If you’re interested in starting an online store, but aren’t sure where to begin, this article is for you. We’ll cover the basics of buying, selling and advertising with a specialty in e-commerce technologies.
E-commerce means selling products or services online. Traditional methods of selling (such as retail stores or galleries) can be considered as forms of e-commerce. However, e-commerce can also apply to completely virtual interactions, where buyers and sellers do not physically meet.
E-commerce was originally used to sell individual items such as clothing and accessories online. As the industry evolved, so did the products and services available for online shopping. Today, an entire industry of e-commerce companies has sprung up to serve all kinds of businesses, from small startups to large corporations.
Key Differences Between Traditional & Online Shopping
Traditional shopping means going into a retail store and physically buying something. This is probably the most recognizable form of shopping, as most people have probably done this at least once in their life. While retail stores remain an important part of the shopping experience, it’s important to keep in mind that not everyone likes to shop this way.
When shopping online, there are no salespeople pushing products at you. Instead, you get instant access to an entire stock of products, with prices that can be adjusted according to your preferences. This, in turn, makes retail stores “click-through” shopping destinations, as customers have to click multiple times to make a purchase. Because of this, online shopping is generally considered to be a faster, more convenient, and a more enjoyable experience for customers.
Traditional shopping also relies heavily on face-to-face interaction, as customers have to physically go into a retail store to make a purchase. This means that even after the transaction is complete, the customer and the retail store still have to interact. While online stores have to keep in mind that customers will only have contact with them via web content, mobile apps or email, so that face-to-face interaction becomes less necessary.
What You Need To Get Started
If you’re just getting started, here’s a list of what you need to know:
- Domain Name
- Website Platform
- CMS (Content Management System)
- E-commerce Plugin
- Secure Server (HTTPS)
- Online Storefront
- Shopify Store
- WooCommerce Store
- SMTP Server
- Spam Firewall
- Website Builder
How To Buy Products For Your Online Store
If you decide to start an online store, one of the first things you’ll need to do is buy products for it. You don’t need to buy expensive products that will only serve as a fashion statement. Instead, you can start small and invest in an online storage locker where you can store all your purchases for later. Alternatively, you can join a shopping pool, where participants contribute products for a shared shopping cart. If you decide to go the DIY (Do It Yourself) route, you can use platforms like Shopify, which have built-in options for creating an online store.
When it comes to buying products for your online store, it’s pretty much essential to keep in mind the purpose for which you’re buying them. For example, if you’re purchasing products to resell, you should look for a reputable supplier that handles quality control and has a good return policy.
When buying for personal use, you don’t necessarily need to be concerned about resale value. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try to find the best deal possible. In most cases, it’s better to buy things on sale or at discounted rates rather than paying full price. This way, you’ll be making the most of your dollar and won’t have to face unnecessary financial hardship because of an unplanned, one-time purchase.
How To Sell Products Online
Once you have your products, the next step is to find a way to sell them online. The great thing about e-commerce is that there are so many different platforms and tools available for online stores. If you want to sell your products internationally, then you might need to register for a customs brokerage service. Otherwise, every country will have the option to ban your product because of its unethical marketing strategy (spamming, sending fake emails…) or product safety issues (if your products lack proper certification).
The easiest and the most popular way to sell products online is via email marketing. For example, you can send out a mass email to your customers or prospective customers, informing them of your new products and services. Or, you can create a listing on a reputable E-commerce platform, and invite people to learn more about your products. You can also choose to sell your products directly from your website.
If you have a physical store, you can use online marketplaces like Shopify that allow you to set up a shop in minutes, without needing a designer to help you build a storefront. Once set up, you can start selling your products directly from your website.
When it comes to e-commerce, most people think only about the products they’ll buy online. This, however, is a mistake. Just as importantly, people need to think about the platforms they’ll use to sell their products. In the above FAQ, we discussed the importance of a reputable supplier and the importance of avoiding cheap products. If your products aren’t of good quality, no amount of online marketing will save you. In the same way, if you use a bad platform to sell your products, you’ll experience extreme frustration and won’t enjoy the process.
Basic Marketing Techniques
If you’re looking for ways to get the word out about your product, you don’t necessarily need to approach marketing in a traditional way. Instead, you can look at online marketing, which allows you to market your product in a digital world.
While SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is undoubtedly the most popular form of digital marketing, PPC (Pay-Per-Click) advertising is also a viable choice. With PPC, you only pay when someone clicks on a banner or a link that takes them to your site. You can use platforms like Google Adwords to get started with PPC. As a beginner, you might want to consider looking for a PPC specialist, who can get you started with a simple account, for almost no cost.
When it comes to e-commerce and online marketing, there are many options available to consumers. It can be a daunting task to know where to start, but by following the above guidelines, you’ll be able to build the foundation for an efficient e-commerce store. From there, you can choose which method of online marketing makes the most sense for your business.