The guide to create an effective online store

March 15, 2023 - Anaïs Sautarel

12 minutes

You are a shopkeeper, and you want to increase your shop visibility, reach new markets and achieve world domination? You are planning to start selling online?

For all these reasons, you may want to sell your products online. You are determined and motivated? Well, it is a good start! Now several issues have come up:

  • Where to start?

  • How to open an online store?

  • How to get known and boost your SEO?

  • How to attract your visitors and satisfy your buyers?

Don’t worry! We have the solution.

And now you will find the essential steps to create an online store with SiteW.

Create an online store easily

Why to choose a website builder for your online store creation?

There are many solutions on the market to create your online store.

However, if you are just starting out on the web or if you want a professional result quickly,  website builder will suit you well.

This solution indeed is the easiest to use and will enable you to create an online store without technical knowledge.

Easy as ABC
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Website builders offer an easy solution based on a drag-and-drop system. All the elements you can potentially add to your online store are ready, optimized and functional.

You just need to select and drag them wherever you want on your page.

It especially enables you to add payment blocks, registration forms or product pages in a few minutes.

In most cases, this solution is quite affordable (or even free), and will enable you to save time as everything is ready-to-use: you just need to build your shop.

Moreover, most website builders offer an active customer support to ensure the smooth progress of your web project: ask the support your questions that will help you in case of problem.

SiteW, our French solution, is a website builder that is easy to handle, to create your website quickly, easily and affordably.

Create an online store

How much does an online store cost?

Pricing for the creation of your online store can vary a lot depending on the solution you choose.

Here are our packages for the design of an online store:

  • The Essential Ecommerce plan ($25.00/month for 1 month, and $20.80/month for an annual subscription with 2 months offered) allows you to start selling online, with a domain name included, as well as an online store within the limit of 25 products and 5 categories.
  • The Advanced Ecommerce plan ($39.00/month for 1 month, and $32.50/month for a yearly subscription, with 2 months offered) is perfect to grow your business. It allows you to create a complete store with 100 products and 50 categories and with management of shipping costs and a wide choice of payment methods.
  • The Unlimited Ecommerce plan  ($69.00/month for 1 month, and $57.50/month for a yearly subscription, with 2 months offered) is  especially for professionals and large online stores. It allows you to have a complete online store with unlimited products and categories. You can also create email campaigns for your customers, get multi-user access and priority assistance in case of a problem.

All our Ecommerce plans have no commission.

sitew packages

Moreover, you enjoy a multilingual customer support and available for you. The expert and professional SiteW team will find all the solutions that suit your needs.

Thus, if you have a tight budget and little time, but you want efficacy: choose a website builder.

Design an online store in a few clicks

The creation of an online store might be tedious, but, fortunately, the website builder solution enables you to create your website quickly.

Customize your online store
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The creation will take a short or long time, depending on your project, the blocks you want to add to your website, the number of products in your catalogue, etc. The editor and your online store customization are still intuitive thanks to the drag-and-drop system. In this way, you will get a professional result quickly.

In general, thanks to this system and following the guide, you can create your online store within a few days.

However, there is no question of publishing your website and then dropping it. Once your store is online, you will have to:

  1. promote it,
  2. optimize your catalogue,
  3. work on your website SEO,
  4. update your collections regularly.

The creation of an online store is pretty quick, but requires regular work over time.

With a comprehensive creation solution, you enjoy an expert and custom support to easily anchor your online store over time.

As you will have understood, creating your online store with a website builder suits the new digital shopkeepers well.

Despite everything, an online store is not on permanent autopilot, and you must follow some steps to get a fully satisfactory result.

Now we will detail these 6 steps. 👇

Create your online store in 6 steps with SiteW

These 6 steps are essential to build an optimized and successful online store.

Of course, you must start by… 🥁

1- Create your account for your online store

Before creating your store with SiteW or elsewhere, you will need to choose a domain name. The domain name is the equivalent of your postal address on the Internet, and your customers identify and find you thanks to it. Your visitors will remember your brand name more easily.

Choose it carefully according to your business, easy to spell and remember.

Then sign up on SiteW, and enjoy a special offer for online store creation. Moreover, all of our paid packages include a free domain name.

SiteW sign up

Remember to enter an email address you visit regularly, so the SiteW team gets in touch with you if necessary.

