Continuing from our blog on Is e-commerce right for you, e-commerce is somewhat simpler if you’re already a store owner. But if you’re starting a new business with your online store, don’t fret—all you’ll need are some products you love, and your will to sell.
Before you start, here are some things you’ll need to do:
Decide on the products you’re going to sell.
Have clear, high-resolution photos of all your products, from different angles, along with concise descriptions and specifications. Your manufacturer may have them, otherwise, consider hiring a professional photographer.
Gain a basic understanding of how SEO works, so that your products get listed on Google.
Set up payment providers. Some common ones are Authorize.net, Paypal, Braintree, and Stripe.
Depending on how wide your coverage area is, choose a logistics partner, and decide on your shipping rates accordingly.
Get acquainted with taxes, if you haven’t already. You’ll want to charge taxes as your state or country requires.
Think about the content that goes on your website. It helps for the content be in tune with your brand’s voice and style. Also, choose your theme and design your website accordingly.
Costs that You’ll Incur
Shipping Cost: Ideally, shipping costs will make up about 5% to 15% of the product’s price. Get in touch with your local delivery agency and work out your shipping costs.
Packaging Cost: Packaging will cost you anywhere between 0.5% and 2% of the product’s selling price. Evaluate different materials for packaging and the cost you’ll have to incur for each.
Payment Gateway Cost: Most payment gateways have a one-time set up fee, transaction fees, and an annual maintenance cost. These will cost you about 1.5-5% of your product’s selling price.
Warehouse Cost: Storing your products is an expense you might have to incur. Take warehouse costs into account while planning your e-commerce venture.
Marketing Cost: To get your business out there, you’ll have to spend time on online marketing. Google Ads is a neat platform if you want people to find you by keywords and region. You can also try out email marketing using Mailchimp.
Your profit margin comes from what’s left of your selling price after you deduct the above costs and the sourcing costs. Crunch the numbers and make sure you get a positive margin before you start your business.
Building Your E-commerce Website
Before you build your ecommerce website, the first thing you’ll want to do is choose an e-commerce platform. If you’re a small- to medium-sized business with limited needs, Zoho Commerce can be a right fit.
To build your online store, follow these steps:
- Sign in, get an account, and use the free trial period to get a feel for the platform’s interface.
- Follow the prompts. Add the products that you’ll be selling, along with product images, descriptions, and SEO.
- Based on your logistics arrangements, set up your shipping zones and define your shipping rate for each zone. These shipping rates will automatically be added during checkout. Set up your shipping carriers, if you have any.
- Enter your tax rates so that taxes are automatically calculated at checkout.
- Set up your payment gateways. To do this, enter the account info or codes you received when you initially set up your payment providers. This will link your payment gateways to your website.
When you’re done with these steps, your e-commerce website is ready to publish—you just have to set up your domain. You can choose a free subdomain, map a new domain, or buy a new custom domain. As your business grows, it’s good to have your own domain, since it lends you credibility and more domain authority.
The Final Word
To sum up, e-commerce is a solid platform to launch your business. As with anything, take your time and evaluate your options before you go all in. Try visualizing the business process—from getting an order to shipping goods. This will give you more clarity and confidence in your undertaking, moving forward.
Zoho Commerce is an online, cloud-based e-commerce platform designed to suit the requirements of any small to medium-sized business. If you have questions about getting started with Zoho Commerce, write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.