What is involved in setting up a simple ecommerce website? It’s easy to find examples of fully realized ecommerce experiences, but why will nobody show you how they got there? Probably because it involves work and decisions that set the procrastination meter to 100 – but stick with it! You can be selling around the clock in no time!
Adding ecommerce to your website is a great move to add ROI on your current website investment!
In an effort to help clients who’ve made the move to enhance their website, here is a quick article of what is involved for everyone. This means what your designer will do to your site as well as the basic business decisions involved to start, manage, and maintain an online store in the longterm.
Like other websites, every ecommerce site has different goals, products, and concerns when selling their products online. While the information below is not likely complete for every situation, it should give you a basic idea of the overall process for the business and designer. If you have unanswered questions, please leave a comment or contact us for more information! We will edit this article to include questions too good to overlook!
Often overlooked too far down the process, a business must decide how stock will be handled (sometimes a deal breaker), but there are a few options:
The base software we use is free, however, if advanced functions are required, then add-ons are extra and may required a yearly renewal in order to qualify for continual software updates. The design and/or layout of the website will also need to be adjusted to accommodate the display of products.
There are a number of payment options available. Functions available are “Pay Online” by credit card, “Pay Offline” (this would allow the collection of a credit card # but you can process it with an existing credit card terminal), “Pay at Pickup”, OR you have the option to use your shop as a catalogue to generate leads to suit your business model, meaning, you don’t have to sell anything to make it worthwhile!
We recommend Paypal or Square as your credit card processor*. Our ecommerce software is able to easily use Paypal or Square as your credit card processor out of the box, and there is no charge to use either if you do not generate transactions, and both charge a transaction fee comparable to most other processors. Though we are most familiar with Paypal (we use Paypal!), both are easy to set up and we can assist you.
Sidenote: If your small business needs a swiper without the contracts, Square offers a free swiper attached to your smartphone!
*Please note we will need access to your Paypal account or close cooperation to configure your site to work with Paypal.
Sales tax and shipping rates for your products will need to be configured for what you sell and based on where you are willing to ship (national or international).
Regarding tax, in Canada you will need to supply what products require GST, PST, and/or both, and if those taxes are applicable to buyers inside and/or outside your Province. If you intend to sell internationally, taxes will need to be decided for those locations as well (which could mean no taxes).
Shipping is usually the hardest decision of the whole process and is quite often where software add-ons are required depending on the situation. Options range from EASY, Medium, or COMPLEX.
If you’ve made it this far, it’s apparent why ecommerce suppliers typically provide a finished example of ecommerce and gloss over the real work involved. It’s dry stuff compared to the final shopper’s experience, BUT IT’S ALL WORTH IT!
Creating ecommerce is definitely not as fun as having your final, fully operational online store, but once you are up and running, you’ve realized the unlimited potential of 24-7 sales! Let us help!
Scott Kasprick is a graphic designer in Brandon, Manitoba and owns and operates Reaxion Graphics while helping his wife raise three lively daughters!