Getting Online Presence with an eCommerce Website
Are you a business selling products or services from a physical location? Perhaps you already know that you should be selling online as well, but you just don’t know where to get started?
First of all, selling online is no magic bullet. Like everything else, it takes time and effort to get your business established, yet not having an online shop is just missing out on another sales channel.
Creating Your eCommerce Site
The first question to ask yourself when creating your eCommerce site is if you want this to be a major part of your business, or just another avenue for growth.
There are a few online eCommerce options:
Shopify is one of the largest hosted solutions for eCommerce businesses. It is quick to set up, and allows for a simple sales process. However, if you want customize it heavily you probably find this platform too limited.
PrestaShop and Magento are both great open source, highly professional shopping systems. Generally, they’re very easy to set up and allow for unlimited customisation of the site and the products.
An alternative, or a compliment to setting up your own site I to sell via an established marketplace, such as eBay or Amazon. These are both very easy to use, and will give you instant exposure, but will take large commissions from your sales.
Once you have selected your platform, you will generally need to set up a payment gateway. In the USA, the most popular companies are PayPal and Stripe. These providers will be able to take and accept payments online. There is also the added value that both have mobile applications to facilitate mobile payments.
Preparing Your Sales
Once you have decided on the platform and method of selling, there are a variety of tasks you need to complete as part of setting up:
- Make sure you having a good inventory system that can track your products, their SKUs, descriptions and prices
- Work out your shipping costs (if offered) and how you will ship
- Create product bundles to sell as a single item
- Set up and configure discounts. Discount codes, coupons and other promotions will help get people to your site and compel them to spend
- Set up Google Product Feed. This is an XML file, which lets google find your products and show them products in Google search results
- Write an online marketing plan
Once everything is in place and you’re ready to launch, you need to work on marketing your site to get the sales coming in. Build awareness of your site by adding it to invoices, receipts and any other promotional materials you have, including at the physical locations where you sell your products.