So, you've decided to conquer the world of eCommerce. You've come to the right place.
Do you know why 2022 is the BEST time to build an eCommerce store?
Well, the pandemic turned the world upside down. One minute you're having the best time with your pals, galloping around, and enjoying the outside world. And then BAM!
Quarantines. Social distancing. Lockdowns.
And being locked down inside our homes taught us one important survival skill — living without leaving our homes.
We learn that we don't need to go to the market to buy essential things physically. You don't even need to go to the mall to shop. You have everything you need right at your fingertips.
Because ultimately, all we need is our phone and the internet.
Craving for a hot, nutritious meal? Sign up for that awesome meal subscription delivery service.
Running out of tissue paper and rubbing alcohol? Easy — buy some online.
Want to improve your home workout with athleisure? I know a GREAT online store you can get from.
You see, while other booming industries like aviation and tourism are suddenly slowing down, the eCommerce business is rising THROUGH THE ROOF.
In fact, e-retail revenues are forecast to grow up to 5.4 trillion USD in 2022. What's more?
- E-commerce serves 2.14 billion online shoppers worldwide.
- The total sales on the ecommerce platform Shopify is $356 billion.
- In 2024, 22% of worldwide retail sales will be thanks to online sales.
And the numbers will only go up from here.
So what are you waiting for?
If you don't ride the wave of eCommerce's explosive growth, you will surely get left behind.
Lucky for you, there's never been an easier time to start an eCommerce store than today. Let me tell you why.
Because in the past, the cost of setting up and maintaining an eCommerce website was not worth the ROI. Also, people prefer brick-and-mortar stores over online stores.
As a business owner, you had to add more work hours just to set everything up. If not all that, then you would also need to hire someone to operate it.
In other words, it was just too much.
But today, you just need your undivided attention, time, seed money, and of course, this handbook.
This guide will be your holy grail if you are:
- A newcomer to the ecommerce world and want to launch their first moneymaking store.
- An ecommerce store owner who wishes to reoptimize their online business.
Today, I will show you how to build a high-converting store from scratch in six easy steps!
Strap yourself in. Are you set? Let's start.
Choose Your Product
Before you begin counting your profit margins, you need to ask yourself first: "what type of product do you want to be selling online?"
The type of product you'll choose will be the catalyst for your entire eCommerce business.
Of course, you don't want to sell something that people don't want in the first place.
It also needs to be on-trend and not so easy to find. People can already get those on giant online marketplaces such as Amazon.
So, how do you differentiate the lucrative products from the not-so lucrative? Ask yourself:
What Are The Type Of Product Will You Be Selling Online?
Before considering any ecommerce product ideas, you need to know what category your ideas fall into.
Generally, there are two types of products you need to consider.
Commoditized products are what everybody needs and are often sold in bulk. Imagine the rows and rows of kitchenware, office supplies, and clothes at Walmart.
Niche products serve a specific type of consumer. Think of one-of-a-kind products such as jewelry, trendy t-shirts, and eco-friendly products.
Many store owners sell commoditized and niche products for a higher chance of winning.
However, selling commoditized products can be a struggle. Big competitors such as Amazon are already selling popular products.
Meanwhile, the niche audience has an engaged audience that is also high-converting. Why?
Because while there are significant players meeting the demands for commoditized products, specific items are hard to come by. And when your target audience finds your niche eCommerce store, they'll buy only from you.
That, my friend, is a gold mine.
That's why finding a niche product is better
What Is Your Niche?
Ask yourself this: "WHO" are you selling your product to?
Your niche is basically an area of expertise that differentiates your online business from the rest.
Need some solid successful ecommerce product ideas? Here's an example that is customer-centered.
Bee's Wrap wants to replace plastic wraps with reusable storage. They sell natural food wraps made from beeswax.
Their target market? Conscious consumers. They are the people who are becoming more eco-friendly and looking for sustainable products.
See how all that works out?
Suppose you have a general idea of what industry you would want your ecommerce store to be in. You need to funnel down to find your ecommerce niche.
How Do You Find Your Niche?
Start by researching the market.
Here are some ways to help you start:
1. Utilize Search Engines
Google is a reliable tool for checking the viability of your chosen niche. Another tool you can use is Google Trends. It shows you what people are searching for when it comes to products.
