You've finally finished uploading all your inventory and photos to your new Auctiva Commerce Store. You've crafted well-written descriptions, created catchy titles and double-checked the weights and dimensions of your products. But are you sure your store is ready to go?
You may think it is. After all, you've worked very hard to prepare your store for its big debut. But before the orders start piling in, you'll want to make sure you haven't left any details unchecked that might deter buyers from completing a transaction. They may find there's no shipping method associated with an item, that they can't pay with the payment method they prefer or that they can't make the purchase at all.
Putting together a store requires a lot of attention to detail, and it's not uncommon to forget to dot some i's or cross some t's. But we've come up with a checklist you can use to make sure you've got the bases covered, and that your buyers have a good shopping experience. Remember, a happy buyer is a loyal customer. Follow these guidelines and you should be all set to sell, sell, sell!
1. Choose a theme
First things firstyou can't have an Auctiva Commerce Store without a theme. Auctiva Commerce has 70 theme options in its growing Theme File Manager. To get there, just go to the Theme Manager in your Store tab. Then simply choose the design you like best and click "Apply Theme." It's simple enough, and once you choose the skin for your new shop, you can customize it as much as by going into Customize Store Theme.
This will take you to a mock version of your store's homepage, where all you have to do is hit the "Customize" button to add, edit or remove links, content and photos. Think of the possibilities. And you can change your theme whenever you want.
2. Check your categories and products
To add products to your store, you should first select a category to put the item into. So make sure your store has enough categoriesand that it has the right ones. Don't feel limited to the default categories Auctiva Commerce recommends. Add your own if you need to by using the "Add Categories" button in your Manage Inventory page. Learn more about how to do this in Auctiva Commerce's Help section.
Also, take another quick glance through your products to make sure they're displayed in the appropriate categories so buyers won't miss anything. Sure, a few may stumble onto a T-shirt they like in the housewares category, but think of how many more sales you could have made if that same T-shirt was in Clothing, Shoes & Accessories.
Your 'warehouse' could be your drop shipper, your home address or your actual shipping dock, if you have one
3. Watch for warehouses
You need a warehouse to set up shipping methods for your goods. Forgetting to associate a warehouse with a product will mean restricted shipping methods for that productand more importantit could mean customers can't buy that item. So verify that you've set up at least one warehouse by going to Shipping in your Store tab. Here, you'll see the name of your warehouses as well as the address for each and how many products are associated with that warehouse.
By the way, don't be intimidated by the term "warehouse." The warehouse is simply the location an item will ship from. It could be your drop shipper, your home address or your actual shipping dock, if you have one. Auctiva Commerce has a quick tutorial for adding a warehouse.
A nice feature about warehouses is that you can use them to easily offer free shipping by assigning all the products you want to offer with free shipping to the same warehouse.
4. Double-check your payment options
Everyone wants to get paid when they set up their store, and your customers want to give you money when they find something they like. So be sure you offer at least one payment option to your buyers. To check this, simply go into your dashboard and choose Payment Methods from your Store tab.
Auctiva Commerce allows you to accept checks, credit cards, purchase orders and PayPal. But remember, you'll need a merchant account such as Authorize.net to accept credit cards within Auctiva Commerce, and if you'd like to accept PayPal you'll need to establish a PayPal payment gateway in Auctiva Commerce. See our Help article for details.
Customers will appreciate having a few shipping options, but don't feel compelled to give them everyone that's available
5. Scout out your shipping
Shipping is an essential part of any online business. This potentially complex aspect of your business is made easier with Commerce's integrated shipping carriers. Setting these up allows buyers to get a shipping estimate before making a purchase, and can help ensure you don't over- or under-charge for your shipping costs.
All your shipping methods are on the Configure Shipping Methods page. This page shows the types of services you offer, as well as what warehouses, shipping zones and groups are associated with each method. Your customers will appreciate having a few different shipping options (i.e., UPS Ground, FedEx Ground Home Delivery, etc.), but don't feel compelled to give them every shipping option available on Auctiva Commerce. They won't expect it, and too many options could lead to mistakes. If a buyer forgets to choose a shipping method at checkout and goes with the default option, they could end up paying more than they bargained for.
Read more about shipping options in the Auctiva Commerce tutorial section.
6. Provide contact information
Updating your contact information is a must for any storeowner. All stores come with mock contact information to let you know where to input yours. Don't forget to enter your actual information. If a customer needs to get a hold of you for one reason or anotherbe it a problem encountered during a purchase, a missing shipment or simply a question about a productthey need to know there's a real person on the other end of the wire.
You can add your contact information by choosing Customize Store Theme under your store tab. Then click the "Contact Us" link and enter your store's contact information. Be sure to keep this information current so your customers will always be able to reach you. It's best to provide mailing and e-mail addresses specifically for your store. You don't want your personal inbox bombarded with inquiries, do you?
You're almost donejust a few more steps. Read Part 2 of this article here.