There are many small businesses with great ideas and/or great products but seem to have trouble transitioning from brick and motor to online sales. These people rarely have a grasp on the huge amount of work involved in building, running and maintaining a web store. A true web store is much more than just a “shopping cart”. Let me go over the basics in 6 steps to explain how I can build your store on a realistic budget.
First you need to secure the website itself. That being the domain name and hosting. Take time to find a good domain as this is pretty important for the overall branding of your product. With any new idea, the first thing I do is secure the domain. There are many services for this such as GoDaddy. After you have the domain you want to set up a hosting package. I have had mixed results from a number of “big name” providers. For that reason I can secure hosting for you with a company I know and trust at competitive rates. I have had nothing but excellent results with this server.
Now that you have your domain and hosting, we need to build the store itself. The old way of doing this would be to manually build a web store, but that doesn’t make financial sense anymore. There are many packaged solutions that can be installed and customized much faster and cheaper than ever before. Once we have a store chosen and installed, then we have to style the store to meet your needs of the product. Generally this style is related to what you are selling, but not always.
The next step is to configure the shipping portion of your web store. Each product sold is going to be shipped and you need to calculate that cost before you collect any money. Many of the packaged web stores have modules available from all of the name brand companies. This module will factor the product size and shipping location to provide a cost that will be included in the sale price.
None of this work will do anything unless you can collect money! Generally these packaged stores also have payment modules built in as well. PayPal being a very common source. There is a cost involved in using PayPal, above and beyond the rate charged per transaction. Many have a monthly fee to use the service as well. All things to consider when building your store and figuring the price point for your product.
At this point you have a fully operational store, but nothing to sell yet. A sometimes tedious but very important step is adding products to your store. This process starts with defining categories for your products and arranging things in a logical order. Then you can start adding the product itself. This includes descriptions, images, reviews, pricing, inventory levels and more. The more time spent here the better as this is the most direct user interface you will have with your customers.
Finally you can make money! This is when the marketing effort can start. Generally you will want to find ways to get your product in front of customers. This is easier with niche markets, and harder with more competitive products. Lots of stores selling Nike shoes for example, so you need to figure out how you can stand out. If you have a widget that fits a particular car for example, then find car forums or email lists directed at that type of car allowing you to target your marketing for best results. Laminar Consulting can help with this effort.
Moral of the story is that Laminar Consulting can handle building your web store. It requires a lot of planning on both parties to make a successful product. CONTACT US to start discussing where to begin with your web store!