How to Sell Online with your Own Online Store

How to Sell Online with your Own Online Store

 

Multi-channel, Social, Mobile - These are all part of selling online

 

Using a hosted online store you do not have to worry about the technology, hosting or security as it is all done for you.

Having a viable and well thought through business plan is really important to help keep you on the right track. You can develop your own business plan easily and then share it with your advisers or partners. You can find more information about what is in a eCommerce Business Plan here.

If you use the right technology and hosting partner we will take care of all the technical stuff and also provide you with a service level agreement. That leaves you to get on with the business.

You can get more information at our FAQ page on Costs & Issues Starting an Online Business.

 

TIP # 1: - starting an online store can involve some work; you need to manage orders and customers, update and add content, manage marketing and social media, and setup the store. So you need to be able to use the administration and content management system provided. The best way to find out if you can manage it for yourself is to try. eCorner provide a free 30 Day Trial system so you can try it for yourself.

 

Our solution is hosted here in Australia, but the world wide web means that you can sell to any country or from any country without an issue. Our systems are regularly upgraded in features and functions free in the hosting environment and with a maintenance agreement if your website is with us on a dedicated server.

 

What is your business model?

 

When you sell online you can support different business models. Typically it will be B2C - Business to Consumer or B2B - Business to Business. Some online stores want to support both. B2C is the basis of most online retail. If you want to sell to other businesses like wholesale or re-sellers then the model will be B2B. The main difference is that not everyone can access and buy from a B2B online store and in general the customer will need a user name and password to login.

 

Do you want to sell locally, internationally or both?

 

You may only want to sell in Australian Dollars right now but things can change. The solution that you choose should be multilingual and multi-currency meaning it can support many languages and every currency type in the world. You will need to setup tax, payment and shipping to support your requirements. 

 

What are some of the tasks you need to get started?

business_model b2c or b2b

 

Following is a quick summary:

  • You need a domain name.
  • You need a business email addresses.
  • A website with a shopping cart like our cloud hosted online store package. 
  • You may need to have a design and some development for your website
  • We have Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) built in so no additional costs
  • Setup a Google Webmasters account.
  • When your website is live you may need to do Search Engine Marketing (SEM) – pay per click (PPC) with Google Adwords as an example.
  • You may need an SSL Certificate (recommended if you accept credit cards).
  • You will need a payment gateway or payment provider and maybe an online merchant bank account.
  • You will need a shipping company - like Australia Post to deliver products.
  • Don't forget the traditional business costs, taxes, charges etc.
  • You will need some human resources - maybe that is just you. But if you have a full time job remember that the online business will not look after itself.
  • Web analytics to track visitors and business conversion data.
  • Social media accounts - we recommend Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Linkedin and YouTube. Although not essential social media will help you get started.
  • You can also setup accounts at eBay, Shopping.com, Google Shopping and Getprice to sell your products via multiple channels.

 

There are many issues to address for a successful online store - eCorner has them all covered for you

 

ecommerce solutionA hosted eCommerce Online Store package from eCorner can give you everything you need to successfully sell online and all managed from the administration system. So rather than having to have a developer integrate to your bank or buy costly add-ons you just turn on the features you need in your online store. All of the features are out-of-the-box which means you do not have to worry. More importantly they are maintained by eCorner so we will make sure that all the features always work. This allows you to manage your business and not have to worry about the technology.

eCorner also host your online store in our specialised ecommerce hosting facility in Sydney. This facility is specially certified for ecommerce and has a very secure environment. So your business online is safe. We backup all of your data every night and keep it safely in a separate data centre.

eCorner provide a number of different levels of packages that vary in price and capability. Packages are scalable up to 10,000's of products online. The four most popular packages key difference is the number of products that are for sale on the website although the packages will vary in functionality. These are perfect for small to medium sized businesses. Our online store packages include hosting and data as part of the package. That is not the same with all providers so you should always make sure of the total cost of hosting, data and website. All of our hosted ecommerce packages and our ecommerce software integrate with Payment Gateways such as PayPal and eWAY that allow you to accept payments and Credit Cards Online. All of our Payment Partners comply with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS) and eCorner is Certified PCI Compliant. 

