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How do I create my online store?

Three profiles. Three online shops. One goal: selling online.
See the possibilities

Three ways to create your online shop: Which profile suits you?

James, Anna, and Thomas are fictional characters we use to explain the advantages and disadvantages of our different solutions.
Imagine James' story

Online Shop Builder

James was always interested in commerce. One year ago he took the plunge and opened his own shoe shop in Boston. He also wanted to try selling his products online, but had never run his own website before. However, his eShop was an instant success thanks to the simple drag and drop editor. The templates and themes included really made it easy for him to put a professional website together and start making sales online in no time.
Learn more about our eCommerce Website Builder
Imagine Anna's Story

Managed WordPress Hosting with WooCommerce

Anna used to be the manager of a fashion boutique before deciding to set up on her own and create an online shop. She had a friend with a WooCommerce website, which she assumed was just for developers because it looked very complicated. Her friend assured her it wasn't so difficult, so after watching a few videos, and thanks to all the plugins available, she was able to build a website customized to fit her needs perfectly. She found it amazing that there was such a huge community full of people helping each other and who were willing to help her solve any problems she came up against.
Learn more about WordPress Hosting with WooCommerce
Imagine Thomas' Story

Hosting with Magento

Thomas has a head for business; he first started working with cars 30 years ago when he opened a small spare parts shop, and today he is the head of three warehouses located in different cities. Thomas got into online sales five years ago, when he asked for an agency's help to set up a system that would let him manage orders between his warehouses and his professional clients. They recommended Magento because of its scalability. This turned out to be a great recommendation because before he knew it, online sales were rapidly increasing and he even started getting private customers. Now, a team manages his website and online sales, and he still uses Magento because the powerful solution was able to grow with him.
Learn more about Hosting with Magento

Which product is the best fit for you?

Online Shop BuilderManaged WordPress Hosting with WooCommerceWeb Hosting with Magento

Time investment
Level of knowledge required
Easily create a sophisticated and professional online shop using the simple drag and drop interface. The templates and themes help you to find the look that suits you.Build your online shop using the largest open source online sales platform. Take advantage of hundreds of plugins and extensions that help you customize your site. WooCommerce integrates seamlessly into WordPress.See the big picture! This powerful solution will grow with you thanks to its incredible scalability. It is the most complete and flexible option, but also the most complex. Use B2B functions to boost your business.
What they might say"I didn't really know how to build a website, but now I have an eShop that I put together, and I make money with it every day." - James"Small details can make a big difference. My shop looks exactly how I dreamed it would, and my customers always come back because it's so easy to find what they're looking for." - Anna"Since the beginning, my team has done a great job. We perform A/B tests to optimize our conversion rates and our online sales are doing well." - Thomas
Pricestarting at $1/month starting at $1/month
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Four simple steps to create your online shop

Creating your own online shop may seem like a long and tedious task at first. Features, hosting, design, and even domain names; it is easy to feel overwhelmed by all of the different things you need to do when you're not a web professional. Yet, by identifying the key points, creating an online sales website is not so complicated. Here are our tips.

Get organized

When creating an eCommerce site, you can't make it up as you go: you need a minimum amount of organization to reach a satisfactory end result. First of all you should start by defining your goal and the objectives you want to achieve with your online shop.
Would you like to have an exclusively online presence, or do you have a shop that could benefit from a strong presence on the internet? Do you already have a website with a level of traffic you want to keep? All of these questions should be taken into account when you start organizing the creation of your online shop.
Another important point: take stock of the different technical skills that are at your disposal to make your project a reality. From the very start of the project, it is important to know who will develop your online shop.
Your path forward will vary depending on your available resources. The right package for you depends on what programming languages you know, or if you need a solution that is easier for you to handle.
For example, if you have a team or a freelancer to help you, you can use their expertise and choose an open source solution from one of our web hosting packages. Open source solutions are very customizable, and they require a lot of technical skills.
If you are a hands on person, you might prefer to design and update your own online shop with a ready-made, do-it-yourself solution. You can go live the same day, and you even have access to 1&1 IONOS support if you get stuck.

