Your guide to getting started in e-commerce

E-commerce is a growing business sector. Indeed, through online sales, you have the opportunity to sell to people beyond your region. This is without counting many advantages such as your store open 24/24 and 7 days / 7 and the possibility of saving on the purchase or rental of premises. In today's article, we offer a short guide to help you with your project.

Your guide to getting started in e-commerce

Electronic Commerce is a growing industry and constantly needs passionate people to take it to the next level. Indeed, it gives the possibility of selling without worrying about border barriers, opening hours and many other things. Learn more about online stores through this article.

Getting into e-commerce

You’ve finally made the decision to go into e-commerce. You are wondering what steps to take. Rest assured, you have made a good decision. Indeed, whether you are an individual, a merchant or simply an entrepreneur wanting to make residual income, Electronic Commerce has a place for you … To avoid wasting your time and money, you need to take a few moments to better organize yourself. Here we give you some important steps to take into account to avoid any surprises. The steps are based on our personal experiences and those of many of our clients. If at the end of this reading, you would like to have personalized advice, do not hesitate to ask questions in comments. In the following, we’ll cover 10 important steps to consider in your process.

1 – Types of e-commerce

There are several types of e-commerce including DropShipping, selling affiliate products, or selling your own products. DropShipping or the sale of affiliate products will consist of offering a company’s products to your network through your website or any other web platform. On the other hand, the sale of your own products requires available stock to be offered to your customers. You will therefore have to decide which form of e-commerce fits with your profile. The decision will have to take into account your budget, the time you are willing to invest and your skills.

Choose DropShipping as the type of e-commerce

If you are interested in DropShopping, you have several platforms available to help you. Below is a list of websites you can use to get started:

  • AliExpress – It is a platform dedicated to companies with the aim of connecting Companies to people interested in dropshipping
  • Amazon
  • SaleHoo.
  • Wholesale2B.
  • Worldwide Brands.
  • Wholesale Central.

2 – The domain name

The domain name is your address on the net. For example https://www.prositeweb.ca/ is a domain name. In your process of creating an e-commerce platform, you might need a domain name.

Choose a domain name

The domain name is of paramount importance in any activity on the net. On the one hand, it allows you to identify your website while defining the brand you would like to develop. In order to facilitate your visibility and allow people to remember your site, you should choose a short and precise name. For this purpose, I will recommend that you do a little research on Google to see the domain names used by potential competitors. If you can afford to pay yourself Marketing Agents for a little study, that wouldn’t be a bad idea. However, if your means are limited, searching on Google will give you an overview of the names used. The information to remember are: SHORT (easy to remember) and ACCURATE (blaming yourself as much as possible for your activity).

Find your domain name

When you have decided on the domain name you are interested in, you can do your research with domain name registrars. We can recommend you: https://prosite.ca/ , https://www.godaddy.com/ , https://www.hostpapa.ca/ . Take the time to compare prices, quality and reputation before making a decision.

3 – Choice of host

The choice of host will also depend on the software. However with CMS such as Woocommerce and Magento, you have the choice between the option; self-hosted (hosted by yourself) or hosted by the provider. Each of the two cases has advantages and disadvantages. A self-managed website offers the distinction of being less expensive and more flexible in the long run. However, the downside is that you have to take care of server management and site maintenance yourself. On the other hand, with a platform managed by the supplier, such as Shopify.com or WordPress.com, they take care of the maintenance and a good part of the technical aspect and for a subscription (monthly or annual). Personally I prefer self-managed sites because of the control and flexibility.

4 – Write the content of the e-commerce site

The content of your site will play an important role in the ranking of your site on the search engines. You need to take some time to do some keyword research pertaining to your industry. Indeed, a word according to your terminology is not necessarily what several Internet users use. For example: The term baby carrier could be popularly known as a stroller. Thus, in your content, using the word baby carrier would have more advantage in terms of positioning on search engines.

Content depends on type of e-commerce

If you decide to do affiliate product sales or dropshipping, the writing of the content comes down to the general pages such as the privacy policy, terms and conditions, about… However, for selling your own products you must do it by yourself. What’s important to remember is that the more you describe your products the better.

5-Photos of e-commerce products.

Importance of photos

Unlike a physical store where the customer can see and touch, shoppers rely on product images to make their decisions. Images that are not pretty to look at will scare away your customers, while beautiful images usually have more conversion. When taking the pictures, you need to make sure that you take great pictures while being honest. Many people are reassured to photograph only the beautiful parts of their products and end up having a lot of returned products. The idea is to increase sales and avoid after-sales product returns.

Photo performance factor

Another factor to take into account regarding the images is the format (png, jpg, gif…) and the size of the images (1 MB, 900 kb…) You should be aware that the size of your images can have an impact on the performance of your site. For this purpose, very heavy images should be avoided. It is recommended to have images below kb (less than 900 kb). Considering the maximum dimension of the screens, it is not necessary to have very large images. In order to decide the exact size, you need to take your target audience into account.

