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How to Sell Online: A Beginner’s Guide to eCommerce

In the current climate with ever-changing coronavirus restrictions, your business must adapt. This is particularly true for businesses that are traditionally face-to-face such as boiler installers. Can you shift to selling online? Where do you start? Our guide covers the basics you need to set-up an eCommerce for your business.

Build a website

Thankfully, you don’t need to know how to code to build a smooth-running, great-looking website. Sites like Wix, Squarespace and Shopify make it easy to create and customise your online store. They also handle all the techy bits that you’d otherwise have to take care of yourself (or outsource to an expert).

  • Wix, Squarespace and Shopify are hosted (this means your site is stored by the platform)
  • You can choose and purchase your domain name within the platform
  • You can transfer an existing domain name if you already have a web address you want to keep
  • The platforms all have easy-to-understand SEO tools

How much does it cost?

DIY website builders are very affordable – Wix and Squarespace both have free versions, with additional features for paying customers. It’s a small investment to make to grow your sales. You won’t have to sell much before they’ve paid for themselves. For example, Wix VIP for business is only £22 a month, whilst Squarespace’s Advanced Commerce programme is £30 a month. Shopify is more pricey (even it’s basic package is $29/month) but it is designed specifically for eCommerce. These prices don’t count the cost of your domain name (about £15 a year).

Tip: you can often save yourself 10-20% by paying annually/ biennially

How do I start?

The beauty of these platforms is that they’re designed for people with no technical or coding knowledge, so they walk you through every step of the process.

  • Choose a platform
  • Sign up
  • Purchase your domain name
  • Pick a template
  • Add your company info/products/services
  • Set up your payment methods
  • Publish your site
  • SEO

UX – User Experience 

Your site should provide a great user experience for your customers. If it isn’t easy to find and purchase what they want, they’ll leave. A lot of people will look for a site that’s capable of accepting a range of payment methods, and for larger investments they will look to flexible payment options – give them choice. 

Things to consider when designing your site

  • Simple layout – your site needs to be easy to navigate.
  • Searchable – use tags and keywords for products and pages so customers can easily find what they are looking for.
  • Less is more – categorise your products and services and stick to a few main images per page. A cluttered site will overwhelm visitors.  
  • High-res photos – use high-quality product images with neutral/ no backgrounds.
  • Carousel images – allow visitors to view multiple photos in a slideshow format.
  • Contact details – make sure your customers can get in touch.
  • Chat – better still, add a chat feature.  

Don’t forget to link your social media accounts to your site as well.