Owning an online business is tempting in today’s socio-economic context, but the vast market and the fact that you are not in touch directly with your audience can intimidate you. It’s absolutely normal to be reluctant about putting your savings in an online business, especially if you’re new to the digital business environment.
One of the concerning things for those who are considering starting an eCommerce business is how much time it takes to set it all up and to start making a profit.
Let’s go through every step of the conception of an online store and estimate a timeline for building a website.
Finding a Domain for Your Website
This will not be time-consuming, as there are plenty of domain providers that can cover any of your needs, but some research will be required. What is more time-consuming, in most cases, is choosing the right name for your business.
Take your time until you find a name that actually resonates with your audience, portrays your brand’s personality, and is easy to remember. Making it SEO friendly is also important, as eCommerce sites get their customers mostly from search engines.
Once you have a name, selecting a domain is your next task. We do recommend going for a specialised eCommerce platform like Shopify, especially if you are not going to collaborate with web designers. Signing up on an eCommerce platform or store builder is going to take a few minutes and it covers most eCommerce solutions.
Creating Your Inventory
It’s hard to say how long it will take you exactly to get your online store on its feet because there are so many variables that impact it. Inventory is one of those things.
If you are only selling a handful of products, this step is going to take a few hours maximum. But if you have a store with thousands of products, prepare for at least a couple of weeks of inputting your products in the store database.
Why so long? Because you will need to have proper product descriptions if you want to build a successful business. Online shopping takes away the possibility to experience the product hands-on before buying it. This is why you need high-quality pictures and SEO-friendly, creative and accurate descriptions of each one of your products.
If you don’t have experience with ad copy, SEO, or photography, it’s best to let a professional do these things, as it will save you a lot of time.
Customising Your Website
Another time-consuming variable can be the website development, but this can also vary a lot, depending on how far you are willing to go with it.
Shopify and other eCommerce platforms make it easy for you by providing themes (free and paid). The quickest way to have your store up and running is to use a theme that goes well with your brand and settle for that, at least in the beginning.
For business owners who need a more personalised approach, it takes some web designing skills, and sometimes more technical expertise to get the website from draft to live. Maintaining your eCommerce website and making sure it won’t crash is also very important, especially if you’re going to have a custom theme.
Setting up Payment Gateways
Choosing the right payment gateways for your customer base is very important. Check your local laws and other administrative things to take into consideration, as bureaucracy could slow you down.
Negotiating Courier Contracts
Assign carriers that can handle the volume of your orders, the type of products you are selling, and your wishes and needs. Negotiate your contracts and manage all the shipping rates, depending on your vending points, the distance, the carrier, etc. It’s also a good idea to set up pick-up points if your business allows it.
Building a Customer Base and Promoting Your Store
While the previous tasks would take from a couple of weeks to a few months, combined, building your customer base and promotion are processes that never end.
What you do have to set in the beginning is to make sure you can handle customer service, that you have the right promotion channels in place, and a good marketing specialist or team who can launch your store properly.
Once your store is set and ready to ship orders, it’s time to focus on keeping the good quality of your services and expanding your vision when it comes to digital marketing and promotion. Sky’s the limit!
If you feel like a more experienced view is needed in any step of the way, don’t hesitate to contact a shopify website development expert. We at Australian Internet Advertising are not strangers to fresh, small, and medium businesses. It gives us immense satisfaction to be part of the conception and growth of a successful business, so give us a sign.