You must have been there so many times before, wondering where to start. Everything just seems so complicated, requiring some new skills from you. And you are willing to learn, but you are already wearing so many different hats necessary to run your small business. Who has the time, right?! And every time you search the internet to figure out how to start an online store because you know that your brick-and-mortar business would benefit from it, you remain paralyzed. It’s either because you don’t have enough time to deal with it yourself or not enough funds to hire a professional web developer. So you keep postponing it. But now, this new ruler of the world, COVID-19, showed up theatrically and made you realize that no matter what, you have to make this happen and make it happen fast.
The urgency of today’s events and your everyday focus on saving your small enterprise, your livelihood, certainly made you look into the ways that can set up your business to succeed during emergencies. If there is a silver lining to life in quarantine or adjusted hours of operation, it’s that extra time we always crave. Let us help you put your precious minutes to good use and let us show you how to make an online store yourself, for free, overnight. With a simple tool such as Ecwid, you will be able to start selling on your website and even sync it to your in-store POS, such as Clover, using the same merchant account. With no coding knowledge required, start here with this off-the-shelf mobile responsive shopping cart, and test the waters of selling online. With super affordable packages to choose from, you can keep adding features and growing your business by expanding your product catalogue, adding curbside pickup and local delivery, selling on social media and top e-marketplaces, and easily launching your online advertising. E-commerce is here to stay, and this is your time to get started.
Whether you are looking to launch a standalone online shop or to add an online shopping channel to your physical store, as step number one, contact us to set up your merchant account and take care of the payment processing part. Then, keep on reading to find out how to work this shoppable website builder platform. You will love Ecwid! We are THAT certain.
How to Open an Online Store with Ecwid
Unlike many online platforms out there that typically offer a free trial before signing up for a plan, Ecwid provides a free shop builder plan forever. In addition to that, none of Ecwid packages charges setup fees or transaction fees; for somebody who is just starting, cost-saving is not to be neglected. Banking on a free option here, you can build a one-page online shop with up to ten of your products even if you don’t already have a website. A starter site with a web address will be assigned to you, customized to your proud brand and read StoreName.ecwid.com. This highly intuitive e-commerce platform and its beautiful, customizable design tools will guide you step by step and teach you how to create an online store within mere minutes. In a flash, you can upload your product images, describe them, set the basic store details, set the desired shipping option, and hook it up to a payment gateway with the necessary merchant account details with which we will supply you.
And that might be it, but, it’s very likely that you already have your own website or a blog, and that you are looking to add a store feature to it ideally. Well, this is where things get crazy exciting with Ecwid. Adding your newly created online store and a shopping cart solution to your existing website is, as they say on their portal, as easy as “adding a YouTube video.” Ecwid is compatible with so many website platforms, WordPress, Wix, Weebly, to name a few, that a simple plugin will open the very same Ecwid store inside of your website so you can manage it from there as well. Custom-built sites can also use it by simply copying and pasting a line of coding to its back-end.
And just like that, with only a few clicks, your free Ecwid store can be added to an existing website while you keep your domain name. For the sake of trying something new and deciding how you feel about it and how your business will respond, this starting option is great because of its low financial investment, therefore, low risk. And then you can start building up from there.
No Worries with Secure E-commerce
How to start an online store no longer poses a problem – we’ve demonstrated that with Ecwid. But, so much more of the opportunity comes with this tool that it’s worth your every attention. After all, over 1.6 million small businesses across 175 countries have trusted this platform to transform their entrepreneurial dreams into online shops and connect them with the world community. When thinking about doing business online, it must have crossed your mind if your customers’ payment data would be secured. You will be happy to know that Ecwid is also a PCI DSS validated Level 1 Service Provider, representing the highest security standard for e-commerce, so you can put your worries to rest. And they also made it easy to switch between the plans, making them available month-to-month. It is not necessary to go into any long-term commitment to using Ecwid platform, but if you do, their already affordable packages get even more appealing with annual fees. Everything is set up to favour your circumstances and help you out in whatever stage of your small business operation you are now or will be in the future.
Social Media Advertising at your Fingertips
We mentioned at the beginning that your newly created online shop would also be fully optimized for smartphones, no matter the plan. This simply means that without skills and effort from your side, your small e-commerce is m-commerce as well, and you are all set to connect with your customers who are increasingly using their mobile phones to do their shopping. People using mobile phones spend most of their time on social networking sites. Now that you have your little mobile shop all set and ready, you could spread the word about it through those channels. Advertising on social media is a beast on its own if you want to do it right and get results. However, Ecwid makes it easy by taking care of the tracking, analyzing and targeting part for you, enabling you to access this pretty much automated feature, all within your free plan.
With your mobile shop, it’s a breeze to activate automated Google shopping ads, as you really just need to pick the audience and the products from your store to start the campaign. Similarly, on Facebook platforms, Ecwid would turn your store product listing into a professional-looking Facebook ad while helping you find the right audience. Ecwid is also integrated with Pinterest, which is amazing given that fans of Pinterest use this platform to plan their purchases. Shopping is a top activity for 48% of pinners, far ahead of shopping activity measured on any other social media platform. By adding a Pinterest Tag, Ecwid will make sure your promoted pins get in front of the previously engaged store visitors and provide you with clear visibility of how each pin is performing. As you absorb all this, we are guessing that you are quickly bypassing the headache of how to start an online store anticipating learning what else is there. A lot more, friends! A lot more!
