STARTING eCommerce STORE
eCommerce or electronic commerce is the buying and selling of goods or service using the internet.
Topics for discussion in today’s post:
- What is eCommerce
- Why eCommerce
- How to start
- How to survive in the game
Sometimes it could be daunting kick starting a business or an adventure you have zero knowledge about leading to woeful failure at the end which was not the motive.
In view of this, starting an eCommerce business, should follow an outline pattern, though not a mandatory rule but doing so would bootstrap the journey from start to finish.
eCommerce as we all know, is one of the most popular and lucrative ways one can use to make steady income purely online by selling goods and services to consumers via the internet and receiving cash(digital) and other incentives in return.
Ways to work online:
- Affiliate marketing
- Drop shipping
This list is not definite but above is key areas worth venturing.
In all, the main focus is on eCommerce as I see it to be one of the best to venture into and how to do it perfectly.
2. WHAT IS ECOMMERCE
eCommerce or electronic commerce, is the buying and selling of goods or services using the internet.
Gone are the days when the only available jobs were brick-and-mortar businesses. With the inception and fast growing of technology, ways of doing things including businesses changed drastically.
Prior to kick starting commerce business, it is highly imperative to first get a business model to operate with.
Buying and selling of goods and services over the internet (eCommerce) can be done in four (4) ways:
- Business to Business (B2B)
- Business to customer (B2C)
- Consumer to Consumer (C2C)
- Consumer to Business (C2B)
Business to Business (B2B)
B2B or Business to Business, specifically involves companies doing business with each other. The final consumer is out of the scope in this model. Transaction is only done between companies; whole sales, retails, manufacturing.
B2B is not a straight forward or simple business as it involves company A selling to B. It is therefore incumbent on you to analyze your strength and weaknesses before venturing.
If you are already into manufacturing, retail or whole sale, B2B is a model you could consider as some companies run it alongside B2C.
Business to Consumer (B2C)
With B2C, company(s) sell directly to consumers who are the end users of the product or service. Consumers make a selection of their item of choice from the producer’s website and place a purchase which is then ship to the buyer in his desired location.
One major advantage of B2C is the elimination of third party or middle men who use to make transaction quite difficult for in particular, end users as they turn to make lot of profit out of their service.
In order to maintain a B2C business model, you need to maintain a steady sales in order to stay viable.
Consumer to Consumer (C2C)
With this model, consumers are in direct contact with each other in quest to sell their products. You are able to sell items to an interested personal. Electronics are the most common items traded in this model and it is simple to do. Other items include cars, bikes, refrigerators etc.
Consumer to Business (C2B)
Take the reverse of B2C and it is C2B. Consumer sell his product or service to the company. A software developer who sells a software to a company is a clear example of C2B.
With the four(4) modules explain above, you should be able to identify your interest area by now.
3. WHY ECOMMERCE
With today’s competitive world, businesses need to find ways and means of staying atop irrespective of the situation and among many other ways, a clear route that have proven to work out for many is eCommerce.
Lot of start ups are now migrating to commerce due to many reasons and as such, there is the need to also migrate if you already running a business or, start one with immediate effect in the commerce industry.
Key reasons why you should consider starting an eCommerce store or migrate an existing store to commerce include but not limited to the following below:
Global reach. Number one in any business list unless otherwise, is to reach many clients and sell products. With the online world, you are able to expose your products to millions of consumers across the globe in the confine of your home. Fortunately, getting products to be marketed is also made simple through the help of affiliates, who do the marketing on your behalf in return of an agreed commission. Other avenue to market products and get wider reach include Facebook ads, LinkedIn, Instagram, Google ads etc.
Save time and energy. It saves time and energy on the part of the consumer and the supplier as everything is mostly automated.
Fast response time. It allows the customer to be in touch with the producers without any hindrance through divers means like direct phone calls, skype, chart help on the website, emails etc.
Quick delivery. Another great feature is the delivery time. As almost everything is automated, consumer’s are assured of delivery date of products and place little effort on the consumers side, which is vital in keeping costumers to a business.
It is convenient. An online store is available 24/7 which means, buying and selling can go on irrespective of the day or time whilst the business owner himself might not even be available which can not be the case for brick-and-mortar business.
4. HOW TO START ECOMMERCE STORE
eCommerce sales currently account for 17.2% of all retail sales. There is no better time to start than now!.
Having an online store is the journey to financial freedom but could be disappointing if you fail to do it right. Nothing much to worry about with the approach below.
Find domain name and hosting
Every business need an identity or a unique name. Spend some time and research to come out with a nice name that mimic your business or something enticing to the ear.
After settling on a name, your ecommerce store need to be hosted live online before it can be access via online across the globe. There are dozens of hosting companies available but the one I will recommend is HostGator and you can get 20% off all hosting plans with coupon code SNAPPY with free domain name for a year.