2. Use Keyword Research Tool
How's the demand for your niche? Keyword Research Tool answers that for you. It determines the search results in volume of your keywords. You'll also stumble upon the brands you compete with. See what they're doing!
3. Social Listening
Don't just mindlessly scroll through your social media platforms. Check trending hashtags to see what's popular within your industry. Listen to what users are saying in the comments to gain valuable insights.
Look into other ecommerce businesses in the same industry. Here are the questions you need to be able to answer after:
- What are their marketing strategies?
- What are their strengths and weaknesses?
- Who is their customer base?
- What is their enterprise model?
To help you further find your niche, read on the Eight Easy Steps To Find A Profitable Niche For Your Online Business.
Once you settle on your niche, you need to know where and how to obtain your products.
How Will You Source Your Products?
Sourcing your products is a significant decision to make. And no, it's not as easy as grabbing from Mary Poppins' bag. Unfortunately.
But thankfully, there are other non-magical (but incredibly viable) options for you.
1. Personally Holding Your Products
You make the products. You manufacture it. You hold inventory. You manage warehousing costs. You do the packaging and sending out.
It seems too much to handle, but the good thing is you also have control over cost and risk. Then, continue to grow when you have better resources.
2. Offer Digital Downloads
Ever since lockdowns started, people look for accessible hobbies they can do at home. Convenience is found in online services.
Services such as online video classes, resources, templates, and freelance services are all the rage. If you already have the skills to sell, that means a low overhead cost, too.
Does thinking about inventory and shipping overwhelms you? A popular e-commerce model to consider is dropshipping.
Dropshipping means partnering with another company. They would do inventory and shipping for you. The process also means no startup cost on your end.
In this video, you will look into five tools to help you find the right products.
Tip: Use Debutify's build-in product research tool for a hassle-free product research process. No more countless hours looking for the following best-selling product!
How Will You Evaluate Your Product?
Once you find a viable product, you need to answer these questions:
- Does it fulfill a need?
- Can your business create profit with this product?
- Is it scalable and marketable?
- What are the possible challenges that I need to prepare for?
- Does it need service or support?
Once you find the answers, here's a checklist you need to consider. You'll need it to create a better business plan.
- The product should be small, lightweight, and suitable for quick shipping.
- Think about your product's lifespan.
- Assess the seasonality of our product.
- Ability to sell at a higher price. (70%+gross margin)
Once you find your niche, you're already a step ahead on creating a high-converting ecommerce store.
To keep up the pace, you need to make your ecommerce business plan.
Create Your Business Plan
Your business plan for ecommerce is like a road map — it shows the best way to get to your goal.
And getting lost without a road map is inevitable. You'll just end up in the middle of nowhere, frustrated and weary.
Similarly, an ecommerce business without a solid plan will surely go astray. Yes, even if you have a good product in hand.
A solid business plan will provide clarity to your approach. It can also minimize your risk, as you would also need to identify possible roadblocks.
What Should Your Business Plan Include?
You should be able to know your business plan like the back of your hand.
And your plan should look like this:
1. Executive Summary
Your summary is your whole plan in a nutshell. It's also the most critical part. Why?
It's the bird's eye-view for potential investors and other reviewers to your business.
But don't fret too much. It's also the last part you should write.
Your executive summary should be able to answer the following questions:
- What is your business all about?
- How will your business earn money?
- What are your business goals?
- Where are you currently acquiring financing?
- What is your operation model?
- Who is your intended audience?
2. Business Overview
Your business overview should cover the following:
- Brand name
- Business' legal structure
- Domain name
- Mission and vision statement
- Organizational chart
The overview parts will answer why your business exists and the ideals you stand for.
3. Competitive Market Analysis
Here's where you put everything you've learned about your niche into writing.
To start, this section should have answers to the following:
- Who are your existing competitors (direct and indirect)?
- Conduct a SWOT analysis of your competitors. What are they missing?
- What makes you stand out from them?
- Conduct a competitive pricing analysis. How can I be the cost leader?
Whatever industry you are in will always be a competitive landscape. You must include a competitive market analysis to see the best fit for your business.
4. Products And Services
Now comes the meaty part of your business plan. Don't be afraid to expand on your products' descriptions.
Whether your store sells only one product or a range of items, you should write the following for each one:
- General features/ information
You can also include future products you would want to sell online in this section.
