Selling online is a great subject to write about as it is constantly changing and evolving. Each month new start-up businesses bring in new ideas. There are lots of opportunities to improve your online business for B2B or B2C. If you have any questions about eCommerce try our FAQs and Ideas Center or just send us a comment or email.
Right now there is a lot of speculation that retail in Australia will be impacted negatively by international eCommerce players like Amazon. The general view seems to be that retail is under threat and there is nothing that we can do!
We aren't convinced that this is true! Retail has undergone several evolutions in the last 50 years and if anything the market has always got bigger and better each time. The retailers who embraced the changes and accessed the new opportunities flourished, while those that resisted missed out (or went bust).
Each stolen record costs retailers USD$172 on average in the event of a data breach, according to the latest Cost of Data Breach Study, the gold-standard benchmark conducted by the Ponemon Institute – and this figure is on the rise. Cyber security should therefore be front-and-centre for any business operating on the Internet, and we are regularly asked to advise on how to manage and mitigate the risks of operating online.
When WordPress was introduced in 2003, it started out merely as a solution to create blogs. However, things have changed. WordPress has become an incredibly feature-rich content management system that caters to the most sophisticated needs of bloggers and website owners alike. Today, approximately 25 percent of all sites on the entire World Wide Web use WordPress.
While there are many eCommerce solutions out there for Wordpress, the management of security and Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliance have always been serious and complex issues to solve. This has led to thousands of security breaches on Wordpress sites.
By combining your Wordpress site with a secure, hosted online store from eCorner stores, you can take all of the stress around security away while still having all your products for sale directly from the online store. Additionally, you can access all the other great features of a hosted online store from eCorner, such as integrated eBay, Amazon and Facebook shop channels, advanced shipping and payment options and connections to your back office systems like Xero accounting.
Setting up your eCorner store is easy and connecting with Wordpress via the ePages plug-in only takes a couple of minutes – and there are no additional costs involved.
Here you can see what a WordPress site with added products could look like:
As soon as the plugin is installed, your products will be showcased on selected pages or on dedicated posts of your WordPress site. If a customer clicks on one of the products, an overlay window opens up with further details about the product – including price, product image and description as well as stock and delivery information, if available.
Customers can add products to a shopping basket. If they click on the basket icon, they see a summary of all the products they added as well as the delivery costs.
When customers click on the “Check out” button, a popup opens up with the order process of your ePages shop where they can complete their order.
To get a better idea of how the plugin works, you can try it out on our WordPress demo site.
You simply have to install the free plugin and connect it to your ePages shop. After that, you can add products to certain pages or posts of your WordPress site by clicking the Add Shop button:
It is up to you if you want to show all of your products or only selected categories. This allows you to have full control over which products are available in your WordPress shop.
Besides that, you can decide if these elements should be displayed:
Once an order is placed, you will be notified via email and can manage the order in your shop’s administration area – just like you are used to.
You can find detailed information about the setup in this PDF file.
The plugin has a variety of advantages for you:
You want to connect your online shop to your WordPress site now? Then just follow these instructions.
Wanted to share a few of the podcasts that I’m listening to/find interesting at the moment.
I’ve always loved the podcast format, as you can consume information, tips or stories in easily digestible chunks while leaving your hands free for other things. Whether it be your daily commute, an hour at the gym or your daily picking and packing time, I’ve always found a podcast to be a good way to add a layer of additional productivity to your "free" time.
Listed below are a few podcasts that contain interesting information, tips and tricks for online retailers, as well as a few random ones that I’m listening to at the moment in case you are looking for something else to fill some time.
All of these are available via iTunes if you search for the names below (as well as from their own sites as linked).
Please be advised that between the hours of 10:00 PM on Thursday 2nd February and 4:00AM Friday 3rd February (AEST) eCorner will be carrying out an update of our mass-hosted environment (all cloud-based online shops). The purpose of the upgrade is to update the core ePages software (to 6.17.52). During that time your website and adminstration systems will not be available.
The upgrade will be predominately for maintenance with a variety of fixes and improvements. These are aimed at creating a more stable, secure and faster system. However there are new features and services that will be added after the upgrade is complete.
The deductions available for the costs you in incur setting up a website have long been a point of speculation, as the general principles available in Australian tax law were mostly invented before the internet was as prevalent or pervasive as it is now (or in some cases long before the internet existed at all).
