Published on October 5th, 2013 | by Deeson Arnibal0
Shop Owners: Making The Jump To Ecommerce
Despite the recession this is still a time of expansion for many business owners. There are those that have done well either despite, or directly due to, the current economic climate (as is the case with some personal finance companies). As well as the successes, there are also those who are looking to change the direction of their business, in order to survive a lull in sales or interest. The answer to expansion or redirection is often the same; take your business online. This applies mainly to retail businesses whose aim is to sell to customers, and the ecommerce information here is specific to that. The principle of taking your business to the online market however, remains the same, and whether b2c, b2b or not for profit, the opportunities on the Internet still exist.
When setting up your company as an online trader you have to make some decisions as to what kind of site you want to run so that it ties in with your brand, budget and scale. Here are some of the options available.
The aim of an ecommerce site is to get people to make a purchase. Arguably therefore the most important part of the site is the checkout area. There are a few ways to add a checkout to your site, either by coding one into the site yourself, using a plugin on a pre-formatted site, or using an external system such as PayPal to deal with your payments. Security is paramount here, as if customers do not feel their details are safe, they will not buy, and if cyber criminals do target your site, their details will have been compromised. Cosmetics company, Lush, used to run their own checkout on site, but following a high profile hacking they have since switched to a third party operator to deal with payments. Unless you really know your stuff with code, go for a pre-built checkout system.
CMS or Static Site
When it comes to building your site you have a couple of options. Build it in its entirety from scratch and code it to your exact specifications, or use an ecommerce specific content management system. A content management system is the easier of the two options, especially if you are not technically minded. Sites built in a CMS are also harder for cyber criminals to gain access to as they have been rigorously tested. Symantec checked over 1.5 million sites last year, and found 53% had vulnerabilities so you will want to make sure yours falls outside of that statistic. For more stats on security trends last year refer to this infographic, and the second part here.
Third Party Sites
Another great option, especially for smaller companies, is to tout your wares on a third party shop in the first instance, before expanding to your own site. You can create a shop on eBay, Etsy, through Facebook, Gumtree, or one of many other options. Do a bit of promotion to support your listings, make them stand out and you will soon find customers will find your offering.
Using the Internet to grow or alter your business focus is a great way to earn some more money, without having to shift your business model. Work out what sort of company you have, how you would like to progress, and which of the above would best fit with your skill set. Always keep in mind online security, both for yourself and your customers, and you should have no problems along the way.