Are you ready to build an ecommerce site? If you have been following me up to now you have already selected your ecommerce software and ecommerce hosting and you are ready to get started with the actual building and promotion of your site. Don't worry I'm still here to help I won't abandon you now.
Do you know what you are going to sell? Are you sure there is enough demand for what you are offering without to many other competitors? Do you have a supplier who can provide you with the products at a wholesale price and/or dropship them for you? Now is a good time to do some essential research before you invest your money and more importantly your time.
Your first step should be to do some keyword research. This will tell you if there is enough demand for what you are offering and not to much competition. For instance some keywords are much more competitive then others and will be harder to get customers, wouldn't you rather know this now before you build your entire ecommerce site? An excellent tool for this keyword research is SiteSellIt. This is the software I use to create this very website and I can tell you that the keyword research tools alone is worth the price of the entire tool and they offer you an entire 10 day master plan to your marketing. The tutorials are very worthwhile for a new business owner, especiall if this is your first time getting online.
Now that you know what you want to sell how do you get it at a good price? What you need is a wholesale product supplier or dropshipper. Whats the difference? A dropshipper will automatically send the products out for you versus a regular wholesale relationship where you buy the products in a large quantity and then send them yourself. Your goal should be to work directly with the actual wholesaler and not a middleman. Worldwide Brands offers the most comprehensive directory with access to wholesalers who work with small businesses along with ebooks and tutorials to get you started. If you think you are headed more towards a dropship relationship then Heinote offers a smaller directory geared only at dropshippers at a lower cost. Both are high quality directories to help you find sources for your products.
Your domain name is how people will find you and its important to get the right name now. Spend the time to get it right today so you don't regret it later. I recommend using GoDaddy to register your name.
If you are selling items online its important to decide which software you will be using to build your ecommerce site. Read these shopping cart reviews to help you decide.
Once you start building your ecommerce site you should immediately start promoting the web site. Do NOT wait until your online store is perfect before you tell anyone. I know I'm sure you are saying but what if someone comes to the site and it's not ready, what do I do then? Chances are it will NOT happen but just in case, put up a message indicating that the site is not ready and maybe a form for the customer to enter their name onto your list for when you do launch.
One of the hardest parts of building an ecommerce site is the promotion and this takes both effort and time. If you wait until your site is completely ready before you start promoting it, you will most likely be waiting weeks or months before you start to see any real traffic. Take advantage of the free Google ecommerce tools that can help with your site promotion.
When you build an ecommerce site you need to accept credit cards, how do you do this and what fees are involved? To accept credit cards in your store you need something called a merchant account and a payment gateway. The payment gateway communicates with your shopping cart software and tells you whether the card is accepted or denied and the merchant account deposits the money into your bank account. Find out more about ecommerce merchant accounts and the fees involved in accepting credit cards.
Once you start accepting credit cards its important to be vigilant of credit card fraud. If you are not careful you could end up sending goods and then having the money taken back because it was a fraudulent order. Learn more about how to prevent credit card fraud with Maxmind.
Do you display a phone number on your ecommerce site? If not, you should, it's proven to increase sales. But what if you don't have a dedicated business line? A virtual phone system offers the benefits of a separate line without the extra cost and phones. I personally use and love their service.