Setting up and running an ecommerce store can be daunting and can be very expensive or not so expensive depending a number of factors. As a business owner who is thinking about getting on the ecommerce train, you have options, ranging from professional site development at one extreme and using a hosted shopping cart site such as Magento, Shopify, and Bigcommerce at the other.
Things to Consider Even Before You Plan Your Launch.
You have to think about the needs of your particular business. Before you decide to code the site yourself or hook up with a pre-packaged solution, you need to do some careful consideration. Be specific when you answer the question of what you are selling. What kinds of functionality does your site need? This will be determined by what you are selling. It could be as simple as allowing the site visitor to purchase an online e-book or it could be more complex and customers will have to choose a color and size.
Think about payments. How should you accept payment? Will you only accept Paypal? Will you accept credit and debit cards? You will need to charge for the cost of shipping. Think about international orders. How will you handle these?
What about delivery? Will you use USPS? Fedex? Do you need to keep track of analytics to gauge traffic on the website? Will you be selling your products on eBay and Amazon?
Now that you have a clear idea of your needs, you can begin to think about the specifics of developing an ecommerce store that meets those needs.
Professional Site Development.
You know the saying that you get what you pay for? In ecommerce website development that isn’t necessarily so. While you may stack the deck in favor of a smart, well-designed and lucrative site by paying top dollar, there may be some professionals who are just breaking into the business who may be willing to work for less and still give you what you need. Shop around and get recommendations from people who have successful sites.
The advantage of having your own site is that you will have full control of it. Further, you have many options for designing your store, your analytics, and your total look and feel.
Shopify, Big Commerce, Magento, and others
You can get a great deal from these hosted sites for a small monthly fee with a template-based ecommerce store. These packages come with a fully designed site with all of the features you are likely to need. Additionally, these packages are secure and attractive, and wholly belong to you.
Another option is a fully-functioning ecommerce store through companies like Amazon, and eBay. These sites let you set up your own shop with everything you need, but under the auspices of the larger umbrella organization. This option is often less expensive than your own hosted site. This is a great option for small businesses who want to see how ecommerce works. The added value here is name recognition. Visitors to the site are familiar and trust the brand. These sites give you a quick way into getting exposure. You will also have instant administrative functions, such as tracking, website statistics, and a reliable payment systems.
Appath is seamlessly integrated with all of these sites to provide a complete multichannel ecommerce solution. Your eBay, Amazon, Magento, Shopify, and Bigcommerce stores can be centrally controlled through Appath for order management, inventory management, shipping management, and customer service management.
If you have thought through what you actually need for your situation before acting on the impulse to do ecommerce, you will be in good shape. Little things (that actually aren’t so little) will be a given. For instance, if you sell only one thing, a shopping cart is superfluous. You can do one-click ordering. Learning to match your business requirements with the needs of your customers is a process, but one you can embark on with thoughtful planning.
We wish you all the best in your ecommerce venture.