You probably spend a lot of your time buying stuff online, whether it’s t-shirts on Amazon or diapers on WalMart.com.
While big companies dominate the e-commerce space, there are lots of small businesses that sell online. Some of these small online sellers have a brick-and-mortar location, while others are entrepreneurs with a virtual shop to promote their product or idea.
Are you one of those small businesses looking to get into e-commerce? Great! Here’s a guide to get started.
Figure Out Your Product(s)
The obvious first step in opening an online store is having something to sell, whether it’s your own new product or a product that already exists.
Let’s say, for example, you’re an avid football fan and you want to open a tailgating supply store. One option is to create your own tailgating products with your brand on them. The other is to buy tailgating items from popular brands (coolers, chairs, etc.) and resell them.
Get a Domain for Your Store
If you have an existing brand that’s related to what you want to sell online, you can use your existing domain name or a subdomain (for example, store.mybusiness.com). Learn how to set up a subdomain for your site.
Otherwise, you’ll need to select a new domain for your store. There are plenty of domains to choose from, whether you’re looking for the popular .com and .net site or a more industry-specific and unique extension.
There are e-commerce-specific domain names available including ones that end in .store and .shop. You can also get a domain name relevant to your store. For the tailgating example, something that ends in .football might make sense.
If you want to search for the perfect domain name, Namecheap’s got you covered.
Choose Your Platform and Create Your Store
Once you have your product and domain, it’s time to start building your online store. There are many platforms available that make it easy to sell online–allowing you to select a design, add products, take payments, and fulfill orders.
Some of these platforms you can host yourself. One of the most popular of these is WooCommerce, a WordPress plugin which is easily added to a site built with Namecheap’s EasyWP Managed WordPress hosting.
While WooCommerce is extremely flexible and customizable, there are several hosted e-commerce platforms that are just as easy to set up and get started. You can connect your Namecheap-registered domain with any of them.
Shopify is probably the best-known e-commerce platform, with over a half million storefronts hosted and plans starting at $29/month. Like all e-commerce platforms, it also charges a per-transaction fee for payments.
Another popular option is BigCommerce, which has pricing similar to that of Shopify.
All of these platforms provide systems to manage inventory, set prices, calculate shipping, and handle taxes and fulfillment (though some features may be offered as add-ons through third parties). Make sure to do your homework ahead of time to make sure your platform can handle any unique circumstances required for your business.
Time to Get Started
Chances are, you probably aren’t aiming to become the next Amazon, but that doesn’t mean you can’t create a successful e-commerce company you run from your own home or office. Whether it’s selling novelties, clothing, or specialized electronics, there are many entrepreneurs that have found a profitable niche with their own e-commerce store. Why not join them?
If you’re looking for top-notch hosting for your next e-commerce site, check out the great options for hosting plans at Namecheap.