Affordable Plans to Support the Growth of Your Small Business
With what we’ve covered so far, plenty is offered for free, plenty to try out and give your online shop a go. As you come to realize that we were so right recommending Ecwid – you’re welcome, by the way – you will want to expand and put out more of your products for the world to see and shop. Plan of US$15 per month will allow you to launch up to a hundred of your products, up to 2500 for US$35, and an unlimited number of products for US$99 per month. With all these paid plans, you can also sell your digital goods with up to 25GB per file. These highly competitive offers are finally something that a lot of small businesses can afford. Added perks that come with these plans will make your business grow like May flowers. Even just one step up from a free plan comes with an abundance of features like gift cards and discount coupons, advanced SEO tools, inventory tracking, live chat, and new attractive channels to collect your revenue.
Selling on Social Media and e-Marketplaces Made Easy
For example, have you ever wondered how to start an online store right there on Facebook and Instagram? Oh, it’s way too easy! All you need to do from your Ecwid dashboard is to connect to your Facebook business page, which happens over approximately five clicks (Yes, we’ve counted!), and your store will be automatically synced to your Facebook shop feature. And just like that, you can start selling directly to over 2 billion Facebook users. Similarly, you can add product tags to your Instagram feed and story posts, and make them shoppable if you connect your Facebook business page to your IG account first. From there, go to your Ecwid dashboard and repeat the same process as you did for Facebook. As one last step, from your mobile phone, you will need to confirm the shopping feature under Settings within your Instagram account. Happy posting and happy selling!
As the plans get more substantial with their offerings, the horizon with Ecwid goes even farther, all the way to the top e-marketplaces like Amazon and e-Bay. Of course, there is an integration to those websites as well, all for your plug-and-play experience! To not repeat the very similar steps, you get the gist that adding that “Buy Now” button to these monster sites is just a few clicks away before you are fully equipped to sell pretty much anywhere! Read up more on all Ecwid goodies right here.
Ecwid is a Great Option for Restaurants too!
With this powerful platform, it is so possible to shift the question from how to start an online store to how to start an online restaurant as well. This is really great news for restaurant owners across Canada as the industry felt an immediate and harsh impact of the health crisis caused by the coronavirus COVID-19. But now there are ways to go about physical distancing and continue accepting orders online while delivering your delicious menu items a bit further than the restaurant tables. Even better news is that this investment wouldn’t be just to mitigate the current events but to set your restaurant business for the future, riding a trend of online food ordering captured long before the pandemic took over.
The restaurant industry is fueled by Millennials who present strong purchasing power in Canada and who like to preview the menu, order their food, and arrange for pick-up or delivery, all online. Ecwid platform is the perfect avenue to quickly set up your online ordering system, following the same steps as one would take to open an online store. But there is more! With Ecwid, you can also have your own mobile app, branded to your business name, so you can totally skip involving the third-party ordering apps and giving them a cut. With zero dollars on transaction fees as per Ecwid shopping cart plans, there goes even more into your pocket. Made for iOS and Android, your app will be available, of course, through the Apple App Store and Google Play. Hey, look who’s suddenly competing against the big guys!
Sell in-store, online and mobile with Clover POS and Ecwid Account
Okay, you are sold on venturing out to the internet, but, does this mean that you’ll have to manage inventory and payment system of your brick-and-mortar establishment separately from your Ecwid shopping cart? Well, it depends. If the POS in your physical store is compatible with Ecwid, everything can be centralized. That’s where we can help you. Now that we have Clover Mini and Clover Flex in Canada, these powerful, smart payment terminals that go beyond accepting payments in-store, on-the-go and virtually, but serve as management tools as well, the possibilities are endless. From our extensive list of products, these are the most popular POS terminals that our merchants praise for their versatility as they are making their small business operations frictionless. And yes, you guessed it, they go hand in hand with Ecwid.
If you don’t have Clover POS in your store, we can equip you with one or two or as many as you need and connect to your Ecwid online account. Related to Clover integration, Ecwid plans are priced slightly differently. Still, you will be able to use in-store POS just as before, and at the same time, utilize all Ecwid online channels, as we explained above. With this new setup, you can have one merchant account to accept payments from in-store and online while your entire inventory is synchronized in real-time and for your convenience, manageable from one place. How to start an online store and have it synced with your physical location will take these steps to make your business modernized and brought up to speed with the latest trends. To get a better idea of costs associated with getting Clover terminals for your store and the price schedule for Ecwid plans that integrate with Clover, reach out to us. Tell us about your business, and we will help you find and realize the best fitting solution for you.
We started telling you a story about how to build an online store overnight, and we hope you’ll have your hands on it in a bit. We also hope that we encouraged you to dream wider, to seize these amazing tools to propel your store or a restaurant as far and as high in the future as possible. Selling simultaneously on multiple sites with centralized management, covering retail as well as online and mobile, while accessing affordable, ready-to-use solutions is a game changer for any small business. Right here, right now, it’s time to make things happen!
Ozrenka (Olja) Blagojevic, Marketing Communications Specialist at MONEXgroup
firstname.lastname@example.org | 866 286 7787 x 240