Last updated 10.06.2020
If you own a business, building a website for your ecommerce store is the best way to expand your company.
However, ecommerce sites can often be expensive. Most website builders charge extra if you want an additional ecommerce add-on with your website, although with KitStart we offer it as part of our affordable and high quality package.
However, if you’re new to the world of ecommerce, there are ways you can test the waters by setting up a store for free!
Use social media
Although you can’t make payments directly via social media, using platforms such as Instagram to show off images of your products is a great starting point for your ecommerce store. This is a good way to advertise your products, as it gives you the opportunity to get creative with your marketing: you can post short videos on how to use a certain product, or put together a collage of your best selling products.
Social media is also a trusty source to turn to for a free ecommerce option as it gives the buyer the freedom to share their views on your products. For example, you can encourage people to comment on your posts with their views on your products – if what you’re selling is of good value for money, or is a quality item, the chances are the feedback will be positive, and can therefore prompt other potential customers to enquire into purchasing your products. Social media content is also easily shareable, which could help gain increased visibility for your ecommerce business.
As most social media platforms have direct messaging services, a buyer can contact you if they see a product they like, and then you can arrange a simple payment via Paypal, or they can make a bank transfer. The downside is that there is no security for the buyer – although your business might be 100% genuine, there is no way for them to know that you’re not a scam. This could deter potential buyers from making a purchase with your business.
Focus your attention on local sales
Facebook marketplace is a great way to build your local reputation, which is ideal if you’re planning to build an ecommerce website which is mainly targeted at selling to individuals within your area. People on Facebook marketplace often know what they’re looking for, so it is important to include relevant keywords and tags in your product descriptions. This way, your items are more likely to appear in users’ search results.
If you’re unsure of your pricing strategy, Facebook marketplace is also a good price comparison source – most offer discounted prices, as the products are second hand. If you have good quality photos of your products, and they are brand new, then you could get away with charging a bit more. However, you’ll need to really justify the reason for the price difference: make sure you write a great product description, and emphasise that you are a local business to really connect with potential customers.
The downside to Facebook marketplace is that it is a fairly saturated market: most people will be on it to find the cheapest bargains they can find, and you don’t want to reduce your profit margin excessively by competing with other sellers who offer very discounted prices. Nevertheless, the platform is a good way to build your reputation as a local, trusted seller, and is a good starting point for your ecommerce business.
Use a free ecommerce site
Using a website builder with a free ecommerce section is perhaps the best way to build an ecommerce site for free. Most website builders will offer the option of having an SSL certificate, which shows buyers their details will be protected, although you might have to pay extra for this option.
Building a website to advertise your products is also the best way to make your ecommerce site seem professional and high quality. This is because it allows potential customers to find your products easily by having them in categories, and gives you space to provide high-quality photos and in-depth product descriptions.
The problem with free ecommerce sites is that they will often have hidden costs along the way, or have features which make your site seem less professional for the user. Freewebstore lets you create an ecommerce site for free, but its backend is complex and fairly restrictive, making it difficult for you to create a site with a web design which is right for your business.
Webstarts is also another free ecommerce option, but it doesn’t give you any SEO options, such as a personalised URL or title tags and descriptions for products. If you want your website to rank on Google’s search engines, these factors are key: without them, Google’s algorithms won’t be able to see if your products are relevant to a search engine result, consequentially giving you a poor ranking on its search engine results.
The best option for an ecommerce website is picking a website builder which offers all of the necessary features for your ecommerce site, at a low-cost price. KitStart is an incredibly cost effective option, as we offer ecommerce features, SEO optimisation, SSL certificates and more within our bundle.