It seems everyone is shopping online these days, and so more and more sellers are discovering the difference an online store can make. Maybe you have a product to sell, too, and you're looking for a way to make your sales online with minimum hassle and without using outside services that charge hefty fees and cut into profits. The best option for you is to open your own store. But how?
This guide will help you get started in the world of eCommerce and get your new store up and running, ready for sales. Becoming an online merchant is as easy as following these 10 simple steps. Follow along and learn how to build your online store!
1. Choose what to sell
If you don't already have a product, spend some time figuring out what you'd like to sell. You'd be surprised how versatile an online store can be, so you can sell anything from health supplements to power tools to downloadable eBooks. Everything can be an opportunity, so don't be afraid to choose something you're passionate or optimistic about. If you'd like some more specialized information for different industries, check our directory of How to Build an eCommerce Website articles.
2. Name your store
Come up with a good name for your store. It should reflect your brand in some way, e.g. your products or maybe your company philosophy. Do some online searches to make sure the name you want isn't taken by another company, and keep your desired domain name (web address) in mind as well.
3. Create your 3dcart account
Once you have your store's name and concept in mind, it's time to sign up for 3dcart. Your membership comes with a free domain name registration, so that's one less thing to worry about if you don't already have your URL registered. Choose a 3dcart plan that fits your budget and number of products. You can always move up to the next plan when the sales start rolling in and it's time to grow!
4. Add your products
There are a few ways to add products to your store, depending on how many you have. It's a good idea to first add a product manually in order to get your feet wet and become familiar with all the features. You can continue to add products in this way, but if you have a large number of items you should consider importing them from a spreadsheet. This can be a little intimidating, but instructions are available in the 3dcart Knowledgebase (near the bottom of How Do I Manually Add Products?).
No matter how you choose to add products, you can add product options (like size or color) as needed, and you have unlimited disk space, so feel free to add some beautiful, high-resolution images!
5. Configure store settings
The Store Settings section is where you'll enter the name of your store, slogan (if you have one), logo, and other settings like your contact information and time zone. You can also configure most of your general options here. For a full list, and explanation of each setting, you can refer to What Can I Find in the Store Settings Section? where we have it all laid out for you. You can also use the mouseover help function within the dashboard if you don’t feel like you need much guidance.
6. Configure payment methods
With a 3dcart store you can support any number of over 100 online payment gateways, so your customers can always pay how they want to. You can accept credit cards, PayPal, WorldPay, Pay with Amazon, and more; in total over 100 ready-to-use 3dcart payment solutions. You can also set up traditional methods like Pay by Check or Money Order. If you need help, it's all explained in How Do I Set up my Payment Methods?.
To finish up with your payment configuration, specify your tax rules through the Tax Manager (see How Do I Add Tax to my 3dcart Store?), which lets you set up taxes through a simple interface with no need for math on your part.
7. Configure shipping methods
3dcart supports real-time shipping information from several carriers, both domestic and international. You can configure them in the Shipping Settings, as well as create options for free and flat-fee shipping if those appeal to you. Complete information is available here: How Can I Add a Shipping Method?.
8. Choose a theme
Now that you have the nuts and bolts out of the way, it's time to choose a theme! 3dcart offers over 100 professionally-designed, responsive themes that are optimized for selling, look great on all devices, and can be fully customized. No knowledge of code is needed, as 3dcart has a built-in WYSIWYG theme editor and other simple, configurable options— see How Do I Make Modifications to My Site if I Don't Know HTML? and How Do I Use WYSIWYG?. If you're familiar with HTML and CSS, you can get into the code as well through full FTP access (see What is FTP and How Do I Use It?) to your site's files, including all parts of your theme just ripe for editing.
Another option is to utilize the services of a professional 3dcart designer who can create a unique design perfectly suited to your brand.
9. Create your email accounts
Your 3dcart store comes with the capability to set up your own email accounts under your domain name, which is more professional than using a third party service like Yahoo! or Gmail. You can set up your email using an email client like Microsoft Outlook or Thunderbird, or optionally you can use 3dcart's built-in SmarterMail web interface. Complete information for both options is available on the Email Guide.
10. Go live!
Once you're ready to launch, let 3dcart know it's time to point your domain name at your store. If you already had your domain name before you joined 3dcart, you will need to make this change yourself, but don't worry, it's easy (see How Do I Make the DNS Changes to My (Non-3dcart) Registered Domain?). This will connect your URL so potential customers can find you quickly and easily.
Now is the time to spread the word that your brand new online store is up and running and ready to go! If you have any questions, the 3dcart team is available 24/7 at 1-800-828-6650 to help you reach the success you have dreamed of.