SBX 19: How To Get Started In Ecommerce

Have you always wanted to create an eCommerce store for your business but don’t know where to start?

Creating an Ecommerce store, as a stand alone store or to supplement your brick and mortar, can be a great way for a local business to create a much broader reach than a physical location ever could.

So why doesn’t every business do it?

Because creating an Ecommerce store is not like creating a blog or regular business website, the learning curve is fairly steep and if you don’t do it right, it can be end up costing you a lot of money with little return.

In this episode of The Small Business Express podcast, we’ll discuss the basics of Ecommerce and the first steps you can take to get started.

Listen and Learn…

  • If an Ecommerce store is right for you and deciding if you’re ready to take on such a big project
  • An overview of how Ecommerce works and the elements that make up an Ecommerce store
  • The pros and cons of running an Ecommerce store
  • How to look like an online giant despite having an itty bitty storefront location
  • The difference between a hosted and self-hosted Ecommerce solution and which one is best to get started with
  • Great resources to get you started on the road to creating your own Ecommerce store
Adorama camera

This little NYC camera shop was (still is) an online giant in the early days of Ecommerce. Gary purchased his first digital camera online from them.

Action Steps from this episode:

  1. Deciding if ecommerce is right for you.  The first step is to decide if an ecommere store would be a logical step for your business. If you sell products, it probably is a very appealing option, it really comes down to if you understand the work involved and are ready to jump into it with two both feet. It takes a lot of work and fine tuning to get a website to make sales for you.

  2. Decide what kind of shopping cart to use.  When we talk about a shopping cart, we’re talking about the type of software platform you will use to power your eCommerce store. There are two options, hosted and self-hosted solutions. Hosted solutions are shopping carts where they take care of everything for you….from the website hosting, to the shopping cart, to the payment gateway and everything else….it’s an all in one solution. It’s a great way to get started and is usually recommended if you’re just getting started in eCommerce. It’s easy to use, but still very powerful, enough to run a full blown Ecommerce business A self hosted solution is where you install the shopping cart software on your own server and have to provide your own payment gateway, website hosting and everything else that’s needed to power your store. People will usually choose a self-hosted solution when they need a lot more customization than a hosted platform can provide and they have the technical resources to setup and maintain their own online store.

  3. Resources to get started.  If you decide that Ecommerce is something you want to pursue, the first step is to really (really) educate yourself about Ecommerce and understanding how the sales cycle works online and the important elements required for a successful store. You also have to know how to drive traffic and conversions on the site or else the whole thing is a big waste of time.  Check the resource section below for some great places to start.

Links and Resources:

  1. Shopify is a hosted Ecommerce solution that makes it pretty easy to create your own online store.  Also check out their blog which has some greater started guides if you’re new to Ecommerce.
  2. Big Commeerce is another easy to use hosted Ecommerce solution that brings together everything you need to get started.
  3. Magento is an open source self-hosted solution.  More difficult to set up and get started but offer more control and options than a hosted solution.  Not necessarily recommended if this is your first Ecommerce rodeo.
  4. Ecommerce Fuel is a great blog (and podcast) that gives you an inside look at what it’s like to start and grow your own Ecommerce store.  The host, Andrew Youderian is a veteran Ecommerce store owner and all round good guy.
  5. Build My Online Store is a great Ecommerce podcast (and blog) with lots of great interviews that covers the basics as well as how to deliver a great online experience to your customers.  Host Terry Lin (good guy) gives you an honest, no-hype look into creating your won Ecommerce store.
  6. ConversionXL is a fantastic blog that focuses on conversion optimization, not only for Ecommerce, but for any website.
  7. SBX Podcast episode 11, traps to avoid when creating a website for your business.
  8. A good article from Digital Aptitude on remarketing and why you should be using it as part of your marketing mix.

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Comments

  1. Rebecca Gibbs says:

    Great episode guys! I want to add an online store for my bakery so this really gave me some great ideas! It was really great that you offered advice for starting out with a small store and moving up to a larger ecommerce. Gave me a lot to think about. Cup-in-a-mug is definitely going online! But I also hope to get some other items online also. 😀
    And unlike Mike, I won’t take 5+ years. 😛

    • That’s what they allllll say! Haha. Yes. Avoid the half-decade of death if you can. HOWEVER, one argument in my defense? Who I was, what the vision was, and what the circumstances were in 2009 *pales* in comparison to it’s 2014 equivalent. If there’s any saving grace, I suppose that would be it.

      • Rebecca Gibbs says:

        So very true Mike! That’s how I feel about myself even from last year when I first started out as compared to now. So much growth which will make my new direction be even stronger and better!

  2. Thanks a lot for excellent article, your advice is very useful to me.

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