Don’t just advertise your products, sell them on your site!

If your website is used to promote a business that offers products and services for sale, then it’s not a bad idea to consider selling directly on your website.

Doing so can be tricky though, where do you start?

There are a few ways to look at eCommerce:

1)  you can either use a bespoke website such as Amazon, eBay or Etsy to sell your products.  The advantage here is that there’s very little effort required in setting up.

On eBay and Amazon you can set up a store which entitles you to preferential rates and allows you to quickly add products.  You can also have some integration with your website which allows you to display some of your wares on your website, even though the transaction will still be done through the 3rd party site.

2)  You can integrate a third party eCommerce platform for your site.  Doing this gives you the advantage that you don’t have to pay the kinds of commission that you’d have to pay to Amazon or eBay, but it can be tricky to setup.

Exactly how you’d go about it would depend upon your existing website, but the results can be made to look a lot like your website, which is reassuring for customers.  Depending on the platform you can setup payment from major credit cards or allow payment to be made via bank transfer or Cheque.  You could even integrate Paypal to allow for online instant payments.

3)  If you don’t already have a website then you could build your site from the ground up to incorporate your store.  This is the approach that most major retailers such as online home wares catalogs or online concert tickets retailers take.  These companies primary business is to sell you products, so their websites operate as such, they’re effectively eCommerce stores with company information attached.

The major advantage here is that your store will be full integrated in your website.  They’ll look the same, perform the same, and offer quick and easy access to your products and services for your customers.

4)  Some website creation suites or platforms already have eCommerce features built in, or available as a plugin.  For WordPress there’s eShop, which offers stock control, sales data, discount options and more.  The disadvantage is that it doesn’t have any checkout facility.  Users will still have to be contacted to confirm their order and pay for it.

 Whatever method you elect, eCommerce can take up a serious amount of time and effort to manage, so it’s important to consider how much additional revenue it’s going to generate and whether this warrants implementing eCommerce on your site.

That being said, if your products are unique enough, cheap enough or good enough then eCommerce can help you reach up to 6 billion people, and few companies that don’t use eCommerce can boast as much.

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