Welcome onboard!! Online store is an excellent way to grow your business.
I will show you ways to maximize your brand potential by selling your best products online.
Starting an e-commerce business requires hard work and timely decisions.
Let me walk through few basic concepts, which you should be aware before starting an online store.
Let’s dive in!!
First thing first, do you want to build your online store or you are looking for turn-key solution?
Both ways have some advantages and disadvantages.
I will try to compare different options during this course of journey, sit tight. :)
I will show you the basic technology required to build an e-commerce website using this guide.
These basic technologies are essential to build and run profitable online store.
I) Listing products using Amazon, eBay & Etsy etc.:
This is one of the well-known and proven method to start online store.
Listing sites provide an excellent platform to sell your products online.
But selling with listing sites has some advantages and disadvantages.
Let’s go through advantages first.
No doubt that millions of customers buy products from these sites everyday.
Because of listing site’s huge customer base, reaching customers is easy. In theory you just need to create a store to start selling.
You no need to worry about creating a store from scratch, you just need to upload products and your are ready to sell.
You don't need to spend much time in marketing. Since most of the customers are familiar with these listing sites.
Due to these listing sites brand value, its not required you to spend money on marketing.
Marketing is one of the time consuming process and it may take months to build solid customer base.
So using these listing sites, you can reach customers as quick as possible.
Here are few Disadvantages with listing sites.
Several merchants use listing sites, so you can expect high competition within merchants.
You will be busy in competing with your fellow merchant instead of making any profits.
You often compete with other store owners, who might have spent huge money in these listing sites.
Though it is easy to sell products using listing sites, it requires time and energy to make profit.
Because of volatile market and lack of brand value, it’s hard to sustain with listing sites.
Listing sites fee varies from 10-15% per product excluding shipping charges. So in theory you can reach more customers quick, but your profits may be thin.
So making profits with Amazon etc. listing sites is difficult unless you sell goods in huge volume.
Even if you can manage to sell your products in huge volumes, there is no guarantee that you will make profits. Because more sales likely to increase store operational cost.
You can’t customize your shop as you wish, all most all product listing sites look same.
This makes it difficult to present your unique product as you would like.
One of the major disadvantage with listing sites is you can’t create your own unique brand value.
With listing sites you can’t have a long-term relation with your customers. Because all communication happens through listing sites customer care service.
Most likely your customer may not even remember your store name.
For Serious eCommerce business owners, listing site may not yield expected results. Because if you can’t create your own brand value, then it means you are not having any share in market.
To create your unique brand value, you should create your own store.
Own store will help you in creating your own brand value.
Constant monitoring required with listing sites. Several other merchants also sell same product using listing sites.
Due to high competition, frequent changes in product prices are must. So you need to track prices often to compete with your fellow merchants.
Otherwise making profit is impossible with listing sites.
So listing sites are good to start, but need patience and investment to be successful.
II) Do It Your Self Way
We love to do things our self, we often feel proud about how we do things. And how we tackle challenging situations and come up with bright solutions.
So building online store may turn into one of your proud moments.
Any one can build and own an online store, but let me show basic things required to build online store yourself.
We all have names to get called; even our lovely pet dogs/cats have beautiful names. So why shouldn’t our online store have one?
Domain name is one of the known way to identify your store in Internet world.
Your customer usually type domain name in browser to access it.
Domain name is one of the basic need to start with.
Domain name need be to registered using domain name registration service provider.
Domain registration may cost around $10 to $14 per year for a ‘.com ‘ domain.
Domain name serve as primary identification for your online store. So you need to be careful while choosing them.
From SEO point of view, domain names are no more playing important role.
Catchy domain name is important investment to ensure your customer remember your store name.
So spend some time on registering perfect domain name for your store.
Hope by now you got a pretty name of your shop, now its time to find some space to host your e-commerce site.
There are several options available to host your eCommerce website.
You can go with traditional shared hosting or you can opt for cloud based hosting space.
You may need to pay anywhere between $10 to $15 per month based on your hosting plan.
Let me brief different hosting options to host your e-commerce website.
As its name implies, in share hosting website resources shared with other users. That is the reason it is cheap and easy to start with.
Usually shared hosting plan comes with pre-installed software’s or tools to start with.
Virtual Private Server hosting is good if you would like to take control over your hosting space.
