Have you always dreamed of being your own boss? Or maybe you like the idea of a side hustle that brings in extra income?
Starting an online store is a perfect way to do that.
Not only will you earn more money, but you’ll also have a safety net in case of downturns. And the good news is that ecommerce is booming. Current data predicts ecommerce will grow to $4.2 billion in 2020, making up 16% of all retail sales.
For some people, the idea of starting an online store is overwhelming. They’re intimidated by the technical jargon, and they get bogged down in details like domain registration and web design.
Luckily, there’s a good workaround: Wix.
With its pre-designed templates and user-friendly drag and drop features, Wix lets you get your online shop set up and selling faster than you thought possible.
Here’s a step by step guide to help you get your Wix ecommerce store online today.
Step 1: Get a Wix Account
Your first step is to open a Wix account, which involves nothing more than visiting the Wix site and clicking “get started.” From there, Wix will prompt you to pick a username and password, just as you would for any other website.
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 Wix account. While personal Wix sites are free, Wix charges a monthly fee for ecommerce stores.
Step 2: Create a Wix Store
Once you have a Wix account, your next step is to add a Wix store. Upgrade to a paid plan to do this.
There are four tiers of premium plans:
- Business Basic – $23 per month
- Business Unlimited – $27 per month
- Business VP – $49 per month
- Enterprise – $500 per month
According to Wix, the Business Unlimited plan is its most popular option. This plan gets you additional storage and video hours compared to the Business Basic plan, and you also get a professional logo and social media logo files. For an extra $4 per month, it’s probably worth paying for the extra storage so you can add more products.
With all premium plans, you get some pretty powerful features. With your Wix store, you can track orders, accept payments, create promotions, take care of tax details, and manage shipping — all within the Wix ecommerce platform.
If you’re adding a store to your existing Wix website, you can set up your store by going to the Editor. From there, check out the left side of the Editor, where you should see an “add +” button. Select “store” and then click “add to site.” This should make a new button labeled “my stores” appear. This is what you want to click to start setting up your store.
If you don’t have an existing Wix site, the setup is even easier. Just purchase a premium plan and then move to Step 3: Choose a Template.
Step 3: Choose a Template
If you’ve hesitated to start an ecommerce store because you worried about learning code or hiring an expensive web designer, don’t worry. This is where Wix has you covered. You can choose from hundreds of online store templates with your premium plan.
On the other hand, it’s important to choose a template that best suits your store. Besides the obvious, like picking a design that matches the product or products you sell, you should also pay attention to the layout and navigation.
When selecting a store 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 so you can 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 will shop. Does the template make it easy for them to find products? 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. Find a template that allows you to divide items into different sections.
Look for templates that give you the ability to add product descriptions. This is where you can enter keywords to help drive traffic to your store.
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 prompt them to stay and look around a while.
Keep in mind that Wix store templates are customizable. This means you can change things like the font, colors, and even the placement of certain modules, which is where Wix’s drag and drop features come in. This way, you can make a template your own.
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.
Wix website builder allows you to customize the template to fit your preferences. You can choose different colors, switch up backgrounds, add a personal logo, swap out fonts, and drag and drop various modules into different spots.
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 make an easy transition to mobile view.
Why? Consider the following stats about mobile shopping in 2019:
- 40 percent of Black Friday sales took place on mobile devices
- On Cyber Monday, $9.2 billion in retail sales were generated from mobile
- 54 percent of online retailer visits on Cyber Monday came from a mobile device
- 33 percent of Cyber Monday shoppers made purchases from a mobile device, which was a 40 percent increase from 2018
That’s why it’s crucial for your ecommerce site to be optimized for mobile.
Check your template on both a desktop browser and your phone so you can see how it looks on both. With the Wix website builder, you can modify your desktop and mobile versions independently, which lets you make changes to one without affecting the other.
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.