If testimonials are available from products testers, include them within this part.
5. Buyer Persona
Your customers are the main focus of your business.
Creating a tangible person will help you make strategic decisions moving forward.
So, how would you go about describing your target demographic?
Base them on your product. Who would buy them?
Your buyer persona should include these specifics:
- Their location
- Age range
- Hobbies and traits
- Education level
- Estimated income
- Their goals
Once you create your buyer persona, your marketing strategy will naturally come next.
6. Marketing plan
First off, familiarize yourself with the four Ps of marketing.
- Product: What demand does your product fulfill?
- Price: How much does your supply cost? How much will your customers pay?
- Place: Where will your target audience find your product?
- Promotion: What kind of advertising will you utilize? Will you utilize paid advertising?
Once you have your marketing plan ready to go, proceed on creating your...
7. Logistics And Operation Plan
It's time to put your plan into action. For your planned operations to run smoothly, you need to understand the realities of creating a high-converting ecommerce business.
Your logistics plan should discuss the following:
- Production and Facilities
- Shipping and fulfillment
Listen, understanding how your supply chain flows will minimize loss for your store. It does not hurt to have a plan B (or even a C or D).
8. Financial Plan
Speaking of plans, don't forget to take into account your financial goals. It should have three major parts:
- Income statement: What are your revenue sources and expenses?
- Cash-flow statement: When do your revenues get collected? When are your expenses paid?
- Balance sheet: How much equity does your business have?
Once you compile everything neatly, go back to the executive summary to summarize everything.
Keep your business plan between 15 to 20 pages. That way, everything should be concise and relevant.
Your business plan is the solid foundation your business will be built on.
Whether it's your first time writing one or rewriting one for your existing business, a good leg to stand on never hurt anybody.
Let's move on to the fun part: choosing your brand name.
Choose Your Brand Name
Do you know what it feels like to pick an ecommerce brand name? Think of it as choosing a name for your firstborn.
Your child deserves a distinctive, strong name to be proud of forever.
I know it's overwhelming, but don't fret!
To help you out, here are some things you need to keep in mind when choosing a brand name:
- Is it simple and easy to type?
- Does it stand out from your competitors?
- Is it original, creative, and catchy?
- Is it relevant to your products?
Still can't come up with a name? Review the steps in step 1 of this guide.
Here's what you can do as well:
Do a quick google search relating to your business. Check social media hashtags for quick inspiration.
If all else fails, you can use Shopify's business name generator.
Once you find your business name, make sure that it's the same as your domain name.
Now that you have your brand name, it's time to create a domain name. The best domain name to use is your brand name. Why?
It makes it easier for your target audience to find your online store.
Google has a domain search engine you can check to see if your domain name is available.
Now that you've successfully done all your foundation, it's time to choose where to build.
Choose Your Ecommerce Platform
At this point, your ecommerce business is a young seedling.
It needs your hard work to grow. And it needs the perfect ecosystem that can scale your growth.
It is important to choose the best e-commerce platform for your ecosystem.
Yes, there are tons of ecommerce platforms to choose from.
You might recognize some of them, such as Woocommerce, Wix, Shopify, and WordPress.
Each of them has its own charm. But when it comes to ecommerce platforms, Shopify can be your perfect match.
For instance, what are the things that you should look for in an ecommerce platform?
There are a lot of things to check off when building your own online store from scratch.
You need to think about pricing, page loading speed, website visitors support, usability, themes, and security.
If you want a reliable and customizable solution, Shopify offers all the tools you need.
So what makes Shopify special?
What is a Shopify Store?
Shopify is a subscription-based ecommerce platform where you can build your store.
It's also a drag-and-drop builder. That means there's no coding required.
Still not sure? You can try Shopify for 14 days.
If you are in the middle of growing and scaling your ecommerce website, try Shopify Plus Partnership Program.
Shopify Plus gives you access to the latest features, your business' underlying code, and more.
The next thing you should do is, well... build your ecommerce website.
Don't hold your breath now.
The following section will walk you through how to build a Shopify store.
Build Your High-Converting Shopify Store
Now that you have chosen your eCommerce platform, it's time to build your Shopify store.
You are now in the doorway of success.
Are you ready to step in?
The first step is to create your Shopify account.