Our recommendations for images are: size – less than 900 kb, dimensions and above 2000 px and jpg format. You should only use the png format for logos or for its transparency (in case you want to keep the design uniform)

6 – Delivery method

Choose reliable delivery people

Before you actually get into selling online, you should ask yourself how your customers are going to receive their products. In the sale of affiliate products, the question might not arise as long as the supplier will take care of it. However, if you are selling your own products or doing dropshipping you should consider this factor. It will therefore consist of evaluating the various delivery people who are in your region and arranging for them to do so on time. Some questions that you might ask yourself when choosing a delivery method, for example, are:

  • How long will it take my client to receive their product?
  • How much does it cost to send him his product
  • Are there unserved areas
  • What is the delivery man’s policy in the event of loss or damage
  • What is the history of the delivery person
  • Include methods and condition in the terms and conditions page

    When you have decided what type of delivery method to choose and who you will be doing business with, it is important to clarify all of this on one page of your site: Terms and Conditions page. One of the biggest frustrations for customers is being misinformed. For example, a customer might expect to receive their product in 7 days yet your delivery person does in 3 weeks. Indeed, many companies do not take the time to inform their customers about the delivery conditions. As a result, there is very often a loss of time and money. Also potential customers.

    7- e-commerce payment gateway

    The payment gateway allows you to connect your website to your bank account. It is therefore an important tool in online commerce. If your business targets people in your locality, the choice of gateway may be optional. However, it should not be forgotten that many people can withdraw at the last minute by wasting your time.

    There are several gateways that you can use depending on your country and your financial situation.

    Some payment methods for your e-commerce

    • PayPal – Very popular gateway present in almost every country in the world. It has the particularity of having several currencies depending on your country and to protect the consumer in the event of a dispute. One limitation of PayPal for certain countries is that you must have a bank account to be able to sync your account. For this, PayPal is not very suitable for countries that are still developing.
    • Stripe – Fairly easy to integrate; but not available in several countries. At the moment Stripe is only present in 34 countries ( https://stripe.com/global ); unlike PayPal which is present in more than 200 countries and in more than 25 currencies
    • We Cash Up – A better alternative for developing countries. ( https://www.wecashup.com/en/ ). If you don’t have a bank account and are in a less industrialized country with people who don’t use banks as a method of financial transaction, We Cash Up can help.

    A choice based on technology

    There are an array of payment gateways out there, and the choice will largely depend on what technology you’re using or how much you’re willing to invest in development. You might, for example, find gateway extensions that only work on Magento and not on WooCommerce. This is the reason why you are evaluating multiple gateways in terms of advantages and disadvantages. Your analysis should take into account the cost per transaction, the ease of integration and more importantly the ease of use on your site.

    8- Marketing / Social Media Strategy

    As you probably already know having a website is not enough. You need a marketing strategy to make sure you promote your platform to generate income. Considering your Marketing strategy or the channels to use gives you an idea of what to integrate as a marketing solution. Several developers have released extensions that make it easier to manage your social media platforms or marketing strategy. Some examples are website login extensions to email marketing platforms. You may also have to link your website to Facebook or Google Analytics platforms for better monitoring and continuous improvement.

    9 – The security of your e-commerce site

    The security of your platform is an aspect that should not be neglected. Given the fact that customers will be required to insert personal information in the forms of your site, you must make sure that your platform is as secure as possible. There are several parameters to implement for maximum security. Some of these elements are: SSL certificate, Captcha (to protect forms), protection against brute force attacks with Sitelock…

    Computer program coding on screen

    10 – Choice of technology to use

    Once you have completed the 9 points mentioned above, choosing the technology will be easier. You will only have to ask yourself if the CMS (or Content manager) that you have in front of you fulfills the required conditions.

    There are several ecommerce platform development tools including Shopify, PrestaShop, Magento, and WooCommerce. You need to take some time to consider which CMS fits your short, medium or long term goals the most.

    For example, you can ask yourself questions such as:

    • Will I be able to update my content
    • Do I have the necessary means to manage any bugs
    • Will the tool allow me to easily reach my target.
    • Would it be easy to import my content without any worries …

    Make a choice based on ease of management

    Each content manager has its advantages and disadvantages. How easy it is to manage each one depends on your personal skills or your financial resources. For anyone new to e-commerce, we recommend Shopify or WooCommerce, as setting up and managing doesn’t require technical knowledge all the time.

    Conclusion.

    E-commerce is an asset and a business that everyone should be doing. No matter your profile, you can, if you want you to. However, the ability to continue depends on your level of commitment, your determination and most importantly your planning for its implementation.

    Our role as an eCommerce developer is to support you at every step to allow you to better focus on the essentials.

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