Selling Online & Building an Ecommerce Store

How to build and sell from your own website

Quick, easy ways to open an online store

Now, more than ever is the perfect time to begin selling online and building your own ecommerce store. Ecommerce sales hit a staggering $791 billion in 2020, up 32.4% from $598 billion in 2019, according to the Commerce Department. Fueled of course by the pandemic and people shopping from home, it’s the largest annual growth since they began tracking the number. And while the sales might not grow as much in 2021 as people start reopening storefronts, the country has gotten even more comfortable shopping from home and online sales will continue to grow for the foreseeable future.

Diversifying your sales efforts now will give you more ways to generate income and reach new customers in the future.  Whether you already sell products in an online marketplace or a storefront location, or you want to launch a new online store as your entry into the market, we’ve put together some easy ways to start selling online and building an ecommerce store in just a few days.

Benefits of selling online

Having your own online store is a great idea for many businesses. When you sell online and have your own ecommerce store, you can also control your brand. Online marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay, and Etsy put their branding front and center, not yours. And while a marketplace like Amazon provides many businesses with the fastest growth opportunity, having your own e-commerce store lets you target your specific customer demographic and create a website journey and consumer experience focused on them.

There are numerous benefits to selling online and building an e-commerce store versus having a storefront. First and foremost, there’s no expensive rent. You also don’t need permits and licensing, utilities, furnishings and decor, maintenance and cleaning, or staff to be onsite during operating hours.

Another thing to consider is whether or not you ever plan on selling your business. With your own online store and its consumer database, you can command a higher sale price as potential buyers can step in and have immediate direct engagement with your consumers.

How to build an ecommerce store

If you already have a website or a point-of-sale (POS) system it’s possible those platforms already offer a simple plugin for you to add e-commerce to your site. Your first step should be to reach out to either your web hosting company or your POS operator and see if they offer a simple solution for adding sales to your existing website.

If you need to start from scratch, we’ve put together some tips to help you get your online store working fast.

Pick a website builder for your online store

When choosing your ecommerce website builder you want one that will let you not only create a beautiful online experience but one that can also manage your orders and sales. Some features you should look for when picking your builder are drag-and-drop tools, easy-to-use templates, mobile responsiveness, and domain names.

Most experts agree, that for online boutiques and small businesses, Wix is the best website builder out there right now. Wix offers all features above and more. But check out websitebuilderexpert.com for a great list of recommended e-commerce website builders to find the perfect fit for your business and budget.

Choose your domain name

With the right domain name, you can drive web traffic from search engines as well as pique consumer interest. The name of your domain is often the first thing customers see and the first chance you have to make a good impression.

Google Domains offers some great advice for choosing a domain name. An important note: make sure your domain name is registered under the business owner’s name. Consider your website a piece of property that goes where the business goes.

Pick and personalize your website template

It’s easy to create a beautiful consumer experience using the templates provided by your website builder. Most of the top-rated website builders offer their templates based on categories like blogging, services, or online sales.

Make sure the website template you choose lets customers immediately know what type of business you own. Make a list of the features you need for your site, then you can easily search through the templates to find the best one for your needs. Your homepage should be clean, simple, and easy for customers to find what they need.

Add your products, images and descriptions

Website builders offer different limits on the number of products you can upload so make sure the platform you choose can handle the number of products you want to sell.

Write your product descriptions not only for customers but also for Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This is how your web pages are found by people using search engines like Google or Bing.

Your descriptions should be:

  • Detailed but easy to read
  • Short, clear sentences
  • Simple, easy-to-understand words

Neil Patel, an expert on SEO and driving traffic to websites, offers great advice on how to write a product description optimized for search.

Almost as important as your product descriptions are your images. They need to accurately display what you’re selling. We’ve put together some Tips for Effective Inexpensive Product Photography that can help you take product photos from your home or workspace without hiring a professional photographer. One thing to keep in mind, while images are pretty and great to look at, they can also slow down your site speed. So only use what you really need.

Connect your payment options

Having a seamless payment process for your products is crucial to selling on an e-commerce site. Consumers today want everything quick and easy and secure.

Your website builder should provide various options for you to easily connect to your chosen payment methods like PayPal, Apple Pay, American Express, Visa, and Mastercard. Quicksprout helps you understand payment processing and what solution might work best for you. Every customer has a different preferred payment method so you should offer multiple options.

