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$800,000 in a single month is a life changing amount of money.
Not to mention $30 million in one year. Which… is exactly what Leesa mattress did in their first full month and year selling online. And you want to know a secret? The team behind Leesa are normal people, just like you.
When you combine a well-designed ecommerce website with world-class products, you have a recipe for unprecedented online success.
However, their success story started with an online store. And that’s where yours starts, too.
If you’re anything like we were at the beginning of our entrepreneurial journeys, the idea of starting an online store is overwhelming, to say the least.
Luckily it’s a lot easier than it sounds, thanks to Wix. It’s the most intuitive, affordable, and customizable drag-and-drop website builder on the market.
Simpy put, if you can imagine it, you can build it on their platform.
And if you’re not sure how to get started, don’t worry—you’re in the right place. In this article, I cover everything you need to know to get your online store up and running in no time.
Let’s get started!
Step 1: Create a Wix Account
The first thing you need to do is open a Wix account. Head to the Wix site and click the “Start Selling Now” button.
From there, pick a username and password. And that’s it! You now have a Wix account and you’re ready to start building your online store.
Note: If you have an existing Wix site, you can convert it into a Wix store. However, you’ll need to upgrade to a paid plan if you’re currently using a free account.
Step 2: Create a Wix Store
Once you have an account, you need to add a Wix store. You have to upgrade to a paid plan to do this, but you can start on the lowest tier and upgrade to a higher plan when you need to.
You have four plans to choose from, including:
- Basic – $23 per month
- Unlimited – $27 per month
- VP – $49 per month
- Enterprise – $500 per month
Just make sure to choose a “business & eCommerce” plan because “website” plans don’t include ecommerce functionality.
Wix’s premium plans come with a suite of powerful ecommerce features, including the ability to do things like:
- Track orders
- Accept payments
- Create promotions
- Handle tax details
- Manage shipping
All from one centralized location. It includes everything you need to get started, scale, and write your own 8-figure success story.
Note: If you’re adding a store to your existing Wix website, you can set it up by going to the editor. From there, you should see an “add +” button on the left side of your screen. Click that and select “store”. Then click “add to site.”
Now, you should have a new “My Stores” button. You can click that new button to start setting up your store.
Once you upgrade to a paid plan (or add a store to your existing site), you’re ready to move on to the next step.
Step 3: Choose a Template
With Wix, you don’t have to worry about learning code or hiring an expensive web designer to create a professionally designed online store.
Instead, you can choose from hundreds of beautifully designed store templates. And the best part?
All of them are free with your premium plan.
However, it’s important to choose a template that suits your store. So, pay close attention to the overall layout, navigation, and functionality of each theme.
When choosing a template, keep the following in mind:
- Are your products best displayed as static pictures? Or is it better to have videos so buyers can see how a product works?
- Do you need a lot of gallery space to display the same product in several different patterns or colors? Some templates include this capability, while others don’t.
- Is it easier to choose a template that gives you a lot of easy navigation features? Think about how customers shop. Does the template make it easy to find what they’re looking for? This is especially important if you sell more than one category of goods, such as shirts and hats or men’s and women’s clothing.
Also, pay attention to the homepage design. As the saying goes, you only get one chance to make a first impression. When someone visits your store, you want the homepage to encourage them to stay and look around.
With that said, you can always customize any template you choose to your heart’s desire at any time with Wix’s drag-and-drop page builder.
You can move things around, change colors, update fonts, etc. But you can’t choose a new template later on. So, take the time to look through everything and pick the right one.
Step 4: Personalize Your Store
Wix gives you the ability to personalize your store, and — good news — you don’t need to know code to do it.
You can choose different colors, switch up backgrounds, add a personal logo, swap out fonts, and drag and drop various content blocks wherever you want.
As you make changes, it’s a good idea to continuously refresh your preview pane so you can see how they look. You should also make sure your template and any design changes look great on mobile, too.
Continuously check your template on both a desktop browser and your phone so you can see how it looks across devices. And keep in mind that you can modify desktop and mobile views independently.
So, you can make changes to one without it affecting the other.
When you’re done customizing everything to match your brand, you’re ready to start adding products to your online store.
Step 5: Add Products
Now comes the fun part: stocking your store’s virtual shelves. You can do this in a few easy steps.
