Apr 2020

Going digital with ecommerce

Words by Grant Rattray

Whether you offer products, services, classes or food and drink — now is the time to consider going digital with your commerce. Selling online means your brand and products are visible 24/7, allowing your customers to purchase from the comfort of their own home, which is now more important than ever.

In this article, we will provide advice and steps you can take to get your ecommerce store set-up and your products back in front of your customers.

 

Where to start

The first thing you need to consider is your existing web presence and how your ecommerce store will fit in.

Option #1 – If you have a website that is already built in a Content Management System or a website builder, it should be possible to add a store to your website. You will need to have high-level access to be able to install and configure the necessary plugin/extension required to add ecommerce functionality. This is likely to require some advanced knowledge in the particular CMS your website is in to undertake this task.

Option #2 – The other option is to set-up your store using a dedicated third party service, and simply link to the store from your existing website if you have one.

There is no blanket correct answer as every case is different, but due to the technical knowledge required for option #1, we recommend option #2 as the most efficient way to get your store up and running.

 

Shopify

Our preferred third party solution is Shopify due to it being dedicated to ecommerce as opposed to other systems in which ecommerce is just an add-on feature. You can also take advantage of their free trial (which at the time of writing has been extended to 90 days in light of COVID-19).

You can set up a store through Shopify by following their sign-up process and choosing a pre-made theme that suits your brand the most (we’d recommend a minimal theme to allow your products to be the focus). Once you have done this, Shopify will guide you through creating products, shipping, stock inventory, payment gateways and everything else you need to get started.

Optionally, you can go a step further and use your own domain name for the store rather than the default domain provided. This adds more credibility to your store and makes it feel more part of the rest of your website. This does however require a bit of technical knowledge in setting up a sub-domain and connecting it to your store.

You can then add a link to the store from your website allowing a seamless transition to your products.

 

Test your store

Make sure to test your store before making it available to everyone. There is nothing worse for a user than trying to make an order and running into problems. Test the search function, making an order, email notifications and how the store functions on different devices.

 

Keep your customers informed

Once your store is up and running, you need to get in front of your customers to remind them you are still open for business.

Creating visuals to be used on social media can be a good way to do this, detailing the ordering process, where you deliver to along with anything else your user may need to know when purchasing from you.

It is also important to build awareness and drive traffic to your store. Be creative on social media, consider which products your customers would be interested in at this time and feature them with sponsored posts.

Setting up an ecommerce store and handling payments can be a daunting task, so if you still feel you require some assistance to get your online shop up and running please get in touch, we have some quick and cost-effective options and would be happy to help.