Starting your own business has never been easier and the playing field has never been more level. The only thing in your way is, well, where to start. Start with an E-Commerce website!
Whether you’re the creative with a once-in-a-lifetime product or the entrepreneur who see the massive potential that an eCommerce business has. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the 2018 quarterly eCommerce total retail sales has reached 123.7 billion. Wouldn’t we all love a piece of that pie!
All the information in the world that is at-hand, it’s a curse and a blessing to have so much at your disposal. The question is no longer how to begin, but what’s the best way to begin?
A plethora of information is great when you know what you’re looking for. We’re writing a two-part series for eCommerce business in light of the new eCommerce sales tax ruling that we explained in our last post.
There are two routes you can take: The creative in you will want to sell a product or service that only you can do or you want to source products from other creators and manufacturers.
Let’s begin with the former.
There’s a product you’ve created that is completely unique, like wooden carvings of movie and music icons, and you want others to enjoy the labors of your skill. Building an E-Commerce website for your wooden carvings is simple enough to do to observe if you’re unique skill will take off.
Now, the latter.
If you’re not too keen on creating your own products but you have a knack for products that will sell, your other option is to obtain them from other creators and manufacturers. Your E-Commerce website has the option to stock up on merchandise or go the dropshipping route. What this course of action needs is thorough market research. Which products have a demand for them and which ones will sell.
The worst thing to happen is having a massive inventory of an item that just doesn’t sell.
Ask any eCommerce SEO company and they’ll tell you the same thing; thorough research of the product and the competition is the best way to prepare yourself from disaster.
Explore some of these sites that were built to help new eCommerce businesses to prepare for their new ventures.
Again, the internet has made it infinitely easier to find everything you might need, including a supplier. Online supplier directories like Alibaba, Global Sources and Thomas Net can help you find potential vendors for your eCommerce website.
Here’s where many newcomers seem to become intimidated because they’re going to have to deal with the technology aspect of eCommerce. Fortunately, there are many eCommerce SEO companies that offer their eCommerce SEO services to not only build your platform, but can also deal with the maintenance of an E-Commerce website. An eCommerce SEO agency will also use their SEO expertise to optimize your eCommerce products to rank high in the search pages.
A couple of the hosted hosting platforms are Shopify, Bigcommerce and Squarespace, but this is a decision that is usually reserved between you and your eCommerce SEO company. These platforms are DIY entrepreneurs who don’t want the help of an eCommerce SEO agency and want to approach it on their own. As you may come to realize, for the nontechnical people in us, it comes with many limitations.
Self-hosted platforms, such as: Magento and Woocommerce are open-source platforms that require you to host, implement, and maintain your store. Unless you have a technical understanding of web hosting and ecommerce, you’ll need to hire an eCommerce SEO specialist to help you establish and run your ecommerce website.
Choosing the right hosting platform is an extremely important decision that we highly advise you spend as much time researching and becoming familiar with the platform you feel is best. We don’t want to sound discouraging but your eCommerce platform can make or break your business.
Take this checklist into consideration:
1.Take the hosting platform for a trial run: Many full-hosted and self-hosted platforms allow for a trial for new users to get a feel for the platform and decide if it’s correct for their business. Remember, a fully-hosted platform may get you up-and-running quickly but may come with limitations. A self-hosted may be more complicated but can allow for more features and tools. Hiring an eCommerce SEO agency can offer their services to develop and manage it.
2.Use their resources: Get in touch with the software’s sales and support team. Talk to them regarding your eCommerce business, your needs, your products, processes, and ask how they can support your requirements. You also want to get a feel for these teams because they play a huge role in the success of your business. You’re going to interact with these teams a whole lot, so you want to know that they’ll be there for you when you need them. See what their communication and responsiveness is like.
3.Check out their clients: See if you can get in touch with business who have experienced what you have during the initial phases of using the platform. Discussing about their experience and possibly share insights on what helped them succeed can be a huge bonus.
As important choosing an E-Commerce website platform is, choosing a payment option can be just as critical. You’ll want to make sure you choose the right payment gateway that you’re most comfortable with and makes the most financial sense in your business. Some of the top payment gateways to accept credit cards on your E-Commerce website are:
Here are some of the factors to take in when deciding which payment gateway you’d like to proceed with.
1.Fees – Each payment gateway has their own fees and ways of determining those rates. You may encounter some providers that have fixed costs, while others have variables that determine percentages and fees for their service. Take into consideration your prices and sales volume to figure which path makes the most financial sense.
2.Payment Types – Other than traditional credit card payments, what other non-traditional forms of payment do you plan to accept? New currencies such as Bitcoin are gaining traction with eCommerce websites but it’s a risk we highly advise you research beforehand. Fluctuating rises and drops from payment types like Bitcoin comes with a risk because it’s still difficult to factor in its stability within the currency market.
3.Integrated Payments – When your payment gateway integrates with your E-Commerce website platform, your customers won’t have to leave your website to enter their payment information and complete the purchase, making their checkout experience much smoother.
Our next blog post will dive deeper for those eCommerce businesses that would like to learn more about eCommerce SEO, how to choose the best eCommerce SEO company, and the best way to prep against the eCommerce sales tax. Take a look at our blog for other insights, in not only SEO, but other strategies and tips that can help your business succeed using digital marketing.