 

 

TIP # 2: - If you want to accept payment online and collect customer personal information then your online store will need to be secure and support SSL encryption. When taking payment online you will also need a hosting company that is PCI DSS Compliant. If you show that your store is secure it will improve your shopping basket conversion rate.

 

Using eBay and an Online Store Just Got Easy

 

eBay_logoIf you have done some eBay selling or maybe have some experience in the web then you can get the most from a hosted eCommerce solution. There are many advanced features in the eCorner Stores Packages that you can utilise with a bit of confidence and experience. One of those is our advanced eBay connector. It allows you to list and manage sales from your store directly onto eBay. It supports all the eBay features as well as eBay stores. Getting the design just right may need some assistance but once that is done then adding content and building the store is straight forward for an experienced person. eCorner is there with free phone and email support and there are lots of tips in our Selling On eBay Frequently Asked Questions . Want to sign-up for eBay now?

 

 

TIP # 3: - If you support multiple channels to market like an online store, eBay and other shopping portals or even a bricks and mortar store you can improve your results by as much as 300%.

 

Successful Online Sales Means Successful and Return Customers

 

Graphic Design - Create a great User Experience

 

eCorner hosted online stores mean happy customers
With a Hosted eCommerce Solution like eCorner Store Plus you generally don't need to spend anything. If you have something special in mind for a custom logo or banner then it might need to be designed by a professional graphics designer. In general we would recommend that you get started with the designs available from eCorner. These are very flexible and you can change colours, add logos and banners. If you want a special design then we can help by working with you to refine your requirements but take a look at what is available from eCorner for free first. A custom design can cost as little as $600 - $1,200 to produce and add to the online shop.

 

Great Content Means More Customers

 

If you ask most eCommerce professionals what is the most important aspect of a successful online store they will all tell you that it is CONTENT. You will often hear that CONTENT IS KING which means that the more effort you put into the content the better will be the result. Content includes the images that you use, the product descriptions, the names of products and pages and the layout of the content. The online system that you use should include a Content Management System (CMS) so that you can add and change the content within your own business and not need costly technical resources.

 

Payment Gateway - make sure your customers feel Secure

 

If you want to accept credit cards online we recommend that you use a Payment Service Provider and process the credit cards via a Payment Gateway. There are strict regulations around the use and storage of credit card information which are regulated by the Payment Card Industry via their Data Security Standards you can find more information at their website www.pcisecuritystandards.org or through your bank.

All eCorner Stores are PCI DSS compliant. Payment Gateways have to be integrated into your website. eCorner has already integrated a number of leading Payment Gateways including PayPal (Standard, Express and Payflow), eWAY, Dialect Solutions, Payment Express, SecurePay and Worldpay. These are made available as part of the package from eCorner. You will need to setup an account with the Payment Service Provider (and maybe also and online merchant account with your bank) to take online payments.

 

Shipping and Logistics - get your products to your customers efficiently

 

eCorner provide a wide variety of shipping methods built in which you can setup on your website. These handle just about any possibility. We also provide integration to Australia Post for calculating shipping cost in the shopping basket. The actual shipping cost to send your packages is not part of the eCommerce package and you need to make sure that you calculate and add shipping cost correctly.

 

TIP # 4: - Return customers cost you less to retain that getting new customers. Return customer's order value is generally higher than first time customers. Offer your customers coupons, discounts and special offers to promote customer retention and loyalty.

 

Web Analytics - Visitor and Page Tracking - Know your customers

 

A good online shop can often fail because the owners don't know what is really happening on the website. In order to understand the activity on the website you need to collect information about what visitors there are and what they do. This is collected by a web analytics program like Wagtail or Google Analytics. Every eCorner store comes already integrated with a free version of our business and analytics system - Wagtail. However you can also use analytics like Google Analytics on your online store.

