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The 10 Recommended Steps after Installing Your Online Store

Congratulations! You have installed your online store and now it’s time to focus on the look, feel and user experience. Discover the different ways to optimize your online shop with 10 vital tips from the experts at PrestaShop. We’ll teach you the secrets behind successfully creating your store for the best results.

1. Pardon Our Dust: Turn on Maintenance Mode

Don’t ruin the surprise! Blind fold your visitors until you are ready to unveil your store. Maintenance mode allows you to peacefully work behind the scenes. It ensures that you will not be indexed by search engines too soon and your customers will not be able to surf your site until you are ready to go live.

2. Everyone Judges a Book by its Cover: Add Your Logo and Theme

Online shopping is a visual experience so it is important to have a website that is pleasing to the eye. First, you will need to add your logo – keep in mind that your logo is you brand’s single most visible display as it will appear in your online store, emails and invoices.

Perhaps the most important element of setting up your online store is installing a theme that reflects the look and feel you want to present to customers. Your site should be both attractive and user friendly so appearance and navigation are critical components to consider when choosing a theme.

Reach as many customers as possible! In order to do that you will want to make your online shop compatible for mobile devices. You will have two choices: a normal and mobile compatible theme or a Responsive theme that will fit the width of the screen regardless of the device used.

3. Contract Between You and Customers: Add Your Terms and Conditions

Having carefully crafted terms and conditions for your store is critical. These terms are meant to protect your business and lays down the rules relating to orders, deliveries, payment, withdrawal, etc. Your customers will be required to confirm that they have read and understood the terms and conditions when they are checking out.

4. The Human Connection: Add an “About” and “Contact” Page

Most stores don’t realize how much their “About Us” page is visited. You’re a stranger to your potential customers and this page is an opportunity to connect and build credibility for your store. Use the “About Us” page to describe your products, values, awards and testimonials.

A basic necessity for every e-commerce site is a “Contact” page which serves as the gateway for customers to get in touch with you. It may generate business or propose customer service. Give your customers multiple communication vehicles to reach you such as phone number, email address and social media.

5. Organization: Create Product Categories

Creating categories and subcategories is key for organizing your online catalog. Take the time to think about the structure of your store and remember the potential for changes so that you don’t need to reorganize down the road. Try to avoid subcategories if you possible as they add an additional step in the research of your product. If your inventory is very large, consider setting up a detailed menu and navigation.

6. Show & Tell: Add Products

This is the core of your online store so the way you present your products is what will eventually determine your store’s success. It is important to add detailed descriptions and high quality, attractive photos to make customers excited about purchasing each product. Your descriptions can also increase traffic to your site by utilizing keywords that can be indexed by search engines. Spend time adding your products by treating each one as a potential best seller.

7. Configure a Payment Method

Now that your products are ready to sell, you must provide your customers with a payment method. With your PrestaShop online store several options are available:

  • E-wallets: allows you to have an account in a few hours and customers can pay via a wallet account or a credit card

  • A contract with your bank: you can collect the money directly on your bank account via a credit card gateway

8. Shipping & Handling: Configure a Carrier

Now you need to set up a means of delivery for your customers’ purchases. When selecting a carrier remember that different countries offer different carrier services. Set up your store to automatically adjust the shipping fare for purchases depending on weight or choose to adjust the fare depending on price (for example, free shipping on purchases of $100+).

9. The Genius of Modules: Enable and Add Features in One Click

Online shopping is more than the mere convenience of shopping from home, it takes shopping to the next level. When you install your shop, many features (also known as “modules”) can be activated. These features are what will set your store apart and increase your bottom line. For example, you can add modules that allow you to show multi-image slideshows, suggest related products, allow customers to configure their social media networks and share your products… Browse the wide selection of possibilities and configure modules in minutes.

10. The Final Check

You have completed all the steps! Now it’s time to ensure that everything is working properly. Test out your site as if you were a customer by browsing the different pages, making a few purchases and try simulating the behaviors of your visitors.

Well done! You are now ready to show off your site and begin selling! Remember, this is only the beginning of managing your shop – you will be able to update your shop day after day with new products, special offers, newsletters and so much more.

PS. Oh and one last thing! Don’t forget to deactivate the maintenance mode so visitors can see your site :) .

  1. Dear Natalie,

    We have 9 presta stores,and each week we have problems, specially, PAYPAL module broken or Images missing. Can you please get the basics working as it should?

    many thanks
    NR

    • Author: Natalie Beigel

      Date: May 2, 2013 at 10:41 pm

      I’m sorry to hear that! Our team is available at 888-947-6543 for any questions you may have. We’d be happy to help! You can also check out our forums anytime, we have 450,000+ members ready to answer!
      All the best!

  2. thanks for the valuable tips..
    i really liked the first one to put store under maintenance while it is still being configured.
    Thanks for sharing.

  3. Some great basic tips, but like N Ravel I have also experienced problems with the payment modules. Visitors have had a few issues with PayPal but I found the Google Checkout module didnt work at all.

    As this is the key part of the site much more testing should be made before pushong updates.

    That said for a 100% free package you cant really complain.

    Sam

    • Author: Natalie Beigel

      Date: May 8, 2013 at 8:56 pm

      Hi Sam, thanks for your comment! Google Checkout is no longer supported, there were complications with their API. I can suggest other payment modules such as Allied Wallet, Merchant Warehouse and Stripe. Also, the newest PayPal version 3.5 has been updated for further security and other small bug fixes. Hope this is helpful!

  4. Hi Natalie, I will give the new version a go at the weekend on my dev site. Last time I updated the paypal module I received an ajax error when adding items to my cart, but I have since read that I should have flushed the cache after the update so fingers crossed and backup at the ready…

    All the best
    Sam

  5. Author: Michael

    Date: May 9, 2013 at 9:15 pm

    Thank you for this blog post Natalie!

    I will make sure to do everything, it’s always great to have things laid out on paper!

    Thank you

  6. Author: filipstudio

    Date: May 29, 2013 at 11:16 am

    Could you test out your site as if you were a customer by browsing different pages, if the site has the maintenance mode turned on? I’m quite new, and don’t know yet how this thing works.

    • Author: Natalie Beigel

      Date: May 29, 2013 at 12:52 pm

      Hi Filip! Yes you can. When you log in to your back off click on Preferences > Maintenance then you will find that you can enter IP addresses for the IPs you wish to allow access to your site while it is under maintenance mode. Hope this helps!

  7. I have installed Prestashop as localhost on my PC. It gave me a bit of trouble trying to get it to work but I finally managed. I have used the default template and added new categories and products and was impressed by the simplicity of the whole project. Well Done!!

    However I would like to see the following in the next updates:

    Export existing fields to a csv so I could enter my categories, products, attributes etc from a spreadsheet and then re-import them to prestashop. This would be a useful feature for anybody. (Or else provide a blank csv file with headers which I can modify on my spreadsheet)

    Otherwise very nice job!

    Jeremy

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