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How to Build an Ecommerce Website From Scratch & Attract Customers

9 min read

We’re in the golden age of online shopping, and if you’re looking for an easy way to get in on the fun, learning how to build an ecommerce website from scratch is a great way to get started.

In this guide, we’ll cover the most important aspects of building an online store, from understanding your market to connecting with customers. In short, everything you need to know to get started.

What We’ll Cover

  • Analyzing your market
  • Picking a sales and marketing approach
  • Building your visual brand
  • Listing your items
  • Promoting your ecommerce site

Plus, we’ll give you a few helpful hints that can make your ecommerce site a success.

How to sell online
Tips from e-commerce experts for small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs.
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Step One: Analyze Your Market

Like any business, your online store will have competitors. That’s why the first step towards making an ecommerce website from scratch is taking time to understand the market you’re entering. How are similar companies selling their products? Are there any trends in your niche that you can capitalize on?

Use these techniques to get a better idea of the field you’re working with:

Check out other online stores

Look at successful businesses in the market and take note of their approach. Learning how other companies sell products online can tell you how and how not to take on your own ecommerce site.

For a lot of solopreneurs, a big part of finding success in their ecommerce website is having a customizable sales platform—so it’s a good idea to find a host (aka the system that you build your website with) that lets you take control of what you’d like to customize, while still offering you support and a streamlined interface.

Consider your customer

Customers are what turn your idea into a money-making venture. Before you start listing your products, consider what your target audience is. Are they young? Old? Where do they live?

If all that sounds confusing, don’t worry. We put together a guide to finding your online target audience. 

Step Two: Develop Your Store’s Brand and Marketing Strategy

Are you fun and casual? Serious and professional? No matter your store’s identity, thinking about your brand will help you develop a custom ecommerce website that connects with your target customer.

To get your brand identity started, think about the most important aspects of your business and how you can translate them visually. Then you’ll have a good jumping-off point for things like a store logo.

Using your brand in online marketing

Developing your brand will also inform your marketing decisions. For example, if your target customer is a teenager and your brand emphasizes that, you might focus on marketing on digital platforms with teen-heavy traffic.

Step Three: List Your Products for Sale

Building an ecommerce website from scratch is all about getting your products in front of shoppers, but actually listing items for sale can be intimidating. Thankfully, selling products online is fundamentally a pretty simple process—and you’ll only need a few things to make your listings.

What you need for online product listings

The exact elements of your product listings will depend on what you’re selling. For example, if you want to sell digital products, like downloads of your art, your product pictures and description will be slightly different from online stores selling physical products. However, the fundamentals will stay the same, and none of it’s too complicated. Here’s what to expect:

Product Photography for Ecommerce Websites

High-quality listings start with high-quality pictures. In fact, some estimates show that over 70% of customers account for product photography when shopping online.

Item Descriptions and Titles for Online Stores

Here’s where you tell the shopper about your product. It’s an opportunity to give your sales pitch, but it’s also an opportunity to get in some keywords that people might search for while shopping online.

How to take good product pictures and write high-quality item descriptions for your online business

So you know that good product photography and engaging descriptions are important, but how do you make sure your listings are high-quality?

Let’s start with product photography. Pictures need two main things: good lighting and professional backgrounds. Now good lighting doesn’t mean you need to buy expensive equipment, and neither does a professional background.

Instead, try shooting in front of a window for some clean daylight. For the background, go with something minimal that doesn’t distract from your product.

When writing product titles and descriptions, incorporate terms online shoppers might use when looking for your product. But don’t go overboard with the keywords. Your first goal should be connecting with the reader and turning their interest into a sale.

Step Three: Promote Your Ecommerce Store

You did it! You learned how to build an ecommerce website from scratch! Now it’s time to connect with customers. After all, what’s an online business without shoppers?

Promoting your ecommerce website online

A good place to start is social media. Since your store is based on the internet, it makes sense to use digital marketing to increase sales. Studies show that platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok are powerful tools for turning browsers into buyers. Known as social commerce, converting social media users into customers can be a valuable part of your business.

In fact, some experts are predicting more than a 30% increase in social commerce sales during 2021. That’s a big opportunity for your ecommerce website.

Promoting your online store in real life

If you already have a brick-and-mortar store and you’re launching an ecommerce website to expand your reach, promoting your new online business in real life can be a great way to get current customers to start using your website.

Try telling in-store shoppers about your new website and including your ecommerce site address on new marketing materials.

If you don’t have a physical store, promoting in-person can still be helpful. Depending on your niche, you might have opportunities to tell local groups about your business. Let’s say you sell hand-made sweaters. In that case, promoting your ecommerce website at a crafting fair could give you more exposure.

How to Get the Most Out of Your Ecommerce Website

Learning how to build an ecommerce website from scratch gives you the exciting opportunity to jump into a growing market, but you need the right tools to maximize your success. Here are three tips for getting the most out of your new online business.

1. Prioritize customer service

We’ve all experienced bad customer support, and it probably didn’t make us enthusiastic about shopping more. Avoid losing customers by answering their questions and giving them an all-around good experience.

2. Think like a customer

Just like giving your customers high-quality support, taking time to consider how they experience your ecommerce website will help ensure your design and branding is user-friendly.

3. Advertise good reviews

If you use Ecwid, you’ll be able to collect customer reviews in one place. You can then use these to your advantage by placing them where potential buyers can see. Ultimately, good reviews are important social proof that can boost sales.

Want to know more? Read on!

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About the author

Max has been working in the ecommerce industry for the last six years helping brands to establish and level-up content marketing and SEO. Despite that, he has experience with entrepreneurship. He is a fiction writer in his free time.

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So simple to use – even my most technophobic clients can manage. Easy to install, quick to set up. Light years ahead of other shop plugins.
I’m so impressed I’ve recommended it to my website clients and am now using it for my own store along with four others for which I webmaster. Beautiful coding, excellent top-notch support, great documentation, fantastic how-to videos. Thank you so much Ecwid, you rock!
I’ve used Ecwid and I love the platform itself. Everything is so simplified it’s insane. I love how you have different options to choose shipping carriers, to be able to put in so many different variants. It’s a pretty open e-commerce gateway.
Easy to use, affordable (and a free option if starting off). Looks professional, many templates to select from. The App is my favorite feature as I can manage my store right from my phone. Highly recommended 👌👍
I like that Ecwid was easy to start and to use. Even for a person like me, without any technical background. Very well written help articles. And the support team is the best for my opinion.
For everything it has to offer, ECWID is incredibly easy to set up. Highly recommend! I did a lot of research and tried about 3 other competitors. Just try ECWID and you'll be online in no time.

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