8 Steps to setting up an Ecommerce website

Person touching/pointing at "proceed to checkout" button on a computer.

Setting up an e-commerce website can seem like a daunting prospect, but to lessen the stress, what you need to remember is that this undertaking relies on thorough planning and preparation. We’re going to help you get started by looking at the things you need to consider during initial set up. This will help you to implement a successful launch and consistent delivery.

1. Domain name

A domain name is an important part of your e-commerce website. Before you start devising a name that is short, catchy and unique, you must consider the path you will go down; discoverable or brandable. Either way, in order to create a successful site, your domain name should make consumers think and talk about you.

2. Business niche

This seems to be the biggest hurdle for most e-commerce sites, but that doesn’t mean it should be. Just remember to pick a niche where you can add value and provide the resources to help solve the pre-purchase problems of your customers.

3. Hosting package

Don’t jump into a package because it’s the cheapest one you can find! First, compare the features and make sure that they match your area of focus, then compare the prices between your shortlisted packages. If you have any questions, don’t be afraid to call and ask them.

4. E-commerce platform

This is a crucial stage for setting up an e-commerce website. When browsing for the right platform, consider the following points:

  • Price
  • Ease of setup
  • Features
  • Marketing and branding
  • Tech support
  • Scalability

Make a ranking system of each platform using the above points, and you should soon find the ideal one for you.

5. Payment gateway

Choosing a payment gateway is a vital stage in your preparation. The decision must reflect the needs of your business and customers, so consider currencies, cost, mobile payments, and fraud detection. Also, be aware that the gateway you choose for your site now may not be suitable for when your business grows further down the line, so make sure to choose a contract that will accommodate for such changes.

6. Alternative payments

We would suggest that you look into alternative payment methods for your site since they are becoming more popular. However, that doesn’t mean you have to automatically go for the big names; make sure you research your final choice and its reputation. Going for multiple methods can be risky, as adding more choice for consumers isn’t always ideal. Make sure you’re aware of payment procedures if you’re going live in multiple countries.

7. PCI compliancy

Again, this stage is vital in terms of protecting your consumers during online card transactions. You will have to prove that you have a secure network, vulnerability management and that you monitor and test networks, amongst other requirements, to pass the PCI – DSS.

8. Fulfillment house

There are a number of fulfilment options available, and each comes with their own unique pros and cons. It is essential that you measure these against each other to help discover which option will work best for you; self-fulfillment, outsourced fulfilment, drop shipping, or digital fulfilment.

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