Think about your product and its story

One of the most important things to consider when creating an online shop is the content. In fact, the content, whether text or otherwise, is what will make your eCommerce site a success or not! In order to adopt an effective content strategy, you should start by working out what makes you different from the competition, what you bring to your clients, and what problems you fix. It is this last point that you should put forward when you present your products, more than their main benefits. By explaining clearly to consumers what they stand to gain by using your products and services, it will be easier to convince them to make a purchase in your online shop.
Furthermore, your content will be significantly different if you want to use your eCommerce site as a main sales platform for your business, or if you see it as a reinforcement tool to help your sales teams to close more sales. In the first case, your customers will need to understand your product as a whole and be able to find all of the information they need on your online sales site, whereas the second case offers you more flexibility.

Design and structure of your eShop

Another important factor to take into account when you start building your eCommerce site is design. The design is what will define your identity on the web. But before you even think about design, you have to start building the structure of the site itself, otherwise known as its tree view. To do this, keep in mind that the structure has to be logical for the user according to what you are selling. You should therefore define the product categories in such a way that they are grouped logically and allow users to navigate intuitively through the different offers available on your online shop. Pay particular attention to the menu and do not overload it with information. Instead, keep your navigation as simple as possible.
Regarding the design, find an idea that truly reflects your business, and keep things simple and consistent. Of course, do not forget that all websites and online shops now have to be compatible with mobile devices. It is therefore best to adopt a responsive design, or even the "mobile first" approach to avoid common errors, in order to provide the best possible experience to your users and maximize the profits of your eShop. With 1&1 IONOS MyWebsite Premium and 1&1 IONOS eShops, you do not have to worry about anything because your site is already optimized for mobile devices.

Think about the different processes

The word "processes" refers to all of the interactions that could take place with your clients, and there are a lot of processes on an eCommerce site. One of the most important is the process of validating purchases and implementing different methods of payment. First, start by selecting the different payment methods that you will offer in your online shop. Do this by thinking about the habits of your target customers and the different possibilities that are available to you, without forgetting to implement a process that confirms purchases by email. Do the same with your delivery process, taking into consideration the delivery cost policy you want to implement. Of course, each of these processes should be thoroughly tested with typical use cases in order to check that everything is correctly set up and functional.
Another essential point to consider when you decide to create your online shop is Google Analytics. Every good online shop must use an analytics tool in order to follow and study the behavior of its users, as well as the sales generated, with the goal of improving its results. Similarly, consider implementing a stock management tool if you want to make your eShop the main source of sales. If you do this, it does not matter how the sale is made, your stock will be updated automatically.

Launch your online shop

You are almost there! You have finished building your eCommerce site and it is ready for the first sales, the only thing left to do is to go live. For that you will need a domain name, or to put it simply a web address specific to your website. If the aim is to choose a simple name that is short and easy to remember, it is natural to use the name of your company if it is already in place. Classic domains such as .com or .co.uk are the most common, but these can be difficult to get due to the small number of names still available.
An alternative is therefore to choose a domain with one of the new domain extensions that recently became available to register. You can find an extension that lets you highlight your area of activity or your location, for example, which will help users to identify you and remember your eShop site more easily.

Advertise your eShop

Building an online shop is certainly an important job, but that is only the beginning of your new adventure! For your eCommerce site to attain the success it deserves, you will have to implement a marketing strategy that relies on different channels. Start by considering email marketing solutions, a regular newsletter, or a customer loyalty strategy, for example, that uses discount codes for your online shop. Equally, consider using a traffic acquisition strategy for your eShop and your company by establishing a presence on social networks, referencing your eShop's products on different comparison sites, and by forming partnerships and using online advertising tools according to your budget.
Another important point: it may be wise for the success of your online shop to use marketplaces like Amazon or eBay in order to multiply your site's sales opportunities. You should therefore take special care, just like on your own eShop, that your products are well-presented and that you are well-positioned in relation to your competitors.

