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How to Open an Online Store: 5 Steps to Choosing the Right Ecommerce Platform

When you’re just getting started selling online, it can seem very tempting to choose to use an existing marketplace such as eBay, Amazon or Etsy. And while there are many people who have created full-fledged businesses on those kinds of platforms, the market for online sales has moved forward. There is more competition than ever before and you want to find true success as a business owner.  As you learn how to open an online store it’s vital to stand out from the crowd with a strong Ecommerce platform.

Read: Building a Professional Website in 6 Steps

There is no better way to do that than to choose an ecommerce platform that will allow you to customize your online store to create the ideal to both represent your business and serve your needs as an entrepreneur. And while it can seem daunting to get started on your own site, by keeping in mind a few guiding principles, investing in the work from the start will both help you create a flourishing business, and make everything about running it go more smoothly down the road.

1. How to Open an Online Store with the Best Ecommerce Platform

When shopping online, people will always judge a book by the cover, so when you’re selling, how things look is key. That means that no matter what you’re selling, choosing the right design is going to be crucial. Here are a few tricks to design as you learn how to open an online store that is universal.

Read: Find the Pages Theme that Makes Your Store Look Like a Million Bucks

An ecommerce website home page example illustrates the article How to Open an Online Store: Choosing the Right Ecommerce Platform for Selz, the ecommerce platform for growing businesses

Keep it Clean

This doesn’t mean all online stores should be minimalist, but it does mean that the website should not look cluttered, and all text is very easy to read. Make sure that the font you use is large enough and contrasts from the background. Brightly colored fonts against a black background can cause eye fatigue, which is the last thing you want visitors to your store feeling.

Reflect Your Brand

Are you selling the newest tech gear on the market? Or do you make jewelry that while new, creates a nostalgic feeling for a romanticized past? Let these qualities guide you in choosing just the right design for your website. Choose an aesthetic that you want to represent the feelings you want your brand to evoke.

Choose Appealing Colors

There’s an entire science devoted to how colors can affect both emotions and sales. Use it to your advantage. Check out this article about marketing and colors to learn more.

While the design is central to an Ecommerce website and being able to customize it is important, there’s actually a lot more of customization that will determine the best Ecommerce platform for your online business.

Read: The Essential Brand Voice Template for Your Microbusiness

2. A Brand is More than What You Sell, and it’s the Best Way to Grow an Ecommerce Business

I mentioned the importance of branding in determining how to design your online store. But how well do you know the understand the brand of your business, and what are you doing to make your brand grow? Perhaps you think that your inventory constitutes your brand. That would make sense, what you sell is your brand, but while having a quality product that fills a need is important, having a strong and growing brand will be the best way to ensure your online store stands out.

And creating a brand name goes well beyond designing a logo and writing a killer ‘about page’ (which you do need to have). To have a thriving brand means relating to your customers through awesome social media. It means running a blog that isn’t just for selling, but for presenting content that will be useful or enjoyable for your client base. It extends to choosing a domain name that is appealing and inspires confidence.

Perhaps the best way to reach your customer base is through an email letter. The best Ecommerce platform will support all the ways that you’re building your brand, for example allowing customers to transfer seamlessly between social media and sales, and allowing any data collected from sources outside of your online store to be easily integrated into increasing sales. Here’s a great resource to help you with branding.

3. The Secret to Successful SEO

One of the advantages of hosting an online store on sites like eBay and Etsy is that those sites already have built-in customer bases. It can seem like with a self-hosted Ecommerce site, in order for a customer to find the great product that you’re selling, they’d have to sort through the entire internet, whereas on established selling sites, customers are already there, looking to buy. The way to avoid being the needle in a haystack is to have excellent SEO.

Which is easier said than done, right? After all, there are entire companies that exist only to consult on improving a corporation’s search engine results. Here’s the secret to how a small online business can use SEO to get noticed: choose an Ecommerce platform that is already SEO friendly by optimizing your store in the search engine by making it easy to use meta tags, titles, and URLs.

Read: Ecommerce SEO to Drive Online Store Traffic

4. How Physical Inventory Complicates Online Sales and Having the Right Ecommerce Platform Can Help

An image of neatly lined up glasses show the importance of organization for the article How to Open an Online Store: Choosing the Right Ecommerce Platform from Selz, the Ecommerce platform for growing businesses
Having an inventory, while it’s at the heart of your business can also feel like just another thing that you have to keep track of. Experts that know how to open an online store believe that the best Ecommerce platform will provide the additional services that help you manage and track your stock.

Pausing sales at the right time is the difference between an angry lost customer and a customer who appreciates the great communication your business offers. Selling physical objects also means your site needs to display the inventory in the way that’s best suited to that particular object. This means that being able to choose how pictures are viewed and products are organized on the page is fundamental.

Read: Building an Ecommerce Website in 7 Effortless Steps

5. How to Open an Online Store? Integrate Everything

A person working at a computer accompanies an article titled How to Open an Online Store: Choosing the Right Ecommerce Platform

Opening an online store is like owning any business, it takes a lot of work. As an entrepreneur, you’re required to wear many hats, and fulfilling all those roles can be exhausting. By choosing the best Ecommerce platform for integration, it will do a lot more than eliminate one thing to worry about, it will feel like you have an assistant keeping track of the details for you. Just to keep track of your customers requires careful attention. You’re looking at email, social media, user reviews, back-end data, and any other ways you have chosen to reach out to your customers, every day.

By choosing the Ecommerce platform, rather than pulling out your hair to keep track of it all, you can count on having a single dashboard that will funnel all of the information to where it needs to go so nothing falls through the cracks. Interested in getting started? Try Selz for a 14-day free trial today.

Not Ready to Open an Online Store Yet?

Now you know how to open an online store. Perhaps you’ve already established a storefront in an online marketplace, or it’s simply too tempting to use an existing marketplace rather than create a site at the same time as you launch your business. That’s ok, but remember, there’s no reason you can’t do both. It’s a great idea to get started building an Ecommerce website that can host your online store, as well as having robust social media branding.

You can even sell directly off your site and through the marketplace, so long as this doesn’t cause you to divert attention from running your business. This way, once your business grows to the point where being solely in an online marketplace is holding you back, you’ll already be off the ground in opening your own Ecommerce store. Just make sure that the ecommerce platform that you choose to build your online store, will be able to offer you all of the things you’ll need to make your business thrive.

About the author

Molly Corless

Molly Corless

Molly has been marketing for small startups for over 5 years. From marketing automation to Facebook ads to copywriting, Molly has figured out the key to growing a business from the ground up. She lives in rainy Portland, Oregon with her dog named Hamms.

4 comments

  1. Rob Johnson

    Wow Selz seems like a really easy platform to use compared to the others I’ve looked at. Do you guys offer different themes?

    1. Hanna Whirty

      Hey Rob – Great question!

      Yes, we offer many modern, simple, and contemporary themes — you can check them out here. We’re constantly working on offering new templates, and it is easy to switch your look around at any time! Try them out yourself with our free 14-day trial and see what you like :)

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