Say you have an idea, a dream if you will, to become an entrepreneur by selling a product from home. Friends, colleagues, and family members love this product and tell you all the time to quit your day job and make a living out of sales. Instead of burning your bridges, the idea of starting small with ecommerce seems like a safer solution, so you conduct research. There is a lot to learn.
Now that ecommerce is a big deal, there are more ways to go about setting up a business. There are website templates through Open Source companies. Web designers will be glad to take on the work. There are software programs to consider, plus the option to simply use Amazon or Ebay. They are already set up and take on reseller clients at a fee. Which route should the entrepreneur choose?
Costs of Ecommerce
Before starting a site, test the waters with social media. You can begin a small business site for free without a shopping cart or online money transactions. Simply tell people what you have to sell, let them know how to contact you, and arrange to deal with checks through the mail. If this works, now you have the proof you needed that ecommerce is the right step.
Even building a basic, no-frills website will involve software, provided through a web host as part of their monthly subscription fee. This could be as little as $20, less if you book for six months at a time or use a coupon code to secure cheaper services.
Software handles the structure of an ecommerce page and also calculates data for you.
The most critical part of choosing a host is picking one that offers secure services. They are all secure to a point, but the top choice will offer the best security ratings and optional extras. Consumers look for security features like an SSL certificate and top-rated antivirus defense. SEO rankings are affected by security too.
Search Engine Optimization
How do you inspire people to choose your business and not another? Give them lots of clues on the internet that help search engines find you, like virtual bread crumbs. Post coupons and codes on affiliate marketing sites. Hire affiliates to earn commission by promoting you. It’s a no-lose situation since payment is dependent on sales. Enhance ratings by selecting web hosting with great uptime and excellent speed. Keep backlinks to a minimum, making arrangements with other websites which relate to your business (advertising jewelry on a fashion blog, for instance). Search engines penalize random connections and reward sensible ones.
The two most popular means of paying for items over the internet are credit card and Paypal. The latter feels more secure than giving credit card details, but each one is really as safe as the system hosting this transaction.
Credit card options can be difficult if a bank rejects an application to start a merchant account. Both banks and Paypal take commission from sales and they can really add up.
Choose Amazon or Ebay
If this all sounds like too much work, consider setting up as a reseller on one of the major networks. They will take a cut, of course, but infrastructure is all dealt with for you. All you have to do is maintain a good reputation for prompt delivery of quality product, write sensible content that helps searches on Amazon et al. find your product, and earn good reviews.
Plan to Grow
In order to make a sensible decision, you have to also know how much you wish to grow as a business. If you are really successful, expect to outgrow a spare room or garage storage space. Before that time, businesses must invest to succeed.