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Setting Up An ECommerce Business In Three Easy Steps

The consistent and thriving growth of the internet has allowed new opportunities to open up within trade and marketing sectors of business, providing new ways to sell and buy products and services for everyone and anyone. Not so long ago, starting up your own business was often a particularly hefty job, especially when you had to source the funds to open up a physical location in which for your business to run. Many fresh business owners had to quit their regular job and obtain bank loans before they could start to build their company at all, and up to fifty percent of them didn’t succeed at all. These days, if you are willing to invest your time and energy into learning all you can about the internet and the market that you are interested in, then you may find more trade opportunities open to you than you had realised. Typically, it is possible to anyone with the right attitude to establish an ecommerce business with reasonably nominal funds and minimal risk. So where do you get started? Well, a little bit of research will tell you relatively quickly there are a few things you need to get done when you’re launching an eCommerce business and you want to ensure your success.

1) Open a business checking account for yourself and get a business credit card. As many people will inform you throughout your journey, it is absolutely essential that you keep your business and personal assets separate from one another. As soon as you have decided to start your eCommerce business, open up a business checking account and get a business credit card. Remember, if you are on reasonably good terms with your bank, it may be a good idea to talk to them first, as they could offer you a discount or preferential treatment.

2) Study your competition and make your business stand out. Before you start designing the website for your eCommerce business, it’s always a good idea to check out your competition. Go online for a couple of hours and browse the types of sites that similar companies to the one that you aim to produce have. Bookmark the sites that you like the best and make notes about things that you may want to use on your own website. Write down what it is that you like about these things, and send the links to your designer or web developer, as this could help to speed up your designing process, saving you money. Remember, however, even if you want your website to be somewhat similar to other sites that you have seen, you should be sure that it still stands out from the competition – the last thing you want to do is blend in.

3) Choose your eCommerce solution. There are various eCommerce shopping cars and platforms out there that are designed especially for small businesses, but you need to decide which one is right for your business. Before you sign up with any software, see whether you can take a free trial.

Carol Friel is an ecommerce professional. She often visits www.ecommera.com.

eCommerce Suppliers are the key in an online business

So – I’ve been blogging for the past couple months about my motorcycle fairing project.  We have seen a few orders so far…the first one has been a disaster and are working on the next 2.

eCommerce Suppliers are key

tail_fairingleft_logo_mismatchThe problem with the first order has been (I wish I could say was – but, its still going on) the factory who was making the fairing.  The had no problem quoting the fairing and taking the money, but when they shipped the order to the customer – it has issues.  Logos were misaligned and colors didn’t match as they should – one piece had paint bubbles in it too.

Second Fairing Supplier

So – as I have heard from a few different eCommerce businesses – you need to have backup ecommerce suppliers, especially if you are in a drop ship business.  By not having leverage and options – you can paint yourself into a corner if you’re not careful.

1We will soon see how the second vendor works out – here is the “pre clear coat” version from supplier #2.

The customer wanted the Monster style paint, clean – without logos for their Kawasaki Ninja.

The one thing I like that #2 did was give myself and the customer pictures so they could visually inspect the paint prior to finalizing the order.

What to do?

The game plan right now is see if the customer wants a refund or new fairings.  I hope the former – new fairings will cost an arm and a leg…but the goal here is to keep the customer as happy as I possibly can.  I’m not sure how that is going to work for now – we’ll soon find out.

We’ll know more soon…

Lets hope this one turns out better as well as the third order, which we have yet to see pictures for yet from the #2 ecommerce supplier.

Stay tuned for more eCommerce fun in the future.

The How To Guide to WordPress with WooCommerce

Start your engine

Start your engine (Photo credit: pobre.ch)

Well, maybe this should read…how I did it, or better yet – how I plan to.

Firstly, besides by family – I love the web, shopping on the web, wordpress, motorcycles and volkswagens…not necessarily in that order.  I work at a great company called Clickstop (who is a retailer of many goods online – check us out) – but I never like to quit learning.  I came to the company a web developer and have since taken over as the eCommerce Director.  One would think I totally get all things eCommerce and this little journey I have embarked on is crazy…but the thing is – making wholesale changes on sites like ours is not a real good idea.

So, to increase my knowledge – I decided to get a site going which I could continue to pursue my passions (see above) and learn more about my job and the things that go into it.  So, I purchased a defunct ecommerce site called “motorcycle-fairing.com“.  The site was started a few years ago as a drop shipper of motorcycle fairings direct from the factory in China.  Its an interesting business model – and we’ll get more into that as we work on the site and tell the story here on the blog.

Image representing WooThemes as depicted in Cr...

Image by None via CrunchBase

One of my other passions (see above) is wordpress.  So – part of my learning process is also to see what else I can experiment with on wordpress which furthering my ecommerce knowledge.  If you are familiar at all with wordpress, you know it is awesome – but it doesn’t have any ecommerce tools build in.  So, after using WooThemes for quite a while – I chose to leverage their ecommerce plugin called WooCommerce for the site.  WooCommerce is free, as are a number of great themes which are already designed for an online store.

My first challenge will be to get the store up and running, transferring it over from a Ruby on Rails site.  Then there will be a laundry list of things to do after that.

