Selling online has become one of the cornerstones of most businesses. The ability to have a virtual shop, open 24/7 to everyone around the world can breath new life into a business, brand or product.
Setting it up however can be daunting for most. It can seem it is more trouble then it is worth, but if your product is worth selling, and if the demand is there then why wouldn’t you want to tap into the huge levels of online sales which are available.
In 2012, some €4bn was spent online in Ireland. Of that around 75% was sent to companies outside Ireland. There is no reason why we, as a country should not try and reduce that number and keep more of it here where it is needed!
Setting Up An Ecommerce Website
Pick Your Developer Wisely
An e-commerce website can be tricky to get right. You need to make sure it is structured in the right way to maximise sales. While a designer might think the website looks fantastic, making sure it converts is what the website is to do first and foremost.
Ask for previous examples of e-commerce websites they have created. Once you have them, go to that website and look at everything, from how the products are displayed to the checkout process.
Pick Your CMS
Picking your Content Management System is one of the most important decisions you can make. Look at the number of products you will be selling online. If you have a small number, then perhaps something like WordPress or Joomla would be ideal. For large numbers of products, a CMS like Magento can cater for you numbers.
Bare in mind that your online store may grow over time. You may spend more money redeveloping it in the future to cater for more products, but with of foresight this can be reduced if you pick the right CMS. The last thing you would want is to have a complete redevelopment that changes everything in the background.
Payment Service Providers (PSPs)
Getting money off customers is what you will be setting up an e-commerce website for. There are many Payment Service Providers such as PayPal, Realex and SagePay who can cater for websites big and small.
However, think very carefully which one you would want to go with. Some will charge larger percentages per transactions than others. Most PSPs (excluding PayPal) will give you a certain number of transactions for a fixed price, after which a cost per transaction will apply.
Having set up many an e-commerce website it is always best to start on the lowest tariff here and work your way up depending on sales are going.
Build It And They Will Come
You have spend time and more importantly money developing your website to be totally awesome. Now we wait and watch the money flow in? WRONG! Unless your product is totally brilliant and everyone cannot live without it, the likelihood is you need to spread the word about your website.
To do this, consider three main aspects:
- Online advertising (Facebook ads, Google Adwords, Bing Ads, LinkedIn Ads)
- Search engine optimisation
- Social media
But what do you do once they come, you test! A website is never ever finished, you constantly need to refine it to get the best out of it. Testing different parts of the website will allow you to see what makes you sales and what doesn’t. Knowing what makes you sales will hopefully get you even more sales and the cycle goes on, and on, and on…you get the picture.
E-commerce is not all that difficult, but be sure to pick the right people to help you. There are pitfalls you would want to avoid.
Identify what you perceive to be your goals and work towards them.