1. Set Up Your Shopify Store
Head over to Shopify's main page. Enter your business' email address to start your completely free trial.
Make sure your email address, Shopify store name, and domain name are all congruent.
Go ahead and answer all through the prompts to enter your online store. It will only take a couple of minutes.
Are you done? If so, click I'm Done.
2. Choose Your Theme
Once you're done, your store dashboard will automatically appear. In it, it will cue you to all of the things you need to set up before launching.
To give your Shopify store a certain look and feel, you would need a bangin' Shopify theme.
Scroll down until you see the "Customize theme" button.
The button brings you to the "Themes" page.
Let's pause here. Before you go through committing to a theme, there are things you need to consider.
What Should You Consider When Choosing A Shopify Theme?
- Budget: Shopify offers both free themes and premium themes. If you're starting out, go with a free theme. If you want to set up a unique brand and a premium Shopify store, go with a premium theme.
- Features And Functionality: What features would I need? Do I want a live chat feature? What about conversion boosters? Premium themes have more customization options and tools.
- Support From Developers: Are the developers available if a problem comes up?
- Niche And Product: Does the theme fit my industry? Can it handle my catalog size?
- User Experience: Is the theme easy to navigate? Is it responsive on mobile devices? How about its load speed?
Choosing a pretty Shopify theme is all well and good.
But there's more to it than the Shopify front end.
Your theme should be able to handle the Shopify backend, too.
Tip: If you are an ecommerce startup, you can choose a free theme at the beginning. But as you grow your own online store, you'll be needing more features. That's why you may need upgrade to premium themes.
Save your time from going through hundreds of themes and choose the highest converting Shopify theme.
Debutify is more than a theme. It optimizes beyond the "look and feels" of your online store — it also optimizes your revenue. With over 50+ Add-Ons, Debutify helps shoot up your conversions, drives your AOV, and skyrockets your profits.
How awesome is that?
After all, your ultimate goal is to build a high-converting online store.
And Debutify gives you everything you need to start, optimize and scale your profitable online store.
Still doubtful? Why not take it from the 381,561+ brands that trust Debutify?
Install and Customize Debutify Theme
Go over to Debutify.com and click on Try Debutify Free.
Fill in your name and business email address. Once you're done, it's going to ask for your Shopify store name.
Debutify will automatically direct you to your store dashboard. Simply click "Install unlisted app."
Now that you've downloaded Debutify, go over to the left part of the dashboard and select Theme Library. Then click on Add to theme library.
I know that's a lot to take in, but bear with me...
You can now customize your Shopify store to your heart's desire.
Select the Customize theme button. You are now on Debutify's Home page.
The home page is easy to navigate. That way, you can smoothly customize your online store.
Tip: Click on Theme settings and change the look of your ecommerce store. BUT keep your page congruent. That means all your font, brand color, and ecommerce logo are all in sync with each other. All of these create a profitable online store so aesthetically pleasing, your new customers won't wanna leave. Add your personality to it!
Now that you have your theme installed, it's best to utilize Debutify to its fullest potential.
You're going to activate Add-Ons.
Build On Debutify's Conversion-Boosting Add-Ons
What are Debutify's Add-Ons, you ask? They are apps built for Shopify stores. Handpicked by a team of expert developers, they are in-house Conversion Specialists.
They are also tailored for the Debutify ecosystem. That means they don't affect loading speed... even if you activate them all.
And setting it up is also hassle-free!
Here's a quick and easy rundown:
- Go back to the Shopify dashboard.
- Go to Apps, then select Debutify.
- Click Install Add-Ons.
- On the Add-Ons tab, you'll see all of the Add-Ons you can connect to your Shopify store.
The fully-optimized apps are there to maximize your site's speed and conversion.
You can pick and choose from five major enhancers. Cart maximizers, conversion triggers, loyalty builders, shopping enhancers, and shop protectors exist.
Amazing, isn't it? It's like being a kid again in a candy store! But this time, no cavities, just sales, and conversions. 😉
It's now time to...
3. Add Your Products
You are now about to take on the center stage of your ecommerce store.
This section will make sure that it showcases your product inventory. How?
It will show all the specifications your customers need when deciding what to buy. This includes price, features, reviews, etc.
Let's start with clicking on Products on your Shopify dashboard.
Then select Add product.