Keep improving

One of the most common mistakes people make when building an online shop is to think that once they have launched it, the majority of the work is done. This is not the case at all; you have to show that your eShop is alive and kicking. You can do this by constantly and consistently adding new content. This is why adding a blog section to your site is a very effective strategy. Your customers will be able to see that you are active on your site and available to engage with them, which will reassure them and therefore increase your sales.
Similarly, you should diversify the content if you can; for example, video content is great for this purpose. Then, you need to make sure you maintain your presence on social networks by using all of this diverse content. Finally, and this is no secret to any successful business, listen to what your customers have to say. Find an effective way of hearing their feedback, and use it to change and improve your online shop and your service.
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FAQ: How to start an online store

The length of time it takes to create an online shop depends on a number of factors and can vary based on the size of the online store, the technologies used, the available budget, and the creator's IT skill level.

You can find a number of resources in the Digital Guide that will help speed up the process of starting an online store, offering both technical and theoretical advice on dealing with the different stages of creating your store.
Choosing the right name for your online shop isn't difficult if you take the following guidance into consideration. If you already have a shop with its own professional identity and your new online shop is an extension of this, use the same name online for uniformity. A good online shop name should be short, concise, and easy for visitors to remember.

With regards to the URL extension, there are many choices available to you when opening an online store: by opting for a '.com' extension, you can ensure your shop's global credibility, or you could get more personalized with a new top-level domain. In the event that you don't manage to obtain the desired domain name for your online store because it isn't available, you can always look into alternatives to a .com domain to discover a new extension that helps you clearly convey the nature of your business in the same way.
In order for your online shop to fulfill its potential, you will need to put a marketing strategy in place to publicize it. For that, there are a number of aspects to consider. Firstly, start by developing an effective communication strategy across different social networks. Nowadays, social media is indispensable, so having a presence on them is one of the best ways to reach potential customers. In addition, you may also need to look at different tools - such as SEO tools, online advertising and marketplaces - to achieve the best results.

Consider setting up a site newsletter to remind customers about your online shop and encourage return business. Similarly, having a communication plan is a good idea for hooking customers so they discover and regularly visit your site.
Creating an online store allows you to reach a new customer base and therefore to increase sales by tapping into a new market. An online store is constantly functioning and allows users to make purchases 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. By freeing you from the boundaries of physical distance, an online shop gives you wider reach to prospective customers.

Generally speaking, creating your own online store can significantly increase your business turnover and can even save you money by allowing you to identify and meet the specific needs of your customers. In this way, you'll have more relevance to your audience and adapt more easily to their buying habits.
It can be difficult to distinguish the difference between the free, open-source online store platforms and paid eCommerce solutions. If the outcome is the same, why are some systems free while others must be paid for? The explanation is simple: since not all online shops have the same needs, the difference in use between the two systems permit different things.
The service that an open-source online store offers is generally intended for professional developers and those familiar with programming language. This is because they enable the utmost personalization possible and therefore respond extremely well to specialized projects, particularly if there are specific needs in a particular area.

Paid online store platforms are a better idea for anyone starting out in the world of online sales, whether that's to bring an online presence to their business's shop front or launching completely as an online retailer. They provide everything you need to start your own online store independently and with no understanding of IT necessary; anyone can take advantage of the opportunities that the web offers.
No – it is not strictly necessary to hire an agency to open an online store for you. In fact, based on their existing level of knowledge and technical capabilities, anyone can easily and quickly create a professional-looking online shop with the right tools.

If you have ideas that demand a certain understanding of programming language, there are a number of template tools available, each designed to help start online stores which you can simply edit without having to write online code. In this way, you can still open an online store to fulfill your checklist of requirements.
Although a personal design that gives your online business a unique identity is essential, you don't need to start from scratch. Most of the tools used for the creation of online shops provide several themes and models, readily equipped for personalization.

You can use these as you wish and customize further by including your own logos, visuals, and content elements. By modifying the colors of different page elements and choosing fonts, you'll arrive at a personal, tailored result that's right for you.

While the DIY method may be perfectly suited to start an online store for your small or medium-sized business, it may be a good idea to enlist the help of a professional graphic designer when it comes to larger eCommerce sites or projects that carry significant importance.
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