 

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The Retailer’s Guide To ECommerce Success


Image by: Jurgen Appelo 

 

Competition is fierce in the retail industry. With multi channel retail, the rise of online shopping and the world economies taking a hit, you need that X factor to really stand out to your customers.

Right now eCommerce is huge, and it looks set to continue to grow. There is no easier way to open up your business to a global audience and join the worldwide shop front that is online retail. But succeeding in this space is tough. There are pitfalls and setbacks galore ahead, so listen up and heed our words. Here’s some solid advice for you, the retailer, and hopefully guide you to eCommerce success!

  1. Be Brand-Aware

    Having a strong brand is important. This is how your customers will come to recognise you and the quality service you provide. Neglecting to pay attention to your branding – whether it’s your logo, site design or the stamp you use on your delivery boxes – can damage your credibility and hurt sales.

  2. Get An ‘Edge’

    Do you know how many eCommerce sites there are out there? No, neither do I, but there’s a lot, and they’re all vying for the attention of click-happy shoppers everywhere. If you want to stand out and get the business you want you need to find your niche. What makes your site and service special? What can you offer that no one else can? Have a think, work hard at it, and eventually you will find your unique selling point.

  3. Be User Friendly

    If you look at popular sites that are built on eCommerce (see Amazon, Ebay and Asos) it’s what you don’t notice that counts. The loading speed? The payment systems? The presentation? These all affect the user and can stand in the way of an optimum shopping experience. Be like these three juggernauts: keep it clean, keep it clear, and always keep your user in mind when designing you site.

  4. Reward Your Customers

    It is important to appreciate the business when you get it, no matter how big you get. Be sure to reward your customers with deals, sales and competitions to make sure they feel loved! These techniques are also great ways to attract new customers to your site.

  5. Use Social Media

    To ignore social media as an online business is to ignore a useful, boundless source on information and interaction with your consumer base. Twitter and Facebook can be great for searching out business and attracting followers. It can be used as a soundboard to see what your community really want. And it can also be used to launch competitions, answer questions and complaints and generally improve your digital footprint.

Follow these tips and you’ll be a sure-fire hit in the digital marketplace. So get designing, get your eCommerce software set up, and get your products out there.

Have you got any other suggestions to guarantee your eCommerce business success? Share in the comments below.

Featured images:

Grant Bailey is a writer for K3 Retail. His specialist areas are social media and marketing, both indispensable tools in the modern retailing.

Boost Your Income With An E-Commerce Store

In the good old days, a job was for life.  You left school, found employment in a local business and then spent the next few decades toiling away until retirement came along and you were given a gold watch before being put out to pasture.  Sadly times have changed and these days a job is no longer for life.  In fact you are probably lucky if you have a permanent position at all.  As the recession continues to bite, more and more people are being forced into part-time employment with temporary contracts, which is why a secondary income is a necessity for many.

Become an Internet Entrepreneur

Internet businesses are booming and the age of the online entrepreneur is upon us.  All you need is a good idea and a strong desire to succeed.  The rest is down to hard work and a little bit of luck.

Great Reasons to Work from Home

Working from home is the ideal way to earn a part-time income.  You can work flexible hours that fit in around your existing job or family commitments.  If you have a full-time job, a flexible second job allows you to work evenings or weekends and generate a bit of extra income to pay for the little extras in life.  Working from home also keeps you connected to family, which is essential if you have children and are the primary carer.

What is an E-Commerce Store?

An e-commerce store is no different to any other store apart from the fact it is based solely online.  Traditional stores are run from a bricks and mortar premises.  Naturally this leads to significant overheads since utilities, rent and other associated costs are not cheap.  Running an e-commerce store is considerably cheaper and the start-up costs for such a business are well within the means of most people.

What Do I Need to Create an E-Commerce Store?

  • A product or service – In order to have a successful e-commerce store, you need to be selling something other people want to buy.
  • A good quality website – In order to sell products or services online, you will need some kind of e-commerce shopping cart system.  It is possible to start small and sell via online auction sites such as eBay, but if you want to maximise sales, you might like to consider an e-commerce platform with ready-made website templates and shopping cart software.
  • Customers – Without customers you are not going to earn any money, so investing in SEO to drive traffic to your e-commerce store is essential.  SEO marketing strategies can include social media marketing, promoting your online store via press releases and blogs and Pay per Click advertising.  But whatever you do, do it sooner rather than later.

Can I Make a Decent Income from an Online Store?

More and more people are choosing to shop online and retailers like Amazon are raking in the cash every minute of every day.  Ok, so you are unlikely to generate profits on the scale of Amazon, but as long as you have a product other people want to buy, there is no reason why your online store should not be a success.

Can I Make it Work Full-Time?

The beauty of setting up an online store is that you can start small and aim high.  It may take a while for a steady stream of income to start trickling in, but as long as you have a quality e-commerce store with a range of great products, your business should soon begin to grow and prosper.  Hopefully, as the business grows and evolves, you can ditch your main job and start working from home full-time.

Jann Webb is a blogger who is always on the lookout for new ways that you make money and promote your business or services in these hard financial times. She recommends contacting a PR Agency in Manchester or your local area who can advise you on online PR and social media opportunities.

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