On 14 December 2016 the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has published their views on the topic in a public ruling titled: TR 2016/3: Income tax: deductibility of expenditure on a commercial website.
Through this ruling the Commissioner seeks to clarify the ATO’s expectations in relation to the treatment of expenditure incurred by a business in relation to its online presence. However, does it actually make commercial and practical sense?
You can get an online store up and running in 12 days!
There are some definite and important steps to get an online store or business started but it takes a little time. If you are a website or eCommerce novice then don't expect to work it out in the first five minutes. To be successful and build a good online presence needs time and some planning. An online business is still a business. You need to manage your business and when selling online that means managing your online store, products and content. You have to connect to other systems and channels to promote your products, organise shipping and to take payments for your products. It is not that difficult but for a new starter it can be a challenge. eCorner's role is to help with the challenging technical issues and provide you with an online shop that sells your products and sevices successfully.
Start a free trial online store and you will learn what it takes to sell online and how to use a hosted ecommerce solution. But the best news is that it gives you 30 days to setup your online free of charge. When you are ready to launch just let us know and we convert your trial store ot a real online store for your business.
Before you start thinking about software and hosting, there are some basic requirements that need to be met. If you do a little planning and think about the business structure it can save you heaps of time later.
Read more about this topic - Establish the basics.
It is important to get the right online store system for your business and that is eCorner's speciality. We recommend starting a free trial and getting a feel for the system. The good part it's free and what you do in the trial can be kept and converted to a live store so it is like getting the first 30 days free. Plan a couple of days to start and ask for our free training.
Read more - Select an online store system.
Your eCommerce package comes with a range of themes that you can use ‘out-of-the-box’. You can fully customise your theme or you can use one of our complete custom themes to help you get started. You can find lots or great information about our themes and deign on our website. Don't be afraid to start with something simple with eCorner's online store updating design is really easy. eCorner can also help you with your first design as part of the free training.
Read more - Design Themes and Layout.
Content really is king - good content means a more successful business. Most people will find your online store using a search engine like Google and search engines love content. So it is important to create great content. by content we mean category pages, blogs and importantly products. If you want to be successful then comprehensive product content and great photos are essential.
Read more - Prepare the site content.
Two of the most important business decisions that you will make will be how to calculate shipping costs and how to accept payments. Both are key to a successful and profitable online business. A good eCommerce system will have a range of payment and delivery options available to you straight out of the box. You simply select the options that best suit your business!
Read more - Delivery and Payments.
Most people search on Google or Bing to find the products and services that they want. Good search engine rankings are a result of good content. But make sure that you look at the quality of the important search engines meta tags and that you have included your main keywords. Don’t pay hundreds of dollars per month for so-called ‘SEO experts’. During the trial use the extensive search engine optimisation toolkit!
Read more - Search Engine Optimisation Built-in.
Read more - Legal Content and Trust.
A good eCommerce solution will offer a range of marketing and multi-channel sales tools ‘out-of-the-box’. We include; Newsletters, Cross-sell and upsell, Ratings and reviews, Social media, Promotional items, eBay and Facebook shop; and lots more. Spend some time getting to know how the various internal and external marketing features work. By external we mean services like Google Adwords, Adroll, Google Shopping, Getprice and the many other portals and markets. The website has to work well on any device so that your market effort will work for you.
Once you have the online store setup the work does not stop. It is a constant process of reviewing results and making improvements. The window in to your audience (online buyers) in the website analytics that can be used totrack activity. Improve your results by understanding customer behaviour and focus your attention where needed. Real-time reporting (Wagtail Analytics) and Google analytics helps you understand what your customer is doing on your store.
Read more - Understand what is happening on your website.
This is a question that we get asked regularly. Many people are striving for extra income or may have some extra time on their hands to give it a go. We also see people starting multiple businesses and expanding the products and services that they offer.
New customers may call in and ask "what do you suggest that I sell online?" This can be a difficult conversation as starting a business without a product probably means that there is no business plan and the likely outcome will not be good.
When writing content for your website, sales pages and product descriptions it’s easy to get caught in the trap of listing loads of information and features. But it’s important to keep your customers in mind.
Here are a dozen writing basics I’ve gathered over a decade+ writing websites.