January 31, 2016

Ecommerce

Selling online has never been easier, or cheaper!  You may decide to sell through an online “shopping mall” like Amazon, Etsy, eBay, or Google Merchant Center, or perhaps you would prefer to have better control of design, inventory management, payments, etc. and are thinking of launching your own ecommerce site using Shopify, Bigcommerce, Zencart, or one of many others.

amazon products

WP Lab’s add-on for displaying Amazon products in a WordPress site

Before you make your decision, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Do I have realistic expectations of how much I will be able to sell? Setting up an online store is like setting up a brick-and-mortar store in that both require a sound business plan based on marketplace research and realistic financial projections.
  2. Do I have a budget, both in time and money, for building the online store I want? Unless you are the only person selling something that you have proof is in high demand, there will be a period of negative cash flow. How long can you sustain?
  3. What is my time frame? How do I know it’s realistic?
  4. Do I have a reliable supply chain? Is it scalable?
  5. How will I attract customers to my online store? Will you allocate time and money for search engine optimization right from the start? Will you you use social media to help promote your store?
  6. How will I manage the site, including inventory? How much time will you yourself devote to the task, and how much can you hire out?
  7. How will I accept payment? Many platforms, such as Amazon, Etsy, Shopify, Big Commerce, etc. make this pretty easy.
  8. How will I handle customer service, including returns?

    shopify product screen

    Shopify’s product management screen

  9. How do I collect taxes?
  10. How do I handle shipping, including calculating shipping costs?
  11. How can I display my products effectively so that buyers have a good idea of what they are getting?
  12. Am I able to write effective product descriptions, as well as other copy for the site?

I will walk you through these and many more decisions as we build your online shop.  Contact me to get started.