How to Create an Online Store
It is a multistage process to create an online store for your business. Although we, the developers of CS-Cart, have done our best to make the setup highly convenient for you, it is very important to know what is to be done at each stage. That is why below we list the key stages of store building: from the purchase of the software to the store launch.
Purchase & Installation
- First place an order for a CS-Cart license, get an account in our Customer Help Desk system and download the software there (learn more).
- Find a suitable hosting service and register a domain name (if you do not have a website yet). Selecting the server, keep in mind the system requirements necessary for CS-Cart proper operation. We recommend affordable CS-Cart hosting packages provided by SiteGround and A2 Hosting.
- Buy an SSL certificate and install it on your server if you plan to accept payments via Google Checkout, PayPal Pro, etc. It can be bought and installed any time, as an SSL certificate is NOT required for installing CS-Cart or its running, but it will make your customers feel safe when shopping with you.
- Install the CS-Cart software on your server. The installation process is described in detail in Reference Guide. Also, we can perform a professional installation for you on a paid basis. If necessary, make a CS-Cart installation on your local computer for testing purposes (download our guide on how to install the program on a local computer on the Documentation page).
- Enter your company details including address which is used to calculate shipping costs.
- The next step is to define languages in which the site will be available and in which prices can be displayed.
- Set up payment methods that will be accepted in your store.
- Set up necessary shipping methods and/or create your own custom ones.
- Create and set up taxes applicable to your products.
- Set up general settings that affect your store overall and configure some basic information of the store, for instance, specify weight symbol and minimum order amount, enable one-page checkout or extended search by product options, etc. A detailed description of the settings can be found in Reference Guide.
- Import the whole product database in CSV format or add your products manually (in the latter case create categories to group similar products and define features, global options.
Look & Feel
- Select a store design from the included design themes.
- Edit the home page, namely add your own default page title, welcome text and meta-information, if necessary.
- Insert your own logo and adjust the appearance settings of your store – from the default language of the CS-Cart admin panel to date and time format.
- If required, customize CS-Cart templates as described in Knowledge Base to match your existing website. You can use our partners' professional design creation and integration services.
- If your online business has some special features, you may need to change CS-Cart default functionality. You can do it by yourself (if you are familiar with PHP, MySQL and Smarty) or order our custom development services.
- Create a favorable atmosphere to attract and retain customers, namely make use of such features as Gift certificates, Promotions, Affiliate program, Reward points and others.
- Use a creative content management system (CMS) to promote not only your store in general, but also your products and your company. Place different information pages on the website and draw your customers' attention to a larger number of products by adding product lists like Related products, Featured products, Bestsellers or Customers who bought this product also bought.
- Enable SEF links and advertise the site to your target audience via the Internet or other media.