With the big move to buying online due to the COVID-19 lockdowns, a lot of small businesses are scrambling to build online stores quickly so they can continue selling.
WooCart‘s Turnkey Store is perfect for this. With a little bit of preparation, you can build your store and start selling within a few hours. In this blog post, I’ll guide you through how you can do this. The store is built with WordPress and WooCommerce and is easily customizable. You need basic knowledge about WordPress to be able to build the store.
The store will not get any design awards but it will be very easy to use for your customers and it can be built very fast so you can start selling today.
I want to emphasize that WooCart does not have vendor lock-in. If you don’t like our hosting, you can move to any of the many WordPress hosts. We want you to stay with us because you have an amazing experience, not because you don’t have a choice.
Flexibility and ownership are major advantages of WordPress against proprietary platforms like Wix, Shopify or Weebly and we think they are extremely important for a small business.
Preparing content for your new store
By far the most time-consuming activity is the preparation of content and images.
I’m writing this guide for adapting the WooCart Turnkey store, but it covers the necessary elements of any new store.
Images and photos
- Logo: in a large format (at least 500px wide).
- Hero image: this is the big image that will be used on the top of the website to entice visitors. It can be for a special offer, a product, or a general call to action to start shopping (at least 2000px wide).
- Category images: if you want to highlight product categories, then prepare three images (at least 1000px wide).
- About images: people like to buy from people, not anonymous entities. Under the about section, you should add an image of you, your team, your office, and anything else you’d like to show that’s part of your company identity (at least 1000px or 2000px wide, depending on image location on the page).
- Define colors: define the primary two colors that will be used on the store for buttons and links. Usually, they are the logo colors or are complementary to them.
Scale and compress images
Raw images from a camera are large and with a lot of data attached to it. This results in a hefty filesize that negatively affects your page load. Resize all images to the maximum of 2000px, and 3000px for hero images. Run the image through an EXIF remover (to remove camera metadata) and losslessly compress them before uploading them to your store.
- Hero tagline: the text on the hero image. It should have a strong call to action for the visitor.
- Why choose us: four very short pieces on how you’re awesome and why visitors should buy from you.
- About: write a paragraph or two about your company and your story.
The fastest way to add multiple products is to prepare a CSV to import. We’ve created detailed instructions on how to import products in our Help Center. Here are the things you’ll need to prepare the CSV.
- Product descriptions: There are two descriptions you can add, one on top near the buy button (short description), and one at the bottom (description). The best way to do this is to explain the benefits in the top description and add technical details in the bottom description.
- Product images: Image names should be descriptive and without spaces. This way, you can add the file names to the CSV, and WordPress will link them to the corresponding product automatically.
- SKU, stock, and price.
Building your new store
Once you’ve prepared everything, sign up for WooCart and create a new store with the Store Wizard.
The Store Wizard covers all the basics:
- localization (date and time format, weight and dimension units, currency, language),
- legal pages (privacy, cookies, terms, delivery, returns),
- store configuration (pages, checkout, standard settings),
- SSL (HTTPS) installation.
Review everything and then add any specifics for your business.
Once the store is created, the fun part begins! Log in and start customizing the store. Here is a checklist of everything you need to do:
- Add logo.
- Set primary colors.
- Add a hero image with a tagline.
- Import products and define product categories.
- Add images for featured categories.
- Select featured product on the bottom.
- Fill out the Why choose us section.
- Add images and text to About.
- Define the shipping costs and add information to delivery and returns pages.
Of course, once that is all done, do a thorough review and add any other missing information. With a little bit of luck, you should be done in an hour or two.
Add payment gateways
There’s just one main thing left before you can start selling: plugging in a payment gateway. If you don’t have them yet, we recommend you sign up and configure PayPal and Stripe. With those two, you cover all of the popular payment options, and they’re very straightforward to set up with WooCommerce.
And don’t forget to find a suitable courier that will ship your products. In most cases, you will not see a need for a shipping plugin when you start and should be able to manage everything manually.
Start selling today!
As part of our COVID-19 help for small businesses, I’ve been building stores following this guide. Once the clients provided the required content, we’ve been able to get them online within the hour.
I hope this guide helps you build your own store fast, with or without the help of WooCart.
And if you feel overwhelmed, fill out the form for COVID-19 help and we’ll help you get your store online.