Even though Dr. Fox Mag is a great place for learning how to take care of your dog, learning how to take care of your online business may require a little more documentation. These days, everyone and their grandma are looking to open an online commerce (or e-commerce) store so let’s look at a few things you should know you need before trying it yourself.
Who can do it?
The large barriers that exist in the traditional commerce store world simply do not exist online due to the Internet. You don’t need to spend months searching for potential premises or spending small fortunes on lease or employees. You don’t even need to buy the stock upfront since many eCommerce stores only buy it after they’ve made the actual sale.
All you need is a website that will be relatively easy to get if you have the necessary know-how and a way to process and secure your payments. Due to this, pretty much anyone can start an eCommerce store if they have half a mind to do it.
A product to sell
First things first, you are going to need one or more products to sell. You can either choose something that you produce in-house or, if not, source the items externally. The beautiful thing is that an online supplier can also work with offline ones as well if they so desire, even though the process will be a little more complicated.
Digital or physical good?
While one can definitely look to create an online store where they sell physical goods, the Internet gives you the option to sell digital products as well. For instance, think eBooks rather than regular books and downloadable music instead of DVDs.
The advantages of digital goods are obvious: No delivery waiting time for the buyer and no delivery cost for the seller. Everybody wins!
Shaping the website
The main difference between an eCommerce store and a brick-and-mortar one is the actual place where you do business. Since your website will be the place where you interact with your customers and show them what you have to sell, this is something you absolutely must get right.
If you’ve never built one before, and chances are you haven’t, it’s probably a good idea to go to a seasoned professional who, for a decent fee, will be able to do it for you as well as explain the necessary steps.
Now there are two main platforms out there that already provide all the necessary framework and you can simply go in and customize it to your liking. They are called WordPress and Shopify so, if we got you interested, check them out after you’re done reading this.
Hosting and domain
A web host is, essentially, the place where your website is stored on a server so it can be accessed by other Internet users. Since every web page needs one, you must make a decision about this. The good news is that the two platforms above come with a myriad of choices for your business plan, so that’s a good place to start.
Your domain, on the other hand, is your actual web address and what your customers will have to type in to find you. While you’ll likely be supplied with a free one, to begin with if you decide to use those platforms, purchasing a custom domain is highly recommended and looks much more professional.
As an eCommerce business owner, you are going to need a way to authorize and process your financial transactions since the money will not simply be transferred into your bank account.
The way this works is that after each successful sale, the money goes to a holding account called a merchant account and then you will be able to transfer them into your own one. Again, working with one of the two platforms will net you a lot of options about this one, as well.
Since you are going to be working with money, you’ll need to add on-site security before you can begin taking orders. Every online store must comply with a standardized set of rules called PCI compliance.
The good news is that, again, if you’re going to be e-working through the platforms we’ve raved on until now, you won’t have to deal with this since all of their solutions are PCI-compliant already.
Therefore, there’s nothing stopping you from going out into the great world of the Internet and starting your own eCommerce adventure!