Here at FirstTracks, we’ve built and continue to manage a lot of e-commerce websites for our clients. Our customer’s e-commerce websites come in all shapes and sizes and serve a variety of audiences including fasting bread subscriptions/materials at Live the Fast, soccer uniforms at The Team Factory, western jewelry at Hyo Silver, whoopie pies of Chococoa Baking Company, or the original apparel/greeting cards of Curly Girl Designs. You can sell pretty much anything online these days: memberships, subscriptions, appointments, food, apparel. You name it. Regardless of what you sell online you need a few basic elements to allow customers to visit your store and make purchases. Here are the Top 5 must-have items to get your e-commerce website up and running and making you money.
1. Choose a Great Website Platform
Your website will need to run on something. Nobody builds sites from scratch anymore. You need a foundation that will make it easy for you to mange, edit, and support your site. Our platform of choice is WordPress. Our clients love how simple we make their website management.
2. Pick a Flexible and Reliable E-commerce Engine
Building your e-commerce store using WordPress means that you will have a host of options to choose from. WooCommerce is hands down the best ecommerce engine available for WordPress. If you’re looking to build any kind of e-commerce shop with WordPress, WooCommerce has the extensions to make it easy. From online courses, to subscriptions, to perishable products, WooCommerce can get it done. If what you are looking to do with your sales isn’t something WooCommerce currently does out of the box, we can customize a solution that fits your business. WooCommerce is built and maintained by WooThemes, one of the premier theme and extension development companies. This guarantee that the support and reliability will be there for the long haul as your store continues to grow and thrive.
3. Decide How You Will Process Payments
Your e-commerce website will need a way to take payments. There are more than 90 payment gateway extensions available for WooCommerce. FirstTracks can provide a service that meets your needs. If you’re looking for the quickest and easiest payment gateway setup, you can use PayPal standard. If you want to allow for seamless online payments (people pay directly on your site), you will need to get an SSL certificate setup on your site. This creates a secure connection to pass credit card data from your site to your gateway. You then need to select your gateway. We recommend Stripe (if your store is in the United States or Canada). It’s free and simple.
4. Figure Out How Your Customers Will Get Your Products
Table Rate? Flat Rate? Free Shipping? UPS? USPS? There are a lot of options when it comes to delivering your e-commerce products. The secret is to choose the right mix of options by evaluating what products you have and the best ways to ship them. The major commercial service extensions (UPS, FedEx, and USPS) can be set to auto calculate shipping based on the dimensions of the products in the user’s shopping cart. If you need more control, something such as Table Rate Shipping would be a better choice. Table Rate lets you set shipping rate price break points based on the amount of items in the shopping cart and also by types of products the carts. It’s all about how you want to control the fulfillment of orders.
5. Enter Your Product Data Into Your System
Simple, variable, virtual. What will you be selling and how will you need to set it up? Does your product have attributes and variations that affect the price of your products? Are your products going to be shipped or downloaded? Is it a combination of both? Regardless of what platform and e-commerce engine you choose, these are the basic setup factors you need to organize so you are ready to sell your products or services on your website. Once you have your product mix and types set you will be ready to start selling online!
Running an E-commerce Website Is Exciting—But It Isn’t Easy
E-commerce is serious business. It’s complicated and stressful at times, but it’s also very exciting. The best thing you can do for yourself and your store is to have a great framework and system behind your products. That way you can spend more time handling your orders, serving your customers, and marketing to make more money online. If you are looking for the right partner to help you launch and or manage your e-commerce website, give FirstTracks a call at 603-924-1978 or fill out our short online request form.