Now you'll need to put in details about your products. There are two aspects you need to focus on to optimize your online store:
4. Write Product Description
Writing a compelling product description is crucial. That includes your product's name and URL.
Product descriptions not only educate your customers about your product; they can also build trust and make them stay longer on your online store.
So, how do you write an epic product description that sells? Yours should be:
- Original and easy to read.
- Zeroes in on the benefits of your products.
- Reflects your online store's niche.
- Uses a natural and conversational tone.
- Shopify SEO friendly. Hint: Don't forget to add meta descriptions!
Tip: Keep your body text minimal and readable. Make the font on 18px. Use fonts such as Georgia and Baskerville.
5. Upload Product Images
We, humans, are visual creatures. Visual cues evoke emotion in us. Make sure that the visuals you use stand out to push that sale.
How do you create the best product images? Make it a point that your pictures have these qualities:
- In high definition quality. Use pure white backgrounds. Don't put in extra texts or watermarks, either. It should be well-lit and in focus.
- In the correct format. For a multicolor product, consider PNG format. You can adjust the file size with a JPEG/JPG format. GIFs are suitable for products that involve motion.
- In multiple angles. Get various shots of your products. Thus, your customers can very well visualize themselves using your product.
- Can be zoomed. Close-up images bring your product's detail to focus. Especially for short-sighted people.
- Have proper thumbnails. Even though thumbnails are small, they're the first view your new customers have. Select the photo that has the most clarity.
Finally, use Debutify's add-on Product Tab. It gives you the ability to zoom, scroll through slides, etc.
You'll also have the ability to organize your product bullet points. Want more?
Easily format all your product images into the same ratio with the Product image crop.
Once you have set up your Shopify front end, then it's time to get paid.
6. Set Your Payment Gateway
When checking out on your online store, your customer will choose how they want to pay.
A payment provider system enables your customers to transact with your ecommerce business.
Basically, it's what captures their payment.
Check if you are eligible for Shopify Payments. If not, there are a lot of ways your customers can pay.
These methods are via:
- Amazon Pay
- Apple Pay
To see other available payment gateways in your country, check out Shopify's list.
On your Debutify Training Courses, you can learn how to set up your payment processors. Click on Beginner Shopify Course > Payment Gateways.
7. Map Out Shipping Strategy and Tax Settings
Go over your Shipping page, too.
Head over to Settings > Shipping, then Manage rates. Create two available shipping rates. The first one is the standard rate. The second one would be free shipping.
A part of a high-converting business is to motivate customers to buy above a specific price point. Free shipping will do just that.
So, go through the following steps and set everything up:
- Select Add Rate.
- A pop-up window will appear; just check Set up your own rates.
- On the rate name box, type in Standard Shipping. Set the appropriate rates for differing zones.
- Put your product's price on the Price box.
- Click Add Conditions. Hit Based on order price.
- Enter 0 for a minimum price, and the product's price on the maximum price.
For Free Shipping, repeat the steps but change your Price to 0. On the conditions, your Minimum Price should be equal to the maximum price of your Standard Shipping. Leave the Maximum price blank.
Then hit Save.
Next up? Taxes.
Talking about taxes can bring a shiver up one's spine.
Why wouldn't it? The law is always subject to change and differs depending on where you are located.
You need to set the seal on the legal and taxes section of your ecommerce business.
The best way to go by is to consult professional counsel. Doing so will guarantee that you dotted the i's and crossed the t's.
8. Create Other Pages
It's time to fill in the blanks (on your ecommerce website). Putting in the necessary pages will make your online store more professional. Who wouldn't want that?
Go to your menu on your left. Under Sales Channels, select Online Store, then Pages. Click on Add Page.
Go ahead and set up your:
"Contact Us" Page
Your target customers need a reliable way of communicating with you. Especially when they need assistance in case something's in trouble.
Type "Contact Us" in the Title Box. Select page.contact under the Template suffix. Then, click Save.
"About Us" Page
You can't connect with your customers without introducing yourself, can you? It's another way of selling your brand.
Put in your details such as:
- What is your mission?
- What is your vision?
- What do your customers gain when they shop with you?
To give you a better idea, check out BLK & BOLD's About Us page.
Notice how it discusses all the essential aspects: their mission, vision, and cause. It's also customized to fit their niche. Don't be afraid, be honest in telling your story!
