Disclaimer: How to guides by ThoughtLab generally assume an intermediate level of web application management knowledge by the reader.
Have you considered stepping up your ecommerce game for your small business? Now is the time. Maybe you do not even sell your products online yet. Why not? It's sort of a no brainer at this point, current challenges and circumstances aside.
It’s still unknown how COVID-19 will ultimately impact ecommerce across the board. While shopping online increased in the short term, supply chain issues, shortage of products, and consumer demand could affect the outlook for the foreseeable future.
For many small businesses now is the perfect time to take the ecommerce plunge.
To set expectations correctly, this is not a quick flip of a switch to selling more. You will have to work at building your store and growing sales online. And of course there is an ongoing content marketing plan to execute. But what better motivation is there than a global health crisis that has closed up physical business locations for months.
Is this really something I could do myself?
In a nutshell, yes. You may be surprised to learn that it no longer takes a major investment in technology or contracted services to get set-up with a professional and responsive web store. With a bit of knowledge and a small investment, specialty retailers, lifestyle brands, and even Mom-and-Pop main street shops can be fulfilling orders online in no time.
There are DIY plug-n-play solutions for building your website, setting up your store, marketing, and everything in between. Below are a couple of our favorite ecommerce solution providers that can help you start selling online quickly.
Recommended 3rd party ecommerce services.
Gone are the days of hiring a programmer to set-up a web store. There are plenty of 3rd party SaaS companies now that offer turnkey solutions for powering ecommerce conversions, lead actions, as well as tools for inventory management, order fulfillment, and more.
There are of course business use cases that will require customization beyond what packaged 3rd party ecommerce systems can provide, but more than 9 of 10 retail businesses of all sizes will find one of the following two options to be suitable:
Shopify. A proprietary ecommerce platform that offers online retailers a suite of services including payments, marketing, shipping and customer engagement tools to simplify the process of running an online store. Shopify pros include ease of use and low cost. Cons include limitations for both SEO and design.
WooCommerce. An open-source ecommerce system packaged as a plugin for Wordpress. It is scalable, and designed for small to large-sized online retailers. A steeper learning curve, but it's powered by Wordpress...which means open source flexibility, scalability, and plugins for everything you need, including SEO website optimization.
If you took a look at Shopify or WooCommerce and decided this was not in fact a DIY task, reach out to connect with web design or digital marketing experts from ThoughtLab today. If we can't help, we'll stear you in the right direction.