Ultimate Checklist for Launching an Online Store
There's no question that online shopping has become a staple in today's society. In fact, according to Statista, 24.5% of all retail sales worldwide will be made online by 2025.
With this in mind, it's no surprise that more and more businesses are choosing to start their own online stores. If you're one of these business owners, you'll want to make sure you have everything covered before launching. To help you out, we've put together The Ultimate Checklist for Launching an Online Store. This guide will walk you through everything you need to do before and during the launch process, and deep dive into the most important steps, such as setting up your eCommerce fulfillment services.
So, whether you're just getting started or you're already underway but want to make sure you haven't missed anything, read on!
From defining your product line to choosing your warehousing and fulfillment services (or if you’re just wondering what eCommerce fulfillment services are!), this article will dive into each important step so that you can achieve your eCommerce business goals!
1. Choose your product line
Before you can choose the right product line for your eCommerce store, you need to know what products are available. Doing some online research, segmenting your market, or networking with other eCommerce retailers can be a great way to get ideas and advice. Once you have a good understanding of the products that are available, you can begin to refine your choices. Also, throughout your research, it is important to ensure that there are eCommerce fulfillment services available to get your products out there.
Think about what type of direction you want to take your store–do you want it to have a luxury feel, or be more down-to-earth? To narrow it down, you can consider the following factors:
- Message and audience: what type of customer are you trying to reach, and what type of message do you want to communicate?
- Branding: how important is it for your products to reflect your brand identity?
- Profitability: what kind of margins are you hoping to achieve with each sale?
- Competition: what type of competition does your chosen product line face in the market?
By taking the time to critically evaluate each of these factors, you'll be able to choose the right product line for your store.
2. Choose a domain name and hosting provider
Your domain name is your store's URL, and it's what customers will use to find you online. When choosing a domain name, keep it short, sweet, and easy to remember. You'll also want to make sure the domain name is available by doing a quick search on a domain registrar.
Once you've found an available domain name, you can then choose a hosting provider. This is the company that will host your website and stores all of your data. There’s a variety of hosting providers out there such as GoDaddy, Bluehost, HostPapa, and many more, so do some research to find one that fits your needs and budget.
3. Build your store's website
Now that you have a domain name and hosting provider, it's time to start building your store's website. If you're not sure where to start, there are plenty of eCommerce platforms out there that can help. Shopify, BigCommerce, and WooCommerce are all popular eCommerce platforms that can help you build a professional-looking website. However, if you want your eCommerce website to work properly, you also need to invest in proper digital storefront software. It will help you support your online store, attract new clients, and personalize your store.
4. Design your store's website and logo
Now it's time to start working on the look and feel of your store. Begin by designing your store's website. This is where customers will actually shop, so make sure it's user-friendly and easy to navigate on both desktop and mobile devices. You'll also want to make sure it looks professional and reflects the overall branding of your business.
Once you've established that, it's time to start adding content to your site. Begin by creating product pages for each item in your product line. Make sure to include high-quality photos and detailed descriptions of each product. You should also create pages for your About Us section, Shipping & Returns policy, Contact Information, and any other important information potential customers might need.
After you’ve finalized your store’s design and brand feel, create a logo for your store. This is what will appear on your website and brand assets, so make sure it's memorable and represents your brand well.
5. Set up a shopping cart software
Now that you have a domain name, hosting provider, and store created, it's time to choose a shopping cart software. This is the software that will power your store and allow customers to add items to their carts and checkout.
There are multiple shopping cart software options out there, so take some time to research and find one that fits your needs. Some popular options include:
- Shopify which is known to be user-friendly;
- BigCommerce which offers a lot of features and customization options; and
- WooCommerce is a popular choice for WordPress users.
Once you've chosen a shopping cart software, follow the instructions for setting it up and configuring it for your store. Before you move on to the shipping of these products, you’ll have to set up your eCommerce fulfillment services (we will get to that below).
6. Choose your payment processing
In order to take payments from customers, you'll need to set up payment processing. This can be done through a service like PayPal or Stripe or a "buy now, pay later" service such as Sezzle. Once you've chosen a payment processor, sign up for an account and follow the instructions for setting it up with your shopping cart software.
7. Add products to your store
When it comes to eCommerce fulfillment services, handling products is a key factor. Once you have your products, it's now time to start adding them to your store! Begin by creating product listings for each item you want to sell.
Make sure to include high-quality photos, accurate descriptions, and all of the important details customers will need to know. Once you've created your listings, add them to your store and make sure they're displaying correctly. In our next and last step in this checklist, you’ll need to set up eCommerce fulfillment services to get your products to your customers.
8. Shipping Solutions – eCommerce Fulfillment Services
If you're going to be shipping items to customers, you'll need to set up shipping solutions and delivery methods. eCommerce fulfillment services and warehousing services are critical to the success of your online store.
Warehousing and eCommerce Fulfillment Services: What Are They?
Your eCommerce Fulfillment and warehousing services define the shipping policy for your store and allow you to communicate with your customers about how their orders will be shipped and delivered!
eCommerce fulfillment and warehousing Services are a vital part of any online retail business. Without them, businesses would have to handle inventory, packaging, and shipping themselves–a daunting and time-consuming task.
Fortunately, there are many eCommerce fulfillment services out there that can take care of all of these tasks for you. They can store your products in their warehouses, pick, pack, and ship them to your customers, and even handle returns and customer service.
There are many things to consider when choosing a warehousing and eCommerce fulfillment Service. You'll want to take into account the fulfillment center cost, shipping solutions, order minimums, and storage fees. You'll also want to make sure that the fulfillment center you choose can accommodate your business's growth. Make sure you do your research to make sure it's the right fit for you and your business.
Launching an online store can be a daunting task, but with the right tools in your arsenal, it doesn’t have to be. Hopefully, this checklist has given you all the information you need to get started on your eCommerce journey.
eCommerce fulfillment services are an important part of any online business, so choose the right fulfillment center for your needs. Also, don't forget to set up shipping solutions and delivery methods so that your customers can receive their orders as quickly and easily as possible.
If you need help getting your store off the ground or want advice on expanding your business down the road, our team at eShipper is here for you. With over 23 years of experience in eCommerce Fulfillment Services within the industry, we know what it takes to make your business succeed.
So what are you waiting for? Let’s get your eCommerce store off the ground today!
Get an instant quote from eShipper and make sure you find the right warehousing and eCommerce fulfillment services to ensure the success of your online store.