Who doesn't want to have their curiosity quenched? Especially if it's something they're putting their money on.
A Frequently Asked Questions page will solve that.
On your FAQ page, answer all the common inquiries your customers ask. For example, they may ask about shipping time, cost, tracking, refund policy, etc.
On the Title Box, enter Frequently Asked Questions. Choose "page" for the template.
Your FAQ page should be easy to navigate. All questions are on one page for easy access. It should look something like this:
There you have it! All you have to do is to organize your pages in your navigation menu.
9. Add Pages in Navigation Menu
Make your identity visible! Putting it all in on the navigation menu will give your customers access to everything.
Under Sales Channels, go to Online Store, then click Navigation. Choose Main Menu.
Select Add menu item. Click the Link field, then Pages. Finally, select Contact Us.
Rinse and repeat with the other pages.
10. Take Your Website For A Test Drive
You need to ensure that your customer's shopping experience is smooth.
How do you go by ensuring a snag-free process?
Well, you can test it yourself!
Keep reading to learn how.
Test Payment Process
Shopify allows you to do a Test Order. Use Shopify's Bogus Gateway, so you don't have to use a real payment provider.
Here is how you do it:
- Go to your Shopify dashboard, then to Settings. Hit Payments.
- Deactivate your payment gateway. Go to Manage, then select Deactivate.
- On the Third-party provider's section, select third-party provider.
- Under the third-party provider, hit Bogus Gateway. Then activate. If you've used it before, choose Reactivate.
- Go through your ecommerce website just like your customers would.
- When you get to the credit card checkout, enter "Bogus Gateway" on the card name.
- For the card number, enter 1 to replicate a successful payment. Enter 2 for a failed payment, or 3 to simulate exceptions.
Once you are done, go back to Manage beside Bogus Gateway, then Deactivate.
To make sure that all goes well, ask yourself when going through the process:
- Do the shipping rates correctly appear?
- Can you change the products in your cart?
- Are discount codes properly applied?
- Is there an email notification about the purchase?
- Is there an option for order tracking?
If you would like to go through the actual experience, you can test the real thing, too.
Just don't forget to cancel the order instantly. You'll avoid the transaction fees that way.
Audit Your Content
Lastly, review everything from the top.
Because who doesn't get annoyed with misspellings, incorrect grammar, and links that go nowhere?
That's why it's crucial to spot errors in your content.
Also, make sure that your product copy and everything else in between has the same tone.
Your tone should blend well with your brand.
Also, Check your tech!
Are all your links working? Remove broken links.
Open your ecommerce site on a smartphone. Is it responsive?
Open it on different web browsers. Is your online store universal?
Congratulations! Your ecommerce store is now ready to launch!
There's only one thing left to do.
Head on over to the next section on how to drive traffic to your Shopify store.
Market Your Ecommerce Business
You've worked hard and very well with the planning and setting up. Now that your online store is reaady to launch, it's time to drive traffic into it.
It's now time to bring your ecommerce business to the world.
Just like setting up your online store, creating a marketing plan is essential.
Ultimately, victory loves preparation.
Creating a digital marketing plan is essential to reaching your business goals. Since your business is online, a strong digital marketing plan helps boost your brand awareness.
Once you stand out in your industry, sales will follow.
Well done! You Are Now Primed To Run Your Ecommerce Store!
Here is a summary of everything you've learned in this guide. Use it as a checklist as you go through your ecommerce journey.
- Choose what product you want to sell online
- Select and research your niche
- Create your business plan
- Decide on your brand name and ecommerce logo
- Pick an ecommerce platform
- Set up your Shopify store
- Download the highest converting Shopify theme
- Add your products and product descriptions
- Set up your payment gateway
- Create other pages
- Test your online store
- Market your ecommerce business
You now have the expertise on how to build a high-converting ecommerce business... from scratch!
The process can be terrifying, but you finishing this guide means you are determined.
Just keep on learning each step and adapt as you see fit.
Remember, Rome was not built in a day. It took a long time of laying brick after brick to build something great and long-lasting.
Similarly, it takes time and hard work to create a successful online business you can be proud of.
And as always, do as Yoda says: Do or do not, there is no try.
Whether you are an entrepreneur building from scratch or a savvy businessperson wanting to improve your store, now is the time. There is no better time than today to begin.