Online Web Shop
Most entrepreneurs who contemplate building an online webshop have-some idea what they would like to sell. This is a positive attribute as it’s likely that your product knowledge is very good, which is half the battle. Nothing annoys consumers more than not being able to get their questions answered by businesses that make unrealistic claims.
Like with most successful business models, the more you put in the more you’re likely to get out. Anyone that consumes products online probably has experienced good and bad shopping. Whatever your history with e-commerce remember those frustrating times and don’t repeat them in your webshop. Awesomeness is what your striving for and anything less would be a failure.
Online Ecommerce Builders
Over the last decade there has been a number of free and paid website builders which generally provide good e-commerce functionality. The problems occur when your business plan identifies a requirement to control advanced functions like code changes to personalise the user’s experience. The largest impact on successful websites is the ability to manipulate search engine optimisations features.
As you gather data and analysis your users, there will be a need to ensure you make tweak’s to the code and contents to ensure you target the appropriate demographic. Users can be quite differenced to and the ability to design to suit is important.
If your a little unsure how to find relevant data then sign up for a Google account, if you don’t already have one, and search ‘webmaster tools’. There is a wealth of resources to help the budding designer with optimisation techniques. CPanel, which is available with most hosting accounts, is another great source of information and statistics. There are some other paid resources available which I will talk about in future posts.
What to Sell Online
This is going to be a pretty short paragraph as you can sell almost anything online with a webshop. As long as it legal go for it.
It’s now normal practice for pizza businesses to sell online. With responsive websites, users can make many choices, submit the order and have it delivered in no time. Who would have thought this was possible only a decade or so, ago. Consumers demand the best service possible and these business owners are providing it.
Not all websites are mobile friendly and are missing out on sales because of this. Google even gives preference in their listings to websites that can be viewed by users on mobile devices, so responsive optimisation is the key.
As of this writing, responsive designs are almost standard, but every now and then a website pops up with no thought given to the mobile user. Businesses that continue to travel down this path will become less and less relevant to their customers and loose valuable sales.
Putting The Online Web Store Together
Websites that include a webshop are relatively easy to incorporate into the responsive design. They are just an add-on to the normal website and if you just want a webshop and not the website then that even easier.
There are a few things to be done which ensure that important feature like security, payment gateways and shopping carts are safe. We use a feature called a security certificate (Secure Socket Layer(SSL)) which gives that little ‘s’ in the ‘https://’. If you plan on having a number of subdomains for features like plays and other community interfaces, it’s advisable to have security certificate call the Wildcard SSL. This will secure the main website and all of the subdomains as well.
Good security gives the customer and your business peace of mind as your information travelling across the Internet will be encrypted. When the user of your web store make a transaction through your website they don’t want their private information stolen or to fall into the wrong hands.
This type of security also requires its own IP address. The certificate and IP address cost a little but it is worth it in the long run.
The Shopping Cart
We generally use a shopping cart called HikaShop which we have found to be very versatile and very reliable. It provides every feature we require and is responsive in design. It also allows your users to have there owned little shopping section on the front end.
HikaShop also supports an auction interface for a few extra dollars, which is quite good. It interfaces with the shopping cart and this the Ahmet gateway so again users can pay for auctions online. It doesn’t have the functionality of eBay but it’s pretty good.
Gateways are important and you will need one that is secure and provided by a well know the company. They range in price from $0.00 (PayPal) to many thousands of dollars per year. ‘Stripe’ is probably one of the best I’ve seen and the developers are updating it functionality regularly.
A few years ago it took seven days for the money to hit an account from an online purchase but now it down to only 2 days. It has changed the face of online payment as other companies and some banks have had to fall into place with the new online world or potentially fade away.
As you are probably aware there are transaction fees associated with most of the gateways. A merchant account with your bank is normally required but there is an option now that has free merchant accounts, no monthly fees, but there are limitations and info on that one will be for another blog in the future.
The online web store needs many links to every part of the internet to be successful and it is no easy fete to be the proud owner. Find out more.