- First, start by going to the “products” tab in the dashboard
- Then click “new product”
- Choose “physical”
- Add a product image or video. You can also add a GIF
- Once you’ve selected the image you want, click “upload media”
- Select “add to page”
Once that’s done, you’ll also want to add a product description or product information so your customers have the info they need about the item. Here’s a quick way to make this happen.
- Go to the “name” field and enter a name for your product
- You can also add a “ribbon” to the product if you choose. For example, add a ribbon to indicate a clearance item or a new arrival
- Go the the “price” field and enter the price
- If the item is on sale, you can click “on sale” and then include a discount price so both the original price and the discounted price show up
- Lastly, go to the “description” field and enter a description
Wix gives you 8,000 characters for each description, so take advantage of them. Generally, the more information you include, the better it is for your shoppers. Try to anticipate questions they might have. For example, if you’re selling T-shirts, include sizing information, washing instructions, and general fit information.
You can also use this section to have Wix keep track of your inventory. To do this, find the “inventory” toggle and make sure it’s set to “on.” You can enter an actual number or a SKU in this section.
Step 6: Create Collections
Many ecommerce stores sell a variety of different products. For example, a store might sell clothing for kids or women’s accessories. To make it easier for customers to shop for specific items, Wix lets you organize your offerings into “collections.”
You might wonder why you can’t just make one big store with all your products on a single page. While this might seem easier as far as setup goes, it can be a nightmare for your customers.
Think about the last time you shopped in a big box store. No matter which store you visit, the products are organized into sections. The toothbrushes are next to the toothpaste and the mouthwash, while automotive parts are by the tires and car batteries.
In other words, the store’s various products are grouped into “collections” to make shopping an easier and faster experience.
To add a product to a collection, complete the following steps:
- Start at the dashboard
- Click “store product”
- Click “collections”
- Find the collection you want
- Click “add products”
- Choose the products you want to include in the collection
- Click “save”
It’s that easy. You can add as many collections as you want, but it’s generally best to keep the number of collections to a minimum. Otherwise, they can overwhelm your customers.
For example, the big box store you visited probably groups all children’s clothing into one section rather than breaking it down into a socks collection, pants collection, and shirt collection. Instead, the collection includes all the clothing a child would wear.
Step 7: Choose Your Store Name
Maybe you already have a store name in mind. If so, congratulations. You’ve taken care of an important step that many people find challenging.
If you haven’t chosen a name, now is the time to pick something that makes your store stand out in a crowd. It’s not necessarily an easy task, and many people struggle with this step.
If you’re unsure about what to pick, start with brainstorming. Write down every idea that pops into your head, even if it seems silly at the time. Think about what you sell or the image you want to convey.
For example, is your store light and airy? Or is it high-end and sophisticated? What types of products do you sell? If you sell children’s clothing, you might want to go with something fun and colorful. On the other hand, stores that sell books might want to focus on something that evokes literary images or emotions.
To get ideas, check out existing stores that sell products similar to yours. If you’re a bookseller, look at independent bookstores online. What kinds of names do they have? Does the word “book” appear in their store name? If they’re in a niche market, such as mysteries and thrillers, does their store name indicate that?
Sometimes, a store name has nothing to do with the products the store sells. While this might be okay for a well-established company, such as Sony or Target, it might not work as well for your startup ecommerce store. You want to make it easy for people to connect your store’s name with the products you sell.
When you’ve found a name that works, don’t forget to update your store’s settings to show the new name. To find the settings, go to the “general” tab in the dashboard. From there, click “settings” and then click “store settings.”
Step 8: Set Up Payment Methods
So your store is set up and products are stocked. Now you want to include payment options so your customers can actually pay you for the products they buy.
Fortunately, Wix includes multiple payment capabilities. Generally, you want to make it as painless as possible for people to tender payment. Options like PayPal, Apple Pay, and Stripe make this hassle-free, and you can select any or all of these from the Wix dashboard.
These payment methods also include integrated security features that protect both you and your customers. When you run an ecommerce store, disputes are part of doing business. By choosing payment options that include encryption and in-house dispute resolution, you can ensure both sides of the transaction have access to support if you need it.