Within a few minutes, you already have your account and domain name. 🎉 

It is time to move on to the next step: your online store template.

2- Choose your template

In general, all website builders of the market ask you to make a first choice during the creation of your store.

You will choose your template, the visual identity for your website. You will make a choice between:

👉 A predefined template for your online store according to your business or the suggested colours you like.

👉 Starting from scratch, that is to say, starting from a blank page and building your own design by yourself.

Once the template of your online store is chosen, you will get to the editor.

Just a minute: is it possible to transform a SiteW website I already have into a store?

To transform your website into an online store, you just need to drag the Store block from the Content panel to one of your pages.

SiteW Store block

Once your online store is added to one of your website pages, you will be able to customize the style of your online store.

You will have a set of configurations at your disposal to customize your Store block as you pleased. To that end, click on “Choose a style” in the Design tab.

To go further
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For a unique and brand-new design, you can also add a background image to your online store!

Store example

If you have chosen a template during the creation of your online store, you will be able to customize it according to your graphic charter. 🎨

Become powerful and create a custom store by editing these elements:

  • your store main colours,

  • your titles and product pages fonts,

  • the style of the clickable buttons and their texts,

  • the layout of the articles and elements,

  • the look of illustrations, graphisms and pictures, etc.

The design of your future online store suits you very well? Let’s move on to the next step: content.

3 - Add content to your online store

It is time to add content to your online store.

To that end, you must create the different pages of your online store: homepage, page contact, product pages, etc.

And now we will see all aspects of your products and their presentation, that is to say:

  • writing your product pages,

  • setting your selling prices,

  • adjusting delivery and costs, etc.

First, you must create new fields to add your products.

Finally, your online store will have a true catalogue and start attracting customers.

It is easy to add your products: you just need to click on +.

Your new insert to add your product is already created. It is quick, isn’t it?

This is just the beginning, then you must add the details of your product. It is clear there are many details you must think about:

  • The title

Choose a short title: ideally, it must have 12 characters.

Store product

It will be possible to detail in the description.

Moreover, talking about the description…

  • The description and the image

A text editor enables you to enter a comprehensive description of the product.

During this step you will add one or several high resolution photos that show the product from different perspectives. You can display up to 4 pictures or pack shot of your product. When the visitors click on one of the thumbnails on your website, the image will be displayed in full screen.

Finally, you can set the price in euro as its default. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you want another currency!

  • The stocks

If payments are enabled, you can configure the maximum number of products a customer can buy.

Product stock

It also enables you to manage logistics and the stocks of your products. Even if you have a small business, you can immediately inform customers of your limited stocks.

💡 Manage your stocks easily and offer a pre-order service to enhance user experience and customer relations.

  • The options

You can also configure options for your product.

Product options

Here are examples of options: sizes “S; M; L; XL” or colours with additional cost “White; Blue +0.5; Green +1; Red +2”. A drop-down menu will enable your visitors to choose one of these options before adding the product to their cart.

  • The categories

Choose which categories this product belongs to. For example, “shoes” and “man”.

It makes browsing easier, and enables you to add keywords as well as improves users and Google’s understanding.

Product options

  • The private information and tags

As its name suggests, you are the only one who can see this information that enables you to organize your stocks and sending.

Product information

You can fill in the reference, notes or additional information about the product.

Finally, you can fill in tags for the search engine, so your products be well ranked.

Once the fields are filled, click on the “Save & Publish” button. Then you can update, delete and duplicate the product by clicking on it from the list of products.

You can create as many products as wanted, but don’t forget to be still organized and divide them into categories, so Internet users can easily find what they are looking for. These pages must be clear, so the buyer doesn’t feel lost during their purchase. The price must be clearly displayed, and the information must be understandable.

Create an online store

4- Configure payment settings and options

You are ready to configure your store and its different options.

One of these options is the display of the stocks of your online store.

By clicking on the “Stocks” button in the blue left panel, you can enable automatic stock management and then define the minimum number of products for which the number of remaining articles of your online store is displayed. It is displayed in this form: “Only X product(s) left”.

Display your stocks
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Your visitors who are attracted by one or several products will have an urge to buy more rapidly and seize the opportunity.

