Establishing an e-commerce presence

Establishing an online store is an important method of generating sales for businesses. These sites, for a relatively small outlay, can create the type of engagement with your customers that is most likely to be converted into sales. This article considers some of the key issues you need to consider when establishing your e-commerce store.

If you know what basic structure you want your website to take, platforms such as Shopify and Neto offer multitudes of templates, known as ‘themes’, that provide variations on that basic structure. You can select from a range of free and paid themes on which to build your site. Paid themes build on the free themes by providing a broader range of customisation options in terms of layout styles and social media integration. For example, one popular paid theme can display Instagram posts in which your business is tagged, meaning website visitors can see how existing customers interact with your products and services. This differs from free themes that either lack social media integration, or only allow you to display a limited number of posts from your own pages. We recommend that you browse the lists of Shopify and Neto themes to identify one that coincides with your desired style. Picking an appropriate theme at the outset will make the customisation process significantly easier and more cost effective for your business.

In each theme, click “view demo” to see examples of theme in practise. These examples are highly indicative of how your theme could look in terms of the layout. You obviously retain full control of the colours, font and images. Most themes will also let you display or hide certain features. For example, this theme allows you hide the blog and “about us” links on the front page.

Once you have chosen your theme, it’s time to put it all together! This works best by entering your products first and then customising the look of the website. When entering products, it’s important to enter all the information you have on each product, including information on delivery and sizing. Doing so will also provide the best chance of generating website traffic from search engines. Once all the products have been entered, you can then sort them by collection, and arrange where and how you want your collections displayed, including on the website’s home page.

Finally, it’s important to consider whether you want to maintain a blog on your website. A blog can be used to inform site users of new products and services, and (in most themes) can be pinned to the website’s home page to ensure that it is seen by site users. Search engine algorithms take into account the amount and frequency of new content added to the site, so regular posts on content related to your business’s normal activities will improve your search ranking.