how to set up an ecommerce store

How To Start An E-Commerce Site

Our Business Advisor, Susan George, is a highly effective economic development professional with extensive senior management experience in both the private and public sector. We wanted to make the most of Susan’s wealth of experience and she hints and tips on relevant topics throughout the year.

We asked Susan:


Question – How Do I Start An E-Commerce Site?

Starting an ecommerce store or adding one to your existing business is a great way to add an extra income stream.

It’s great that there is so much information available online if you want to set up your own store and equally lots of experts that can create one up for you.

Create Your Own Site

Setting up your own site can be cheaper to start with but it can be frustrating if you are not tech savvy. However, building your own site gives you complete control and most ecommerce platforms provide you with a free trial to get you started.

Hire An Expert

Equally, you may be tempted to hire a professional and concentrate on the parts of your business you do enjoy and are good at. The downside is that this can cost thousands and not end up being exactly what you want. But it will remove any tech frustrations and you will have a great looking site.

Before you decide either way there are a few things you need to think about.

Planning Your Site

  • Target Audience

    Understand your target market, their preferences, and shopping habits. Tailor your store’s design, product selection, and marketing strategies to appeal to your audience.

  • Product Selection

    Choose products that have demand in the market and align with your target audience’s interests. Consider factors like profitability, uniqueness, and competition when selecting products to sell.

  • Platform Selection

    Select a reliable ecommerce platform that suits your needs and budget. Popular options include Shopify, WooCommerce, Magento, and BigCommerce. Consider factors like ease of use, scalability, customisation options, and transaction fees.

  • User Experience (UX)

    Design your ecommerce store with a focus on providing a seamless and intuitive user experience. Optimise page loading speed, navigation, mobile responsiveness, and checkout process to minimise friction and maximise conversions.

  • Website Design

    Create a visually appealing and professional-looking website that reflects your brand identity. Use high-quality images, clear product descriptions, and intuitive navigation to engage visitors and encourage them to explore your products.

  • Payment Gateway

    Offer a variety of secure and convenient payment options to accommodate different customer preferences. Integrate trusted payment gateways like PayPal, Stripe, and Square to facilitate smooth transactions and build trust with customers.

  • Shipping and Fulfillment

    Develop a reliable shipping and fulfillment strategy to ensure timely delivery and customer satisfaction. Consider factors like shipping rates, delivery times, packaging, and tracking options to provide a positive shipping experience for your customers.

  • Customer Support

    Provide excellent customer support to address inquiries, resolve issues, and build trust with your customers. Offer multiple channels for customer communication, such as email, live chat, and phone support, and strive to respond promptly to customer queries and concerns.

  • Marketing and Promotion

    Develop a comprehensive marketing strategy to drive traffic to your ecommerce store and increase sales. Utilise various digital marketing channels, such as social media, email marketing, search engine optimisation (SEO), and paid advertising, to reach your target audience and promote your products effectively.

  • Analytics and Optimisation

    Monitor key performance metrics, such as website traffic, conversion rates, drop offs and sales data, using analytics tools like Google Analytics. Use insights from data analysis to identify areas for improvement and optimise your ecommerce store for better performance and profitability over time.

You don’t have to do all of the above yourself, you may choose to do the bits you can and do enjoy and then hire experts to do the rest.

The best way to find experts is to utilise your network and ask who they have used and join the Enterprise Club to network and collaborate with other business owners.