For good or for ill, we live in times of Internet, where everything takes place online – dating, studies, shopping, sales, researches, communication. All goods are sold online, from food to space crafts. So, sooner or later any business person comes to understanding that he needs a virtual store to push-up his sales. As a matter of fact, an e-store is a pure benefit both for a merchant and for a customer: the merchant doesn’t need to pay a shop rent, no salary to employees, no shop equipment, no safety instructions to follow, no commuting expenses. A customer gains even more: he gets an access to a wider choice of goods and services, has no need to go anywhere for shopping, can compare prices and selection in various e-shops, has various payment options, can order delivery. To seize the opportunities offered by e-commerce, a customer needs a stable Internet connection, and a merchant must build an attractive and customer-friendly web store. But how? What if a merchant has no sense of ecommerce store programs and is just a simple Internet user with standard skills – emails, online shopping, social networks and plain search queries. To build a virtual store is a daunting task for a person with only basic Internet skills and zero technical knowledge. Yes, for sure! Here they are, innovative e-commerce solutions suitable for everyone who needs a ready-to-use platform with self-explanatory interface. But let’s see in general, what an e-shop needs to bring a real profit and success to its owner.

First and foremost, it’s an attractive and user-friendly design: easy website navigation, quick access to all product categories, speed image download, bright and clear pictures and clear product descriptions. If a visitor cannot take a look of your product in several clicks, he’ll leave your e-store without purchase and will never come back. Another important e-sales instrument is a shopping cart. Numerous software developers offer high-tech shopping cart ecommerce solutions for online shops of different size. A customer-friendly shopping cart should be modifiable, intuitive and accessible at any moment. It’s better to allow shopping for both identified and anonymous users, as far as not everyone has time or is willing to sign up. Comprehensive ecommerce shopping cart software should have:

  • integrated templates;
  • multiple payment options such as PayPal, credit and debit cards;
  • a SSL certificate for secure online payments;
  • customer loyalty system;
  • real time shipping rates for different destinations;
  • 1 page checkout, quantity update, weight selection, add to cart in category page itself;
  • promo offers, discount coupons or gift certificates.
Services mentioned above mainly concern the customer side. And what is about a merchant? Let’s see what are the must-have tools for a well-run online shop. Become recognizable – try to get ecommerce website design software with responsive design/theme customization based on your logo & color design, so you’ll be able to change your cart color and theme in several clicks at any moment. Website management tools are essential for you to get a full picture of current stock, daily, weekly and monthly sales, and orders in process. Thus, you’ll need order management, stock control and sales reports features. Unlimited products and categories would provide you a space for development – no need to change the ecommerce website management software if you broaden the range of traded products. Connection to popular social networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram could bring you loyal customers due to good references of existing customers, attractive events reviews and newsletters on your e-shop page.

An ecommerce store program

Drag-and-drop solutions don’t require tech skills and offer the same features as more sophisticated ones. Opt for them if you are looking for an easy-to-use ecommerce store program. Here are several tips for merchants who have decided to build web store from scratch. It’s better to choose a short and relevant domain name for your e-shop. Your customers would identify it with your brand and products. Think about commercial ads and social networking – both could bring you prospects. Unfortunately, not all customers have high capacity Internet connection, so some of them wouldn’t be able to load the pixel-peepable pictures of your products. It’s better to provide small previews for those who have low capacity Internet. Product image zoon-in capability would please those who are looking for high-quality or specific issues.

It may be useful to support multiple languages and currencies, as far as your web-shop will be available for customers all over the world. If your product has a digital or a downloadable form, think over a possibility to sell them also. Customer personalized products, such as monograms, can be a nice touch. Think of a wish list and a “send to a friend” option as a kind of a lay-buy or suspended purchase. Look for a flexible ecommerce builder which is capable to grow up alongside with your e-store. To get your shop going, start with a simple version – it doesn’t need to be perfect, it must be operative. You may try free demo versions for a certain period of time in order to understand what features you really need.

Don’t try to foresee everything and find a perfect website solution at the very beginning. Your business will grow and change, as well as your vision and ideas. Save your time and get your online shop started – to gain momentum and achieve small but meaningful victories. The answers to all questions will come along the way.