VPS(Virtual Private Server) provides lot of flexibility in software management and server management.
But it requires some expertise to manage your website using VPS.
Choose this option only if you wish to take control over your website hosting space.
But often VPS hosting may need dedicated team to manage your hosting space.
With dedicated hosting, you will get dedicated server to install OS to host your website.
Dedicated hosting gives complete control over your server.
Dedicated hosting is best suited for the websites which need high performance and customization.
I suggest you to start with shared hosting and later scale if it is required.
Starting with VPS/Dedicated server may cost you more. And it requires extra effort to manage VPS/Dedicated hosting space.
Cloud hosting is different kind of hosting compared to Shared, VPS and dedicated hosting.
In cloud hosting, HW and SW are both virtualized.
Cloud hosting you to pay based on usage.
But cloud hosting may be confusing if you are not familiar with hosting technologies.
You may end up paying more If you are not familiar with bandwidth, compute node etc. advanced concepts.
Payment gateways are mandatory to receive payments from customers.
You can ask your customers to write a cheque or do a bank transfer etc., if you do not like to use payment gateways.
But payment gateways solve transaction hassles thus making online transactions reliable and hassle free.
With Payment gateways you don't need to worry about PCI DSS compliance etc.
Because you no need to save any credit card information if you are using payment Gateways.
Never save credit card info in database, read more about payment gateways here.
To secure your online store, you need to install SSL certificates on your store website.
Payment gateways ensure that your payments are secure.
SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) helps in encrypting data transfer between browser and your server. This ensures your store transactions are safe.
If you are on tight budget, you can start with shared SSL.
You can buy Shared SSL certificate from your web hosting provider.
but some browsers may warn your customers about domain mismatch if you use shared SSL.
But it is fine for experiment purpose, later you can get Private SSL along with a dedicated IP address.
Usually private SSL costs around $50 per year.
You can hire someone to write shopping cart software for your online store.
Otherwise you can try open source shopping cart scripts Spree or OpenCart etc.
But managing your own online store need technical skills and time.
Soon you will realize that maintaining own online store is a nightmare. And it is impossible to maintain without dedicated team.
Spending time on e-commerce store maintenance is un-necessary distraction for your core business.
It is wise to avoid any kind of distraction during initial phase of your online business journey.
To avoid all these hassle you can try eCommerce website builder services.
With eCommerce website builder you will own your store, so that you can take full control of your store.
III) E-commerce website builder way
By using good eCommerce website builder service you can create your site and go live in minutes.
eCommerce website builder sites offer both flexibility and ease of use.
Here are some advantages of owning site using eCommerce website builder.
With eCommerce website builders, you can create and launch sites in minutes.
These platforms try to address most of the issues related to launching own online store.
They simplify product creation, inventory and sales.
You can create products without much effort.
This helps you validating your idea in minutes, without spending much time in setup.
eCommerce website builders provide enough tools to start with.
Which helps you in saving both time and money, you can reach market soon.
Good eCommerce builder website provide easy interface. So creating online store should be easy.
You just need to choose the right template as per your needs, add products and payment gateway. That's all it need to sell your products.
As I mentioned earlier with your own shop you can create your own brand value.
With your own store you can have direct communication with your customers.
This helps you in creating long-term relationship with them.
Long-term relation ensures you have repeated customers.
So building your own online store helps you in achieving long term benefits.
eCommerce builder website also ensure that you can start interaction with customers soon.
Because you will have your site ready as soon as you signed up for the service.
Cost is one of the major factors, which has direct impact on your business success.
It’s always tough to have control over online store operating cost.
Several business ventures failed because of uncontrolled operational cost.
You can save money spent on your e-commerce store with eCommerce website builder services.
So that you can spend money on your business specific needs.
Hope during this guide, I covered all basic aspects, which you would need to start online store.
But you may be wondering which platform is right for your business.
I would suggest to start with listing sites so that you can reach market soon.
This helps you to test your product sales and profit margin.
Because for serious business its better you create own web store.
eCommerce builder website services helps you creating online store.
Own site offers more flexibility and control over your business.
This helps you building solid customer base. You can connect and offer them your services better way.
Leave a feedback/comments if this guide was helpful.
Feel free to leave a comment if you have any queries so that I can try to assist you in creating your own online store.