Find eCommerce website builder
With domain name and hosting done, find a platform that will help you build ecommerce website or store without much difficulty. With HostGator as your hosting company, select WordPress hosting direct from the hosting plan or, install WordPress from cPanel after selecting ‘Website Builder‘ package.
Once WordPress is installed, to make things easier, do not be in a rush to install any ecommerce theme or plugin right away.
Am about to show you a theme, which will simplify the whole process for you even with little or no knowledge in core programming, development still will be a light work for you.
Install a theme.
The theme that will simplify the whole process is Astra-WooCommerce. Astra-WooCommerce is a light weight and highly customizable theme that helps you create fast, feature-reach and beautiful WooCommerce store.
With over 700,000+ websites relying heavily on Astra, absolutely nothing is to be worried about when contemplating of joining this domain.
Large user base means strong customer support from Astra. A core area in the growth of every business that relies on a third party for a service.
Why use Astra-WooConnerce
Speed. A sluggish website that takes time in loading is more likely to drive clients away. Customer retention is vital in the success of eCommerce.
With Astra already light in weight, it gives you cutting edge speed to satisfy clients demand. Statistically, a site that takes more than 3 minutes in loading can drive away 70% of your customers.
Totally Responsive. Astra theme offers responsiveness for all device types which makes it easy for clients to use shopping site on any device of their choice.
On the other hand, store owners can also fully manage sites on a tablet or smart phone due to the responsiveness of Astra theme.
Free starter templates. Ready to start eCommerce store without funds to purchase plug-ins, you are fully covered by the starter free templates.
The Starter Templates plugin cuts down the time and efforts required to build a beautiful eCommerce store from scratch. It offers a library of stunning ready to use sites and pages. You can take a look at some attractive ready to use website demos listed in the article here. Each of these can be imported as a complete website or you can pick individual pages as needed.
SEO Friendly. Astra is an SEO friendly WooCommerce theme which simply means, search engines can crawl each page of your website more efficiently and thereby serving relevant pages to end users and bringing traffic to your website or platform leading to lead generation.
You can also use other features like plug-ins to boost the heath of your website.
Conversion ready check-out. Majority abandon the cart during check-out siting reasons like clumsy appearance, voluminous and unnecessary questions, leading to check-out termination.
It is not the case here with Astra, you have the tools to optimized and cut down abandonment rate by offering clean, clear and concise check-out process for clients.
First class support. It is undeniable fact that, at least minor problems can pop-up along the line on eCommerce websites which can be frustrating particularly when you have a strong user base.
Good news for you!. Astra get a strong support team always ready to listen, discus and tackle any issues that might arise. Be it human support or documentation, there is absolutely nothing to worry about.
Best pricing. Astra a free theme with pricing options if you want to do more advance stuff.
But it pricing still come at a cheap rate compared to other platforms. Below is the brake down if you want to migrate to a paid plan.
- Astra Pro – $59.
- Mini Agency Bundle – $276 (Special Price – $169).
- Agency Bundle – $523 (Special Price – $249).
Packages in annual pricing can be found here.
One-time Lifetime Pricing:
- Astra Pro – $249.
- Startup – $996 (Special Price – $499).
- Agency – $1893 (Special Price – $699).
Packages for lifetime pricing can be found here.
With your theme installed be it free or Astra pro, all that is left is customizing the look and feel of your new eCommerce store!
You can always start with the free version and upgrade anytime without any braking changes. All it take is a click and the rest is taken care of by the vibrant theme of Astra.
5. How to survive eCommerce industry
With the store up and running, driving traffic is a way in letting the world know about the store and with time, organic traffic will speak on your behalf.
It is highly recommend though not a must, to have at least, social media pages for the business. It could be Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube etc.
I found pinterest to be one of the easy ways to drive traffic to your site in an easy way and it is still free.
On the other hand, you can opt in for Facebook ads, Google Ads, LinkedIn etc. But as a beginner if in your case, start with free ways of driving traffic before moving into paid advertising.
Here is over 20 list of social media sites you can join and start marking your store to viewers, followers and friends.
In addition and a key area, the grammar on your site should be devoid of grouse errors in terms of spelling mistakes. It can be daunting to check these out when writing large content.
It is therefor advisable to use Grammarly which will do the grammar checking for you automatically. This would save you lot of time and energy.
That was a clear road map in starting eCommerce store. Procrastination is indeed a killer of time. Start that awaited store today with Astra-WooCommerce and keep building towards financial freedom.
Hope to see you lunching the next mega eCommerce store. Good luck.
"If you build great experience, customers tell each other about that. Word of mouth is very powerful."
Jeff Bezos - Founder of Amazon.