Then in the blue left panel, you will be able to configure your online store with different buttons:

  • Payment methods and solutions (PayGreen, PayZen, Stripe, etc.)

Install your payment provider to manage all your payments by credit card. You can also provide your customers with payment by instalments.

  • Shipping and delivery costs

Choose the shipping method that best suits your needs. You can configure everything from your online store: carrier, type of delivery, click & collect, delivery in relay point or at home…), shipping costs…

  • Discount vouchers

Offer any type of discounts and special offers to catch potential customers. You can also offer a free delivery service.

  • Categories

Create an intuitive and organized website to make your visitors’ visit easier. By creating categories and subcategories, sort your products. Browsing will be easier for you and your customers.

  • Billing and cart options

Finally, you will be able to enable or disable the different options: auto-size, anti-download, auto-scroll, search field, stock status.

Displaying a strike-through price on an online store is also a good way to increase your sales, as it enables to highlight your sales and special offers conspicuously and immediately. In this way, your customers will seize the opportunity to buy this beautiful product with a 50% off.

Finally, you can create custom call-to-action buttons thanks to the Widget/Button block to boost sales by drawing the consumer’s attention.

Button block of SiteW

5- Ensure the security of your online store

What could be worse than not felling safe when we are surfing a website?

In order to gain the public’s confidence, it is important to ensure the security of your online store. Private data and financial transactions circulate on your online store and must be protected.

To that end, use an HTTPS domain name to secure your website.

Our offers enable you to create your online store without worrying about its security as it is included in the package. First, check that your website is secure to also rank higher on Google as Google will tend to better rank secure websites for the public.

Moreover, to secure your store and meet the standards of your online store, configure your general terms and conditions.

From the editor, you can easily edit and enable your general terms and conditions on your store. It’s essential that your customers access them before paying on your website.

6- Create your professional email address

Made it! You have created your online store.

Now it is time to deal with the way your visitors will get in touch with you.

To that end, what could be better than creating a professional email address?

Our packages enable you to create from 3 to 10 email addresses for your online store to be organized and ready to help your customers.

In your Contact page, you will just need to redirect the possible questions from customer service to your professional email address, and you will be ready to meet all your customers’ expectations.

Build an online store

Launch into e-commerce

You know all the tips to create a perfect online store, but before starting, do you ever think about these settings?

Carry out market research for your store

Before creating an online store, first, think about the feasibility of your e-commerce project.

To that end, a few steps are essential, especially the market research that will help you determine your buyer personas.

What is market research?
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A market research aims at testing the environment of the sector related to your online shop, especially the competitors and needs. This market research is for collecting and analysing data to study the different characteristics of a market.

👉 For example, you can create surveys in the form of questionnaires or interviews, collect existing information (in the press or documentation centres), or make competitive intelligence.

To implement this study and measure the resultant potential for your e-commerce business, first, you will need to study the market in itself, that is to say:

  • its evolution,

  • its main actors,

  • its products and services,

  • its competitive offers.

After the study, your sector will no longer have a secret for you, and you will be able to define your standard customer or buyer persona.

Thus, you will know your interlocutors and the expectations of your potential customers regarding your online store.

Conclusions drawn from your study will enable you to test the potential for success of your online shop creation project and, eventually, adapt it according to the achieved results. You will also have a few elements about the future of your online shop:

  • Will it be sustainable?

  • Is there any risk of bankruptcy?

  • Or is there a great potential for expanding in the coming years?

In short, your market research will enable you to avoid feeling your way along and anticipate the future of your e-commerce website while avoiding some risks. It’s an essential step before creating your online store.

It’s essential to take your market trends into consideration, as well as the situation in real time. A website develops over time and must be regularly updated to be more credible to your public.

The big news of 2020, Covid-19, is a perfect example. Online stores must adapt to this particular situation. Consumers like store have already adopted new habits such as:

  • payment facilities,

  • free services,

  • free delivery,

  • click & collect…

Therefore, pay attention to your sector trends: for the success of your online business, you must know how to start again and adapt.

In addition to your motivation, you know everything to create an online store and stand out from the competition thanks to a powerful SEO.

Now, you just have to launch into business and stay on track!

Anaïs Sautarel
As confident in the mountains as with foreign languages, our contents and tool travel around English-speaking and Spanish-speaking countries with me. 🌍

Last update: March 15, 2023

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