Building an E-commerce website:
E-commerce websites can be challenging, there are only two e-commerce systems in the industry that are worth taking a look at for small to medium business, Shopify & Woocommerce.
- Shopify is its own system, allowing people to pay for a e-commerce website and manage it themselves, a popular option for smaller stores.
- Woocommerce is an engine for building woocommerce websites, I use it as a framework when building websites, many of the stores I have built have been very successful on that framework. A couple of my clients had their sites and products featured on dragons den and have driven sales amounting to $20,000 /monthly with no issue.
Online Store Planning
In my experience, there are a couple of points to be aware of when building online stores, first it's to learn that E-commerce stores all really have a similar design and framework and the closer we stay to that the more successful it will be (clients coming to the site will already know how to use it). E-commerce sites from a design perspective are simple; product categories on the left, products on the right. I have attached a screenshots below;
Here is an example of understanding product entry and how e-commerce sites can manage product and inventory.
- Example: A simple method of inputting products would be adding 9 products for small, medium, large t-shirts, that come in three different colours, blue, red, white.
- Example 2: An advanced educated method of inputting products would be 1 product with 2 attributes size and colour resulting in 9 variations
- small blue t-shirt
- small red t-shirt
- small white t-shirt
That way you set up one product and it can actually be 9 different products because of the variations, I have seen people do this backwards, and then when it comes to managing their inventory they can't keep track of anything, and the stores fail.
Another challenging topic is shipping, there are "plugins" that integrate to your website and automatically calculate shipping on weight & dimensions and distance (UPS, CANADA POST and FEDEX). However it can be a lot of data entry and management, I don't recommend using that option in beginning. Your best to flat rate your shipping when you start, and figure out some box sizes.
Take Good Photos! Depending on how many products your selling and how often they change, you may want to outsource this or setup a small little studio yourself. Amazon has a great option many small online store owners use, https://www.amazon.com/MyStudio-Professional-Lightbox-Lighting-Photography/dp/B0015450T6 for $300 dollar investment, with a $500 dollar good camera it's sometimes easier to it yourself. Hopefully this helps give you good baseline of information :)