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HOW TO CREATE AN ONLINE STORE?

HOW TO CREATE AN ONLINE STORE?
Creating an online store to earn money becomes within reach of most people, before creating an online store you had to know how to develop, now with turnkey sites or CMS (we will return to this later) you can easily launch yourself. However, to stand out from the competition you must have a professional site because as I just said above the competition is raging. Launching a website is not enough if you want it to work, you have to respect certain steps before and during the launch. In this article, I will explain to you step by step how to create a professional website and how to get your first sales.

Today there are more than 204,000 eCommerce sites in France

Creating an online store to earn money becomes within reach of most people, before creating an online store you had to know how to develop, now with turnkey sites or CMS (we will return to this later) you can easily launch yourself.

However, to stand out from the competition you must have a professional site because as I just said above the competition is raging. Launching a website is not enough if you want it to work, you have to respect certain steps before and during the launch.

In this article, I will explain to you step by step how to create a professional website and how to get your first sales.

Step 1: Register as a business before launching your online store

It is a step neglected by many, when you want to be a professional it is necessary to be real and it passes by the creation of a company. At first, as a micro-entrepreneur (ex-auto entrepreneur) I have written an article that helps you to become a micro-entrepreneur, I invite you to read it.

Legally you have to register from the first sale, you don’t have an amount for which you are not taxable, from the first euro you are taxable.

By having a siret number (free registration in microenterprise) you will be better seen by your future providers, suppliers. Especially you avoid problems with taxes, which can become dramatic for your business. Once you are registered, you will have to choose which solution you wish to opt for.

Step 2: Choose the e-commerce platform on which you will create your website

If you have arrived on this site, it is because you have already had to learn a lot about commerce platforms, you have surely heard about Prestashop, Shopify, WordPress with Woocomerce, WiziShop, Magento… And you don’t know which one to choose! Except for Magento which is dedicated to large-scale websites, the 4 others are equal.

For you to choose between the platforms you need to understand the difference between CMS and turnkey software.

Turnkey eCommerce Solution

This type of hosted eCommerce solution is often easier to install, everything is done to simplify your life. No need for technical knowledge to install an online store, in return these solutions take a subscription coupled with a commission on sales.

These solutions host the sites of its customers you are not totally the owner of your site.

You have telephone and e-mail support in case of a problem with your site. Finally, to make your store professional you can buy themes (the skin of your site) and modules to add new features.

Ecommerce CMS solution

With this type of solution, you have access to the technology for free (in theory) you can use the site for free, but if you want a site with a nice design you will have to buy a theme and you will also have to buy “modules”. Tools that will be added to your site to add new features.

The installation requires more technical skills

Nothing insurmountable in short, but you must install the solution on a host that you have previously purchased. Prestashop does not take care of the installation, nor of the configuration and if you have any problem you will have to call upon the community via the forums.

The solution is free to access in return, in case of a problem you will have to try to solve things by yourself.

There is no ultimate eCommerce solution

It will depend on your expectations, your level of competence, the money you have to start.

But here are some tips to help you choose.

I advise you to choose a turnkey e-business solution if:

  • You don’t have a budget dedicated to the creation of your website, these solutions will allow you to start at a lower cost, at least at the beginning
  • You don’t want to or you don’t have the skills to take a host, install, and configure a site like Prestashop
  • You want to test a business idea quickly
  • You don’t want to manage your hosting daily or the problems you may encounter on your website
  • For you, it is essential to have a customer service.

I advise you to choose an eCommerce CMS solution if:

  • You want to own your site
  • You have more technical knowledge than the average
  • You are used to this type of solution
  • You wish to pay in one shot (once) your site and not to have subscription and commission on the sales (on the medium term they are substantial savings)
  • You wish to be helped by a large French-speaking communityYou wish to have tools more adapted to the French market.

You see that depending on your needs you can choose such or such type of solution, I would tend to tell you that if you are a novice in the creation of an eCommerce store rather prefer a turnkey solution like Shopify. On the other hand, if you are more experienced, choose a CMS solution like PrestaShop.

Once you have chosen your solution you need to take a domain name and a host.

Step 3: Find a domain name/host

With the turnkey solution, the eCommerce platform hosts the site you do not care about, however, you can choose to take your host either with the platform or with a registrar like OVH or 1and1 for example.

