Running a business these days requires an online presence. A well-run and effective ecommerce website is essential for success in online retailing, and office furniture is no exception.
But how do you build your own site? It can be quite a daunting experience, especially if you’re not familiar with web design or coding. You may consider hiring someone to build your site on your behalf, but that can be a time consuming and costly venture, (up to $10,000!) and there’s always the chance that at the end of it all you might not end up with the website you wanted.
That’s where WordPress comes in! While WordPress may seem complicated at first, it allows you to build websites without any coding knowledge because there are thousands of free themes and plugins out there.
Using WordPress, you can set up an informative and functioning website for your business, complete with an automated checkout system for online transactions. With WordPress, you’ll be doing all the designing and building yourself, so while it may be a bit of a learning curve if you’re not familiar with website building, it will cost a fraction of the price of hiring a professional! Here’s how to get your office furniture site up and running on WordPress.
Step 1 – Get a Domain name and hosting
The first step for any online venture is to secure a relevant and memorable domain name. Ideally, you want to use the name of your physical store, so customers can easily find you online. However, depending on your shop name, you might find that the domain name you want is already taken, but don’t panic. There’s other options you can use, like abbreviations and initialisms, and alternative domains like .shop or .store instead of .com.
Next, choose a service to host your WordPress website. This is fairly inexpensive, costing around £5 per month. Now you can install and set up WordPress easily!
Step 2 – Choose an appropriate theme
Choose your theme carefully! You want to make sure your site looks professional and is accessible to your digital visitors – it has to be easy for them to browse and purchase from your online store. There are thousands of free and paid themes to choose from on the web, but be aware that not all are created equal, and you want to ensure that you pick a theme with clean code, so your site runs smoothly and has no technical deficiencies that might prevent your customer from purchasing from you. Here are a few things to consider when making your selection:
Clean and responsive design
Make sure your theme is visually appealing, and works well on all devices. This is especially important as more browsing is done on mobile browsers than desktops these days.
Space for images
When you’re selling a product, especially something when the visual look of the product is important, such as furniture, a theme that allows plenty of space for images so you can show of your ware is essential.
WooCommerce is the WordPress plugin for online transactions. If your theme does not support it, then you will have a major issue when it comes to buying products from your site.
Utilize a Mega Menu
A mega menu is a large menu that allows you to list and showcase a lot of items without cluttering each page with endless listings. Not only does it allow you to show more products on your site, it gives your customers an easier and more pleasurable shopping experience.
Feature a shopping cart and wish list
The ‘add to basket’ feature is a must-have for eCommerce sites. It allows customers to shop and continue to browse simultaneously, increasing sales overall. The wish list feature is by no means essential, but again, it will increase sales and customer retention.
Make sure that you are also using categories and filters to make it easy for customers to find the products they want. For example, if you are selling a prefab shed and office chair, make sure that they have their own category and it is easy to filter so that people can see all the prefab sheds and office chairs on separate pages. This makes it easy for customers to choose from the large range of products.
Free themes are great if you are just starting out, and operate in an industry where appearance isn’t everything. But if you want to look professional, avoid free themes like the plague, and strive for something sleek and unique.
Step 3 – Get Promoting!
Now you’re all set up, the real work can begin! It’s time to start promoting your shop so you can start selling some furniture. This is where social media can come in to play, and really boost your sales and spread the word. Thankfully, WordPress offers a few great plugins to make promoting easier, like the option for customers to share their purchases and your product pages on social media, while they’re shopping on the site.
It’s also definitely worth getting an automated mail system set up using something like MailChimp. This will generate follow-up emails to anyone buying something from your store, and sign them up to a newsletter, to keep them in the loop, and hopefully keep them returning to your store any time they need more office furniture! Some customers will also want to know about discounts and offers so building an email list from your customers is a very good idea to generate more revenue.
That’s about it! Following these simple steps will have your WordPress store up and running in no time, and your office furniture will be flying off the shelves! Next you can try setting up a blog page, filled with interesting articles and cross promotions with other sites and business, to keep spreading the word. By creating quality content on your website, you will be able to drive traffic to your eCommerce site through search engines. This is a very good way to get more traffic to your website but make sure your website is also search engine optimized.