The pandemic has revolutionized the way consumers shop. Although online shopping has been around for decades -- thanks to Amazon and a host of eCommerce sites offering free shipping -- the industry has grown exponentially the past year as everyone was forced to stay at home and purchase everything via the web.
For entrepreneurs and startups, the sector was made more attractive by the minimal investment it requires.
Moreover, there are tools and platforms available that let anyone who wants to start an online store do just that in mere minutes. If you're one of those people, we've got the answers you're looking for.
Whether you're planning to start a side hustle or looking for a career shift, you'll find all the information you'll need to start your new eCommerce venture here. Read on.
Why is 2021 the best year to start an eCommerce business?
2021 may just be the best year to start an eCommerce store as most consumers are still staying at home and instead shop online to avoid crowds. In fact, this growth was not expected until 2022, up 32.4% year-on-year. According to a study by Mastercard SpendingPulse, U.S. online sales during the 2020 holidays grew 49.0% compared to 2019. In the UK, 27.9% of all retail sales came from eCommerce -- up 8.7% from 2019. Revenue from this market is expected to hit £75.8 billion this 2021, a 7.1% year-on-year growth rate.
These numbers speak for itself, and the potential is enormous. According to an eCommerceFuel survey of 402 online business owners, their average revenue in 2019 was $2.9 million, with 28% saying they earned under $500,000 and 38% said they earned anywhere between $1 million and $4.9 million.
But before you get excited with these figures, keep in mind that not all get to the top with the same success and results. You'll need an effective strategy, hard work, patience and an eCommerce platform to take you there. Lucky for you, Squarespace has everything you need to get you started on the right path.
Set up your online store without coding skills required
Squarespace is an all-in-one content management, website builder and eCommerce platform that lets you build a site in minutes with its intuitive visual editor. There are no coding skills required, so anyone can create beautiful websites that are mobile-friendly and responsive.
It offers a host of eCommerce solutions for individuals and businesses to sell products and accept payments globally with ease. No wonder it powers over 4 million sites.
It offers a host of features that match online sellers and entrepreneurs' needs. It's also the go-to platform of designers and developers with its easy customization options.
Build a website in minutes with visual editor
Squarespace offers a 14-day free trial without commitment and a need for a credit card. You can easily explore its features to see if it matches your business needs hassle free.
Once you're registered, you'll be prompted with questions about your site category and products you want to sell to help you generate ideas. Feel free to skip them if you want a freehand on your site development.
Squarespace is perfect for beginners as the options are intuitive, and you'll easily find your way around the dashboard with an optional assistant to walk you through the process.
Create a stunning online store with built-in templates
Squarespace also suggests templates based on your answers in the walkthrough. It will offer some templates that match your business and products. Expect all the templates to be professional-looking, making your site look like a pro designed it.
Choose the template you want, and off you go -- you can start customizing it. Squarespace uses a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor -- easily change the text of the template, upload a photo, change the price of items, product descriptions and so much more.
Since the templates already have built-in pages for About, Shop, Blog and Contact Us, once you're finished with one page, just click the next page you want to edit. The Commerce tab on the left side will also walk you through how to add products.
Generate leads and clients for your digital products and services
The website builder also offers online store templates for professionals who are selling digital products and services. There are several to choose from that have built-in features for professional services like coaching, beauty, spa, agencies and consultancy.
For example, if you're selling programs and memberships, there are templates that you can customize, showing monthly subscriptions, landing page for programs and call-to-action buttons for sign-ups.
You can always add a Shop page if you want to sell merchandise and physical goods in the future. Squarespace lets you have full control of how you would like to proceed with your strategy, and if in case you want to hire a web developer for enhanced modifications, the website builder also lets you add custom codes.
Other impressive online store features on Squarespace
Accept major payments seamlessly — payment methods are integral when running an online store. With Squarespace, everything you need for payments can be integrated. The platform supports major payment gateways like Stripe, PayPal, Apple Pay, and also in-person payments using its hardware and more.
Manage your taxes and automate them — Squarespace also ensures you comply with tax requirements. Its robust tools make it easier for sellers to manage tax rates locally in regions that require tax charges. What's more, since Squarespace lets you integrate third-party apps, you can add TaxJar to automate your tax filing.
Shipping made easy — you also don't need to worry about logistics because Squarespace lets you ship and collect items with reliable logistics companies like FedEx, UPS and United States Postal Service. That said, from inventory to payments and logistics management, you can control all these within the platform.
Elevate your marketing with built-in tools — online stores thrive with marketing tools, and Squarespace supports email campaigns, automated cart follow-up emails and landing pages. You can also add social media channels and arm yourself with analytics. The built-in SEO tools let you optimize your product pages, primary pages, blogs, and you can integrate Google analytics as well.
Affordable price to jumpstart your business — for as low as $18 per month billed annually, you can start building an online business that has eCommerce solutions, free custom domain, SSL certification and unlimited bandwidth, plus much more. Sell unlimited products and even offer gift cards that shoppers can redeem in your store. You'll also get excellent customer service in case you need assistance. If 14 days isn't enough for you to explore Squarespace, the customer service is generous enough to extend it to make sure you're ready for your big launch.