There are many people right now thinking of selling online due to the current economic issues and opportunities. In 2016 Australian online retail sales will exceed $50 Billion and worldwide exceeded US$2 Trillion in 2017. In Australia eCommerce is growing at a rate in excess of 20% year over year, and mobile commerce more than 40% annually. There are over 2.5 million small to medium sized businesses in Australia and New Zealand but less than 12% have an online store. A 2010 survey by Forrester found that the web influenced more than 53% of all retail sales, and that percentage is growing annually, so failure to have a web presence with your product catalogue means it is harder to be successful and grow sales.
When you are considering starting to sell online you also have to look at what your competitors are doing online. You should never copy what your competitors are doing but you can use it as a guide and then even improve on what they offer.
So getting started means doing some research so that you are best informed and ready to move forward.
You can get more information about how to start and online business - click here.
Use a fully hosted online shopping such as eCorner. There are many to choose from and a quick Google search will find many companies that offer a package. Our tip is that if you are based in Australia or New Zealand make sure that the hosted solution is here and not in the USA or Europe. The hosted solutions in general are based on some proprietary software but the setup and maintenance is much easier. These systems are in general also upgraded in features and functions free in the hosting environment and with a maintenance agreement if in a dedicated server.
There is a large range of online store providers and prices range from from supplier to supplier. So do not be afraid of shopping around and trying out different solutions and suppliers. The most important thing to do is to ensure that you are comparing similar packages and that those packages will support your business growth.
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. Our Starter+, Merchant and Professional Packages all integrate with Payment Gateways such as PayPal and eWAY that allow you to accept Credit Cards Online. All of our Payment Partners comply with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS)
Every eCommerce Solution that you review will have similarities and differences. So it is a good idea to compare solutions around the key elements that are necessary for a successful online business. eCorner has created this quick comparison chart to compare a range of hosted solutions providers from around the world. We cannot name the competitors brands but do a quick web search for "hosted ecommerce solutions" or similar and you will find many alternative. Creating a simple spreadsheet like this will allow you to easily see the total costs.
With a Hosted eCommerce Solution like eCorner Store Plus you generally pay on a monthly plan and may not have any upfront cost if you "do-it-yourself". 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.<
The packages that eCorner provide come with just about anything you will ever need to run an eCommerce store. If you are starting a new eCommerce business we would recommend that you use as much of the out-of-the-box or standard functionality as possible and our stores have it all. Your online business will start to make money for you then you can look at expanding and adding new functionality.
At eCorner we provide all the functionality that you need. We do not have a large range of Add-on modules instead the packages will have different levels of functionlaity that suit certain businesses models. The main add-ons are often Payment Gateways and Shipping Calculators at eCorner these are free features in the packages. The other important features that is often an Add-on in other suppliers packages is support for eBay, Amazon and Price Comparison Portals.
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 Pro), 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. Setup costs vary dramatically from nothing at PayPal up to $500 for some providers. Some Payment Providers will also charge an annual fee between $200 - $500. You will pay transaction fees for each payment that you accept again these vary greatly but expect from 1.1% + 30 cents up to 4.5% or more depending on the Payment Service Provider.
So check this out carefully. Your bank will also charge you some fees to setup you Online Merchant Account these do not vary greatly from bank to bank but shop around and ask questions. eCorner does not charge any separate transactions fees.
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.
As a tip - free shipping is a great incentive for buyers so we would recommend that your pricing absorb the shipping cost when possible and you offer free shipping. You can tie that to the value in the shopping basket which is always a good idea.
If 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?
HOT TIP: - 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%.
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. 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.