So you want to start an online store in Canada? Well, there has never been a better time to start an online business. In fact, according to Oberlo, eCommerce sales are expected to make up 17.5% of retail sales worldwide in 2021.
Whether you have a physical store and are looking to expand online, or you’re getting your feet wet in the world of eCommerce with your first ever store, this guide will walk you through how to build a successful online store in Canada.
Find Your Niche
To make money with an online store, you need to sell products that solve a problem or meet your customers’ needs. For instance, if you sell winter coats, it should be a coat that offers something that no other winter coat on the market does. In other words, consider why someone would buy your product over any other similar products on the market.
An excellent way to discover your niche is to make a list of problems that people have. If you’re not sure what these are, you should spend some time on internet forums to see what problems people complain about the most.
Select a Reliable Web Host
The foundation of any good online store is a good website, and the foundation of a good website is a good quality, reliable web host. Web hosting is your website’s home on the internet; your website won’t appear online without it. If you choose a poor quality hosting provider, your online store could crash. It may get hacked more easily, load more slowly, and run into any number of other problems that may affect your sales.
If you’re creating an online store in Canada, you will want to pick a reliable Canadian web hosting provider. A Canadian web host will give you a Canadian IP address, which will help you be found in location-based search results. It will also give you a server that’s closer to your customers, ensuring faster page loading speeds. Both these things will help bring in prospective customers.
Decide on a Unique Domain Name
Your domain name is the name that makes up your store’s web address, for example, www.mystore.com. You must choose a unique domain name that accurately represents your business. It should therefore be short, snappy, relevant, easy to remember, and easy to spell. A few things to keep in mind when picking your domain name are:
- Avoid weird or wacky names. You want your domain name to be relevant to your business
- Try not to use numbers or hyphens, as these are difficult for people to remember and share
- Be unique, don’t just take someone else’s name and add a number to it
Design Your Site
A good rule of thumb for creating a website for an online store is that a prospective customer should never be more than two clicks away from purchasing. What this means is that you need to make it easy for site visitors to become customers. So don’t bury your store behind a whole bunch of content. Put it right up front. You should also make it easy to navigate around your site with menus and icons. For instance, you should put the checkout icon in the top right corner so that it can be easily found.
Ensure your site has an SSL Certificate
As an online store, you’ll be dealing with customers’ payment and personal information. Therefore, you need to make sure your site is secure. The best way to do this is through an SSL certificate. To install an SSL certificate, speak to your web host, and they will walk you through the process.
Set up Payment Methods
You must give your customers a variety of payment options. The three most common ways to accept payments in your online store are:
- Payment gateway packages: an all-in-one software connecting your store’s shopping cart to the card processing network.
- Simplified credit card payment processing: a service that integrates with your store’s checkout. This method means your customers won’t have to leave your site to complete a purchase.
- Merchant account and payment gateway: you partner with a bank, and they accept payments for you, then channel the money into your business bank account.
To make money with an online store in Canada, you need to have a product that solves a problem for consumers. You then need to have a website that attracts people’s attention and demonstrates why your products are superior to similar products out there. This requires that you have a good web host, a unique domain name, and a well-designed website. Also crucial to your success is an SSL certificate to keep your customer’s data safe and easy ways for your customers to pay for your products.