I advise you to opt for the second solution because you have at least the impression that the domain name is yours it will require a small manipulation to do but most of these platforms have foreseen the blow and have set up tutorials to help their users.

In the case of the CMS eCommerce platform you have to install and configure your own sales site and again the hosting companies have simplified this process. Now in one click, you can install WordPress, Prestashop, or Magento.

There is still a minimum of things to do, this is where the novice can be lost.

For me who is used to launch websites it seems simple but when you don’t know much about it it can quickly become complicated. I have spent nights installing Prestashop, trying to get my site back up and running because I made a mistake and it is no longer accessible.

For those who are looking for it, it’s not an impossible thing, far from it, and you have a lot of tutorials online that explain how to install the solution you choose.

Once again, the choice of your solution will determine the configuration of web hosting or not.

Choice of the domain name

You have 2 possibilities, either choose an EMD (exact match domain), or a brand name, let’s imagine that you want to sell straightening brushes with an EMD you will call your site “brosse-lissante.fr” why do that? It’s for SEO (I’ll explain in more detail in a future article), while with a brand name you will rather call your site “babyliss.fr” than yes the brand already exists but you understand the principle.

If your site has a purely SEO vocation you can choose an EMD but if you are aiming for the long term you should choose a domain name with a brand.

An example of a site that was launched with the main keyword and then changed is none other than Blablacar, few people know it but before the site was called covoiturage.fr, they ended up changing the name and creating a real brand around the site. So if you have a long-term vision, you should focus on the brand, but if you have a short/medium term vision, you can aim for an EMD.

Choice of accommodation

As I said above with the turnkey eCommerce platforms you don’t need to worry about it but you should know that if the platform has a problem it’s all the sites that are affected. To select your host I advise you to use OVH or 1and1 because they have a lot of tutorials to configure your host and they have reactive support in French.

For the selection of the shared hosting formula, I never take the cheapest one because it is limited in bandwidth (roughly limited in traffic reception), which means that at the end of a moment you will have to change traffic, I often take the basic pro formula it is largely sufficient.

Step 4: Draw up a set of specifications

Once you have completed the steps above you will need to create a specification before creating your site.

What is a specification?

It’s a document that will allow you to frame your e-commerce project: the features, the menu, the competitors, the products you will sell, etc. I found a model of specifications: download specifications eCommerce is according to me the essential step to set up a site that holds the road and your specifications will result, the cost of your site, the actions to be taken to launch your site. And above all, you will have a schedule that you must keep.

Step 5: Create the site model

Once you have defined the menu, the functionalities, you have to make the model of your site. This will allow you to quickly visualize if what you have put on paper is realistic and especially it will help you to choose a theme.

Here is a tool to make the model of your site: mockflow.com.

Step 6: Declare your website to the CNIL

As an eCommerce site, you collect data on your customers, you must therefore declare yourself to the CNIL. To declare yourself to the CNIL you must have a SIRET number, hence once again the usefulness of declaring yourself as a micro-entrepreneur, even before the launch of your online sales site.

As an e-merchant you have legal obligations, I invite you to read this article: legal obligations of the e-merchant.

Step 7: Create the legal notice and terms and conditions

You must have on your site the terms and conditions and legal notices it is a legal obligation. There are on the internet generators of legal notices and GTC, I invite you to type on google generator GTC / legal notices, you just have to fill in all the information, and the site will generate them for you.

How much does it cost to create an ecommerce website?

In my opinion, sites that cost 0€ are not professional. You have to invest a minimum to have a professional site, here is the minimum to pay to have a professional eCommerce site.

Cost of a site with a turnkey ecommerce solution:

  • Purchase of a theme: between 100 and 180$.
  • Logo creation: between 30 and 50€ on 5euros.com
  • Subscription: 29€/month
  • Or about 560€ the first year.

Cost of a site with an ecommerce CMS solution:

  • Domain name/hosting: 80€/year
  • Logo creation: between 30 and 50€ on 5euros.com
  • Purchase of a theme; between 60 and 100€.
  • So about 260€ the first year.

The eCommerce CMS solution costs less than the turnkey solution, in return, it will require more time and knowledge to install and configure its online store. I hope this article will help you to start.

Creating a website is not complicated, but developing it requires time and a lot of patience, this will be the subject of a future article.