WordPress, Shopify, Drupal, etc: How to build an ECommerce website

I gave this presentation for the “eCommerce Sales and Marketing:Strategic Uses of Social Media Tools to Sell Your Product(s) and Market Your Business!”  sponsored by the Delaware Economic Development Office.

You can view the presentation here: http://prezi.com/vtkfr3cvdis6/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy&rc=ex0share 

You can download a .PDF version of the Presentation by clicking this link

WordPress, Shopify, Drupal, etc: How do I get started selling online, what’s required and what are my options?

What is E-Commerce?

e-com·merce
ˈēˌkämərs/
noun
noun: ecommerce
1. commercial transactions conducted electronically on the Internet.

Commercial Transactions include: B2B , B2C, mobile payments, utilities, in-app purchases, etc. Basically, anything that involves the exchange of money, over the Web.

This video gives a great explanation on how E-Commerce works:
 
 

How do I get Started Selling Online?

Your checklist for getting started on creating an eCommerce Website:

Choose a Product or Service to sell:

Do some brainstorming. If you would like to sell a product, go to www.alibaba.com and find someone who can help make your dream a reality. If you provide a Service, start with a Website that showcases your Portfolio of work, include a Quote Request form and look into ways to get your customers to pay you, on-line.

Choose where you want to sell your Product or Service:

Selling Products on-line means that you do in fact have the World at your fingertips and your customers can & will come from all over the World, to your Website (with Marketing in place, of course). Selling Services online is a bit different, mainly because your Service area will be limited. It’s important to determine a Target Market though, to make the most out of your Marketing $$$. There’s no sense in advertising a Plumbing business in California, that’s based in Delaware (unless, you can subcontract in other areas, this is common for IT and Web businesses).

Get set up on an on-line marketplace and/or build your own Website:

Most consumers will go to the Web first, to research your business and the competition. Do not discount the power of having a strong Web Presence.

Tips for a solid E-Commerce Website:

1. Have your Address, Phone # and Email Address / Contact form, very visible. Make it easy to reach you
2. Good Photos: A picture is worth a thousand words
3. Include a Video
4. Have engaging Product Descriptions
5. Simple Registration Process
6. Quick & Easy Checkout
7. Respond to Customer Service requests, quickly
8. Start an email subscriber list
9. Clearly state policies and terms, earn your Website visitors trust
10. BONUS: Experiment during the Holiday seasons with colors, design elements, etc
11. BONUS, BONUS: Offer coupons. Who doesn’t like getting a deal?

What are my Website options?

1. Online Marketplace like eBay, Amazon, Etsy (artists and crafts)
2. Build your own Website: WordPress, Shopify, etc

While you have the option to choose the DIY option, I suggest you still hire a Web Expert to help build your Website and help you market your Products or Services. Like you would hire a Contractor to build your physical store front, hiring a Web Expert to build your Website puts you into a professionals hands.

What’s required to sell online?

1. Product / Inventory List that’s organized to include “product attributes” such as “size” , “package-type”, “weight”, Color (“blue”), etc. An organized spreadsheet from Excel or QuickBooks would do fine.
2. Shopping Cart Software. There are TONS of options out there (show graphic of all shopping cart software). I suggest using WordPress or Shopify.
3. Shipping acct with Fedex, USPS, or UPS
4. Merchant acct with PayPal, your Bank, Merchant Processor, etc
5. Secure connection via a SSL Certificate, for secure transmission of credit / debit card information
6. You must know your Sales Tax rate, if you live in a State that charges Sales Tax and you have a physical presence in that State.
7. Analytics to track Website visitors, terms used to find your Website, etc. You need to know how and why people landed on your Website. Even better, knowing how and why they purchased from your Website.
8. A Marketing campaign. How do people know about your Products or Services, if they haven’t heard about you? Social Media, Print Advertising, Commercials, etc. You have to Market your business.
9. Privacy Policy & Terms and Conditions. The Privacy Policy outlines how your customers data will be stored and used, while they have an account on your Website. Terms & Conditions are rules which one must agree to abide by in order to use a service.
10. FAITH. You gotta have it. Success doesn’t happen overnight.

What’s next?

E-commerce can be a very rewarding venture, but you cannot make money overnight. It is important to do a lot of research, ask questions, work hard and make business decisions based on facts learned from research. Don’t rely on “gut” feelings, do the leg work. Put in the time to experiment to see what does, and doesn’t work.

Author: Demetrius Pinder

Owner and Project Manager of Nuts and Bolts Web Design. Computing Support Specialist II at the University of Delaware. Adjunct Professor. Proud Husband, Father and dog owner!