Get an SSL certificate

Security is key for your customers when visiting your online store. A Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encrypts your customers’ data and lets them know their shopping experience is secure.

While most website builders offer SSL certificates, it’s a good idea to shop around for the best option. TechRadar provides its top choices for SSL certificates when you’re ready to start selling on your own website.

Set up your shipping

Again, your website builder should walk you through your shipping options. You’ll need to set your origin address and decide what zones you’ll be shipping to. Since rates are different depending on where you ship to, your website builder should let you charge different rates to ship to different zones.

Consider the shipping options you want to offer such as flat-rate shipping, free shipping, and in-store pickup. At this time you’ll also need to pick your courier like UPS, FedEx, or the USPS. Depending on the website builder you are using, they’ll likely have a partner you can work with.

Ready set publish

Before you take your site to live, make sure and preview and test everything. Have friends, family and staff go through your site. Check for spelling errors, broken links, or things that don’t make sense in the user experience.

Confirm all your pricing, promotions, and shipping offers. Place orders using each of your payment methods and try out all your different shipping options. Once you’ve added items to your cart, make sure taxes apply correctly. Then place your orders and apply for a refund to confirm that process is working as well.

It’s also a good idea to spend a few minutes testing it on different browsers. While Chrome is by far the most popular, customers are also using Safari, Firefox, and Edge, as well as numerous new up and comers. Open your site on different browsers and on different devices like cell phones and tablets to make sure it’s working in all environments, especially mobile.

Once you’ve done your testing and confirmed all your site settings, it’s time to publish and start selling on your own website. See How to Turn Website Visits into Customers and 6 Ways to Attract New Customers for more ideas on generating more sales and driving more customers to your store.

Want to keep up to date on the latest small business news and label tips and ideas? Subscribe to our newsletter at the top of the page.

If you’re ready to upgrade your product labels, check our professional printing services from Avery WePrint, or order blank sheet labels that you can print at home. No minimums, fast turnaround, and premium labels, cards, and tags – all online.

blank

Author: Melanie Neff

Melanie has an extensive writing background built on an impressive journalism foundation. As a journalist for USA Today and The Los Angeles Times for almost 20 years, she covered everything from the Los Angeles riots, fires and floods to LA Lakers and Clippers games and movie premieres. She followed her newspaper career with a long tenure covering commercial real estate financing and development. Melanie has currently been writing about small business marketing and labeling needs for the past 10 years. She thrives on reading, researching and expanding her knowledge of everything going on in today's business world and looks to provide the most valuable information she can to her readers.

7 thoughts on “Selling Online & Building an Ecommerce Store”

  1. I’ve been using Avery products for several years now. I’m actually in the process of starting an online store for my products which happen to be Christian greeting cards that I design on the website. Is there a way to link my cards to my website? Maybe a link from my projects page?

    1. Hi Naniene,
      Thank you so much for being a loyal customer. I reached out to our software team to get an answer to your question. We’re a little unsure of what exactly you want to do but if you are looking for a way to share the design, we currently don’t have that feature. You could use a PDF of the design and add that image to your website or share it. But unfortunately there is no way to link directly into your designs or saved projects. If you want more information, please reach out to our Customer Care team and they can walk you through your options in more detail.
      Hope this answers your question. Thanks for reading!

    2. I have an online stationery company and also do Christian greetings that I draw the artwork for. I use Shopify and there’s a way to add your own designs to your online store. I also have a use WooCommerce on my personal website to sell my artwork, which is a free Ecommerce provider. If you don’t want to kick out $29/month for a Shopify store, and you have your own website, you can create a store right on your website using the free WooCommerce WordPress plug-in. Hopes this helps you! Best of Success to you and your business!

        1. Hi Melanie:

          If what you are looking for is for the people that get you greeting cards to have knowledge of your website you can also add a QR reader code kn the back. That way when people scan it, will go to your site. There are various free options to create a QR code online you just have to add the URL and done.
          Hope this helps.

          1. Yes, that’s a good idea. And Avery has its own QR code generator. Avery customers can add their QR code on the back of their greetings cards, labels, postcards, stickers, whatever they want without leaving our site. Everything is done online. And it’s all free. Just pick your product, open our design tool and add your Qr code along with anything else you need. Add images, logos, graphics, custom text, barcodes and more. Thanks for reading!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

fifteen − 9 =