Everybody wants to shop online these days. According to Shopify, online sales could total $4.5 trillion in 2021. And that number is only expected to rise in the coming years as ecommerce grows.
So it’s no surprise that so many small businesses are looking to create online stores on their websites to sell their products to a wider audience. You’re probably in the same boat. And that’s fantastic.
But not everything is as rosy as it might seem. Lying behind the promising facade of increased sales, there’s a lot of work that goes into running an online store.
What platform are you going to use? If you’re using WordPress for your website, do you use WooCommerce or something else? Who’s in charge of the store? Who is going to fulfill the online orders? How are you going to get the products to the customers?
See, there are a lot of questions that have to be answered before you jump right into the wall that is online selling. You have to look before you leap.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t do it. Obviously, if other people are doing it, so can you. But it has to be done correctly in order for it to be successful.
This page is here to give you the resources you need to build an online store for your business. You’ll find blog posts, videos, resources (internal and external) and people and websites to follow that will help you turn your ecommerce dream into a reality.
After all, more people are buying products online. And you need to move to where the customers are.
What is ecommerce?
Simply put, ecommerce is the process of buying and selling products online. You’ve probably participated in ecommerce at least once this week. Whether you’re buying a product from Amazon, Etsy or someone’s own website, that’s part of the ecommerce process. And according to the stats, ecommerce continues to be on the rise. And if you’re a business owner looking to grow your business, it’s an appetizing option for sure.
- To e-commerce or not to e-commerce
- What is Ecommerce? (Shopify)
- What is eCommerce? (Oberlo)
- Overview: What is ecommerce? (Salesforce)
Making sure your website is ready
If you’re going to create an online store on your website, the first thing you need to do is to make sure your website is ready to do such a thing. Are you on a capable web host that can support your store? Do you have the necessary plugins and extensions to create an online store? Is your SEO up-to-snuff? Do you have an SSL certificate for the site? Everything needs to be ready before your orders start to come in.
- Requirements for a solid ecommerce store
- Why cheap hosting isn’t going to help your online store
- Making sure you have a strong backend for your ecommerce website
- Get your website ready for the holiday season
Once you have your online store set up and your products in place, you still need one technical item: a way for people to pay you. Sure, you could roll your own payment solution, but why would you? There are a lot of payment gateways out there that do the trick for you. Plus, using those gateways can mitigate (but not eliminate) your risk if something bad happens.
Something that is often forgotten in the excitement of creating an online store is figuring out just how you are going to fulfill those orders and ship them to your customers. Sure, you can probably handle it at first with small amounts, but what happens if your business takes off? Can you scale accordingly? These are some of the things you should be thinking about from the start.
- How to Fulfill Orders Yourself & What Challenges to Look Out For (ShipBob)
- 7 steps to improve your e-commerce order-fulfillment process (6 River Systems)
- Using Your Stores To Fulfill E-Commerce Orders (Celerant)
- What is Fulfillment? (Oberlo)
From Etsy to Shopify to even Amazon, here are some of the top tools and top resources that can help you with your online store.
- 35+ Best Ecommerce Tools For Emerging Startups (EcommerceCEO)
- 5 of the Best Ecommerce Tools Every Merchant Needs (Search Engine Journal)
- Best E-Commerce Tools (G2)
WordPress and ecommerce
If you’re looking to host your online store on your own website, you probably want to look no further than WordPress. While WordPress itself still has that blogging base, there are a ton of plugins that can help you create an online store in minutes. From creating the store, to helping with shipping to even boosting your products’ SEO, you can really create a powerful ecommerce portal for your business.