 

SEO and SEM - Get your Online Store found by Search Engines

 

Search Engines like Google and Bing are responsible for driving 80% of the traffic and sales to your online store. If your store is not set up to be friendly for search engines then you will not be as successful as you want. 

Search Engine Optimisation and Search Engine Marketing can cost a lot of money. Luckily if you have decided on eCorner you will find that the websites have SEO capabilities built in. We have an extensive SEO Manager that will advise you on every product and page that you create to ensure you get the best result. This can save you $1000's on SEO specialists. You really just need to follow the guidelines and advice in our FAQs and your website will be search engine friendly. Search Engine Marketing is a cost you need to consider carefully. We have seen good web businesses fail because they spent too much on Cost Per Click programs which were not targeted. Again we have some good advice in our FAQs.

We also have built-in capability to support your Google Adwords conversion tracking code should you decide to do search engine marketing and pay per click on your website. We can support the tracking code for any paid search or affiliate marketing program.

 

Following are example costs that you can expect as an small to medium sized business

 

TIP # 5: - You costs will be based on the size of your inventory, what your business does and your overall requirements like features, design, multi-channels, social and mobile.

 

The following table provides some guidance for a first years budget to setup the website side of an online business. The shop size generally reflects the number of products (SKUs) that are for sale on the store. This determines the data base size and give a reasonable guide to complexity. Although you can get very busy shops with lots of visitors and sales but with only a few different products available. For the purpose of providing some cost guidance we have created four store types from small to larger and complex.

NOTE: Costs are based on eCorner supplied products and services

 

 

Annual Recurring Costs

100 Products

500 Products

2,000 Products

10,000 Products

  Domain (per domain 2 years) $99.00 $99.00 $99.00 $99.00
  Business email  $60.00 $99.00 $150.00 $150.00
  SSL Certificate (per certificate 2 years) Optional Optional $185.00 $185.00
 

Total Annual Recurring Costs

$168.00

$198.00

$434.00

$434.00

 

Monthly Recurring Costs

       
  Website $29.00 $77.00 $122.00 $220.00
  Search Engine Optimisation basics (SEO) included Included Included Included
  Payment integration (excludes transaction costs) Included Included Included Included
  Shipping Integration (excludes shipping cost) Included Included Included Included
 

Total Monthly Recurring Costs

$29.00

$77.00

$122.00

$220.00

 

One Time Costs (Optional)

     

 

  Design (estimate) (varies based on design complexity) $300.00 $600.00 $1,500.00 approx $3,000.00
  Customisation (estimate) not required not required not required not required
  Add products and content (can be based on DIY) not required not required approx $1,000.00 approx $3,000.00
 

Total One Time Cost

$600.00

$600.00

$3,000.00

$6,000.00

 

First Years Budget Estimate (from)

$1,174.00

$1,722.00

$4,398.00

$9,074.00

 

 

Make sure that you understand all of your requirements for your eCommerce business.

 

 

  Ask the right questions about your ecommerce requirements
  
 

Before you get started there are some helpful questions.

You need to have some ideas about what you will be doing online so that you can select the solution or package that will best suit your business. Following are a list of questions that you can start with. To get to the best result you need to have thought through the answers to these questions.

Using your Free 30 Day Trial Online Store you can find out what these questions mean and help to refine your requirements.

 

 

TIP # 6: - Understand your requirements and learn some of the terminology used by online store vendors. Then prepare a list of your requirements and prioritise them (high, medium, low) this will help you to get a solution that will work best for your business.

 

 

TIP # 7: - Download this list of questions as a Excel spread-sheet, add your own questions and answers - download list here

 

 

Join successful businesses and start safely selling online

 

eCorner has over 2600 active online stores in Australia and New Zealand

 

Get your own Online Store: better SEO, more traffic, more sales - start with a 30 day free trial

 



 

 

 

Check your email for your online shop access after registering

Your 30-day trial can convert into your live store at anytime. It's like getting 30 days to setup and get trained for free.

 



 

 

Not sure how to get started? Let eCorner create an online store for you.