In important ways, starting an eCommerce business is no different from starting any other kind of business. The essentials are still the same; you will still need a good idea of accounting, operations and marketing. You will need to find a market, and provide a product or service at a competitive rate. So long as you have a business head on you, you can realise your ambitions whatever the platform.
With the availability of turn-key solutions like Shopify and WordPress, together with a growth in outsourcing solutions for everything from warehousing and distribution to IT, the technical aspect really is only as complicated as you decide to make it.
The Importance of Marketing
Everyone that starts out in eCommerce ultimately finds themselves in a position of having a good looking website with no traffic. There are billions of eCommerce websites out there, and knowing how to find customers comes down to old-school marketing more than technical knowhow. You’ll need a basic understanding of things like Google AdWords, Facebook promotion and SEO, but this often comes down to the ability to write compelling content more than write effective code. The internet is full of marketing tips and resources to help you get the traffic you need to make your business thrive.
The Rise of Outsourcing
With an increasingly mobile population that is increasingly connected, many small businesses are taking advantage of things like Virtual Personal Asssitants and outsourcing distribution operations to companies like myParcelDelivery.com and warehouses who will pack and ship your products for you. The benefits of these outsourcing solutions is that they’re scalable, and you never pay for more than you use. Outsourcing your IT management is just as easy, with many companies offering a range of services designed to protect and enhance your infrastructure remotely. So long as you’re turning a profit, it’s conceivable that you need never do any more than generate sales through sourcing quality products.
Choosing a Site
The first challenge likely to make a technophobe run scared is just choosing a site. You’ll be asking yourself how much you need to know about HTML, what is CSS, how do I set up payment gateways, and which of the many ecommerce enabled content management systems (CMS) do I choose?
The benefits of a CMS like WordPress or Shopify is that they’re built around point-and-click visually user interfaces. That’s a complicated technical expression that means you need to have no knowledge of the underlying code or computer programming principles to use them. You simply choose the style or function option that you want and click ‘apply’. The best way to get the most out of these systems is just to begin using them, experiment and enjoy the process. Here are three of the most popular CMS platforms:
WordPress: The most popular platform on the net, WordPress is supported by a global community of expert designers and developers. This means it has a high degree of customisation available, allowing you to pick and choose themes – the look of your site – and ‘plugins’.
Shopify: Shopify shares many of the same benefits of WordPress, but has been solely focussed on ecommerce since its inception. As such it has a stronger reputation for supporting online businesses and helping them grow.
Volusion: allows users the same scope in terms of functionality and customisation, but has the added advantage of having a distinct focus on marketing.