based hosting service.
4. Select convenient Payment method
Payment methods are key in e-commerce website. Most of the customers abandon their shopping cart due to the unavailability of a convenient payment method. There are two kinds of payment methods, one is a payment gateway and the other is the payment processor. Payment processors, like PayPal Website Payments Standard and Google Checkout, will send a customer to a checkout page that is hosted by the processing company and after the payment customer will return back to your website. Payment gateways will help you to keep the customer to your website itself. To set up a payment gateway you need more technical knowledge about the SSL certificate and related things.
5. The shopping cart
When choosing a shopping cart to go with your payment processing solution, make sure it’s supported by your hosting provider and look to see if the cart offers the payment and shipping options you need. There are a number of open source carts with active communities like osCommerce and Zen Cart, as well as GeoTrust Partner solutions like 3dcart.com. You can also create your own shopping cart using web page authoring programs like Dreamweaver or programming it from scratch using PHP, MySQL, and other web programs and languages.
6. Secure the website
Most of the customers avoid online shopping due to his fear of hacking or losing their personal information online. To have a good number of customers your website must be secure. SSL security is critical to your web site. With an SSL certificate, you’ll be able to prevent cybercriminals from intercepting financial data as it’s transmitted over the internet. Not only that, but you’ll also be able to show your customers that your business is legitimate and can be trusted.
7. Promote your website
Existence of your new e-commerce website must reach to public. The best medium to advertise an online store is the online advertising. Give advertisement of your website in social media like Facebook and Google+. Also, do the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) so that your website will pop up top of the search result.