5 Ecommerce Essentials before you set up your own site
Any credible captain of a ship should invest in a plethora of research about their journey before they head off on a maiden voyage. It’s no different when you’re setting up your own ecommerce shop for the very first time either.
This sort of expedition will not be easy. You’ll have to ride rough waves before any smooth sailing occurs and it’ll be a long time before you anchor down and moor-up for a good night’s rest. However, the following ecommerce site set up tips should strengthen your hull.1. Know the Law of Ecommerce
First and foremost, it is your responsibility to know the laws, rules and regulations of setting up, owning and selling on an ecommerce site. You will be governed in the same way as any high street shop and have to abide by the same laws, plus a few more along the way. Depending on whether you are selling direct to the public or to businesses and what sorts of products you are selling, online rules may vary. Worst case scenarios could see you issuing unwarranted refunds or being sued. So know your law! (find link to laws?)2. Choose your ecommerce solution wisely
Renting an ecommerce shop is a very similar scenario to how it works in the real world - you can rent a really nice place and put lovely things in it but it’ll never actually be yours. Also, when it’s time to move or request planning permission for an extension, it can be a real pain. However, to begin with, the ease and simplicity of it can be a perfect solution if you’re on a budget. You’ll notice that for relatively cheap you can acquire a store, drop in a logo, add a splash of colour and start selling instantly.
The alternative is to buy your and own your own. Ecommerce solutions, in this format, are excellent. Custom design, endless editing and unlimited options mean that you have more freedom for your sites products, their prices and its overall performance. With the ability to improve your SEO dramatically, ecommerce sites such as this are often favourable. Despite being more expensive to start up, they do work out cheaper than the monthly fee of renting, in the long run.
If you’re struggling to name your ecommerce shop have a read of this
.3. Managing Payments
Don’t make this the last thing on your agenda. Figuring out how you’d prefer to receive and manage your payments is crucial and there are a couple of ways of going about it: PayPal are a trusted source for any beginners. Accepting a wide range of regular card payments and dealing with credit card legalities, they are a firm favourite. The only downside being that they charge around 3.5% per transaction therefore crippling any big numbered sales.
The flipside is to take direct card payments. This a way more credible method in becoming an established and trusted player in the online store game. Now, it is a little more complicated as you need something called an SSL certificate which allows website transactions to be made through a bullet-proof HTTPS are of your ecommerce site. However, this does mean that you are solely responsible for your customer’s credit card details rather than a host like PayPal, who deal with this stuff as part of their fee. The final two pieces of the puzzle come in the form of a merchant account from your bank and an official ISO registration to state that you are handling personal data.4. Organisation Station
When you are finally ready to start selling and trading, it may dawn upon you how unprepared you are to meet the demands. If you are only use to checking your emails a couple of times per week – this will have to change. The worst mistake you can make it to lose your first customers. You must set a president by responding to their requests, orders, queries and delivery demands. If you do this well, hopefully they’ll remain loyal. Some ecommerce sites use automated emails that notify customers that their response has been acknowledged or met. This is an efficient, yet less personal, solution.5. Hands-on & proactive marketing
Once you’ve unveiled yourself to the online shopping galaxy, don’t expect all the species to dwell on your planet only – there are thousands just like you, if not better - therefore, you have to entice them! Proactivity within the realms of networking are one way of putting yourself out there. Whether it be offline with friends, old colleagues, family members (even the ones you dislike) or online with other businesses, online forums and the likes, you must be proactive with marketing. Improving your SEO, social media and content (blogs & email) are other ways in which you can propel your ecommerce messages. You can also do this via your ecommerce shop by promoting popular items, monitoring sales and analysing where the success is.
Any new start-up will be a battle. But to ensure you don’t capsize or sink like the titanic you must be bold enough to walk the plank, take risks and remember the ecommerce tips in this article!