Step 9: Choose Shipping and Tax Settings
Once your customer makes a purchase, it’s on you to ensure their item reaches them safely and promptly. Keep in mind that online consumers have become accustomed to lightning fast shipping times, as well as free shipping. Big names like Amazon and Target routinely offer two-day shipping and free shipping.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you have to do the same. On the other hand, you risk losing customers if you have slow shipping times or expensive shipping rates.
You can set up your shipping rates and times inside your Wix dashboard, which gives you flexibility with respect to fees, discounts, flat rates, and free shipping. For example, you might need to charge more to ship overseas or outside the lower 48 states. With Wix, you can set up different shipping rules for various destinations.
You can also select which carriers you want to use, whether it’s the U.S. Postal Service or a carrier like FedEx or UPS.
You’ll also want to pay careful attention to the tax rules for your location and possibly the locations of your customers. While there is no national sales tax in the U.S., 48 states and the District of Columbia collect sales tax on retail sales. Wix recommends checking with an accountant before adding your store’s tax settings. When you’re ready, you might need to set up sales tax manually for each state in your settings.
Step 10: Link Your Domain
With a Wix premium plan, you can link your store to your own domain. For example, if you have your own website, you can easily link your Wix store to your existing site and then add a “shop” tab to your website’s main menu. You can even do this if your domain is hosted elsewhere.
To link your store to your domain, start by doing the following:
- From your Wix account, go to the “domains” page
- Select “connect a domain you already own”
- Choose the store you want to connect and click “next”
- Type your domain name and click “next”
From here, you’ll need to visit the site where your domain is hosted. For example, this might be GoDaddy or Bluehost. Once you’re logged into your account, follow the directions to update your domain’s name server settings. You might need to contact your hosting site’s support team to get specific instructions for changing these settings.
Once you’ve changed the settings, return to your Wix account’s domain page and click “verify connection” to make sure everything linked correctly.
Step 11: Review Your Online Store
Before you launch your new store into the world, you want to make sure it’s functioning properly and that all of your links are working.
It may seem tedious, but take time to check each and every product. Make sure the images are showing up and that every link is active. Do a test run by making a small purchase to ensure payments are processing correctly.
You should also consider having a friend visit your store and provide a critique. Ask them to point out anything that’s confusing or difficult to navigate. Now is your chance to update your settings and make changes before you advertise.
Step 12: Connect Analytics
If you have an existing website, you might already be familiar with analytics, such as Google Analytics. These are tools that let you see what kind of traffic your site is getting, including where it’s from in the world and how long visitors stay on certain pages.
With Wix, you can do the same thing with your store. Analytics are particularly important for ecommerce, as they give you insight into things like how product pages are performing, where most of your customers come from, how long they stay on a page, and how many clicks convert to sales. You can also track how many customers add items to a cart without making a purchase.
How to get your first sale
The whole point of an online store is to generate sales. Nothing is more exciting than launching your store and seeing those first sales come through. Understandably, you want to make this happen right away.
Unless you’re very lucky, however, you probably won’t generate much traffic without advertising. There are more than 20 million ecommerce sites in the world. To stand out, you need to let people know you’re there.
On the other hand, you might not have a marketing budget if you’re just starting out. This is where you can tap into free marketing opportunities to spread the word about your store.
For this, social media can be a great resource. Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are free to join, and you can start marketing your business right away.
For ecommerce, Instagram’s platform is already set up to showcase products. While it got its start as a site for sharing personal photos, millions of brands have paired with influencers to sell products. If you don’t have the funds to partner with influencers, you can showcase images of your products and include links to your store in your bio by using free resources like Tap Bio.
Also, don’t be afraid to think outside the social box a bit. For example, sites like Reddit have built-in communities in just about every niche imaginable. This is how the founder of beard care products company Beardbrand got free tips and feedback about his new business. By posting in the Reddit Entrepreneur subreddit, he generated interest in his shop and connected with other entrepreneurs willing to spread the word about his business.
Finally, don’t be afraid to take advantage of other free advertising opportunities, including classified ads. Sites like Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist may seem a little old school, but they can be a great place to reach customers without spending a dime.
At the end of the day, creativity and hard work can help you get that first sale. From there, customer reviews and word of mouth can continue to drive traffic to your store.