How to Start Up An e-Commerce Website

How to start up an e-commerce website in Trinidad and Tobago

Table of Contents

An e-Commerce website is used to allow persons to buy and sell products or services online.

You have several options to choose from in order to set up an e-commerce website:

  1. Utilize a third-party platform (e.g. Shopify).
  2. Use an online marketplace (e.g. OnYourIsland).
  3. Host your own e-commerce website.

This discussion focuses on how to host your own successful e-commerce website in Trinidad and Tobago to gain more control.

1. Purchase a Domain Name

A domain name is the website address that one would use to access your site. For example www.mywebsite.com.

You purchase this name from a Domain Name register. Our recommended registrar is Cloudflare.

2. Purchase Hosting

In order to serve the pages to the public, the e-commerce website needs to be hosted on a public server. Hosting companies would rent you a space on their machine at a cost.

Our recommended Hosting provider is Vultr for advanced users or Siteground for novices.

3. Install A CMS

To quickly start up an e-commerce website in Trinidad and Tobago, you should install the WordPress software. WordPress is a Content Management System (CMS) that allows the easy addition and updates of website content.

4. Install A Site Theme

A site theme controls the layout and settings of your e-commerce website. Our recommended theme is the Hello theme by Elementor. This is a blank theme that can be configured to your needs.

Install the Elementor Pro plugin to configure the themes header, footer and other parts.

5. Install WooCommerce

WooCommerce is the plugin that will allow you to have e-Commerce website functionality on your site. Install and configure all the necessary settings.

6. Setup A Payment Gateway (WiPay, FAC or Paywise)

As this is an e-commerce website in Trinidad and Tobago, you need to have payment options that are suitable for this country.

If you are only doing offline payments, then you can set up Bank Transfer, Cash on Delivery and Cheque options only.

If you would like to process customers’ Visa or Mastercard Credit Cards and Debit Cards online, then you need to involve a third-party payment processor. They will authorise the transactions and remit funds to the vendors as necessary.

The payment processors that are valid in Trinidad and Tobago are WiPay, Paywise and First Atlantic Commerce (FAC).

WiPay is for more for small businesses that need to set up quickly without much red tape. It comes with its own WooCommerce plugin.

First Atlantic Commerce is for serious-minded businesses as they offer more features. They, therefore, require a little more setup and the acquiring of a merchant account from your bank of choice. Eg. Republic Bank, Royal Bank and Scotia Bank. You will need to build the integration yourself or purchase from a third party.

7. Setup Shipping Logistics

In order to have goods shipped to the customer’s location, you need to set up shipping zones and the rates for each zone.

Local Deliveries

For local deliveries between Trinidad and Tobago, there are a number of couriers to choose from:

International Deliveries

For delivery of goods to persons outside of Trinidad and Tobago, the following couriers are available:

8. Configure Email Marketing

In order to send out bulk transactional and marketing emails to customers, you need to set up a proper email system. It is not recommended to send emails from your hosting server.

Our recommended email service provider is:

Sendinblue

6. Add Products

After setting up the e-commerce website in Trinidad and Tobago, you need to begin adding products. Go to the Products section of WooCommerce and add all the products you would like to sell. Enter the title, image, gallery images, short and long description, any variations and so on.

7. Run Tests

Before going live with your e-commerce website, a thorough test must be performed with the entire site. Test from being a new customer to purchasing an item. All kinks need to be worked out before launch.

8. Go Live

Finally! Your website is all set up, products are added and the site is tested and working correctly. You need now to set up a launch day. You promote your site’s launch day to various channels such as social media (Facebook, Instagram), flyers, tv or ad.

On go-live day, you sit back and monitor the visitor traffic, any issues that may arise and the sales that come in.

Final Thoughts

Congratulations on your new e-commerce website! Be sure to also read our article on how to start an online business for further information.

If you need help setting up your own e-Commerce website in Trinidad and Tobago, then we would love to help. Give us a call today!

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