Setting up your ecommerce site

According to Forrester Research, U.S. online retail sales grew 12.6 percent to $176.2 billion in 2010, and they’re expected to reach $278.9 billion by 2015.  If you have a brick-and-mortar store, you could be using the Internet to take your piece of that percentage.
Here are some ways to start up your ecommerce store.

1. Get some help from the pros.

Companies like Bigcommerce, Shopify, Goodsie, Jumpseller and Volusion were designed to help you get your company online. Like when you start a website, there are plenty of things to think about: hosting, design, coding, servers…not with these guys. You can design the look, feel, and interactivity of your site without needing to hire someone to do it. It’s a great place to start.

2. Figure out how you will accept payment.

In this case, more might be better. Some people won’t put their credit card information into a website and only use third-parties. Others don’t trust the third parties. You should have several options available.

More and more often, we see the PayPal option on websites, so it’s definitely one to consider. It’s a trusted third-party site, but keep in mind it does charge a 2.9% transaction fee. You can obtain a merchant account with each of the credit card companies. Be aware that they will also charge a transaction fee. The rates vary; some charge monthly or annually, others want 10 or 20 cents plus a percentage of the transaction.

You probably went through something similar when you set up your brick-and-mortar store, so don’t be afraid to do your homework here, too.

3. Figure out shipping costs.

You’ve shopped online before. You know the rules. Are you going to offer free shipping after a certain amount? Are you going to offer different types of shipping? Are you just going to Google it? (Seriously, most of your questions/concerns can be found with a specific Google search. Like this) When you figure it out, make sure it’s visible. You don’t want to surprise people.

4. Get a lightbox.

Online, your customers don’t get to see your products, so take some pictures of them. And, take some nice pictures. It may be obvious, but think about what you like to see when you’re shopping online. Ask your friends and family what kind of photo or picture or information would help them when they shop online. Apply their wisdom.

5. To feedback or not to feedback?

Do you want customers to be able to review the products? Probably. Even if no one uses the function, it sometimes acts as a security blanket. It gives you an added layer of customer service, too. If someone gives a product a bad review, you can respond and fix it. And, you never know what high marks will do for a product. A few four and five star reviews could get the ball rolling.

Setting up an ecommerce site is a great way to bolster your business. You can address customer concerns, find a new demographic, and add sales where no one had shopped before.

Have you added an ecommerce site to your brick-and-mortar store? What do you wish you had known? Share in the comments below!

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Posted on July 15, 2013, in Biz Tips, Entrepreneur, Internet, Small Business and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. If you want to set up an e-commerce store using WordPress, check out Cart66. It’s the only WordPress solution for e-commerce that gives you everything you need all in one easy to use package. You get all the e-commerce features like built-in recurring billing, selling digital & physical products, etc. and it also provides all the security you need for a safe and PCI compliant online store. Plus, using WordPress, you get access to tons of themes too! Cart66 is kind of like Shopify or Big Commerce (like you mentioned above) but for WordPress. http://cart66.com

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