What’s the difference between building a website and building an e-commerce site? They are both valuable.
But building an e-commerce site is much more complicated than it sounds.
Let me give you a quick example: If we build a website for our own website, we would have to write the HTML code and the CSS code for that one website, which means we would have to be aware of all the technical details (e.g. how to load images and pages) that lay behind every page on our site. On top of that, we would have to be aware of how it can be used by other websites. This is something we believe has already been done in every single e-commerce software market, so there’s no need for us to do it here—everyone has done this already!
We know these technical details; we’ve got good discussions with several experts who know about it; we have implemented solutions for all these features ourselves; besides, we even wrote them ourselves when developing a previous version of our software; so… why should we add another layer of complexity? What if someone else needs this kind of feature? It makes no sense!
2. Elements of an E-commerce Site
Your e-commerce site needs to be different, and you need to consider the following before you begin:
1. Any time you are selling physical goods, they need to be shipped to your customer by a third party (which may include your own carrier and/or a 3rd party).
2. The shipping is often handled by the 3rd party as well.
3. You will probably also have to deal with on-site shipping or pick up from your customers at their home (or wherever it is convenient for them).
4. You want to provide an easy way for your customers to pay you electronically, in advance of their order being shipped.
5. If your customers are paying with credit cards, you need a way for them to send payments securely over the Internet (via SSL or similar) and avoid having their card numbers exposed online as well as providing a secure payment mechanism for accepting payments from other merchants (this is not necessarily required if credit cards are being used).
3. How to Build a Website
This is a basic topic for any web entrepreneur. Why? Because it’s a gateway to the rest of this blog — and more importantly it’s the first place where I personally see some of the most common mistakes that new entrepreneurs make in developing their websites.
In general, you want to build your site on a CMS (e.g., WordPress) so that you can add content, customize the structure and layout, etc. You also want to use product images or videos (if applicable) as well as links to your product pages on other sites so that you can reach new customers across social media and search engines.
You also want to do things like:
• Understand your visitors’ needs
• Build user-friendly landing pages with page titles, content & other elements that are easy for visitors to find and understand
• Ensure your site is SEO-friendly & well-optimized so that search engines recognize it as an authority resource & link appropriately (though it’s always better not to be an authority resource 😉 )
That said, I think it is important for us as an industry to not get hung up on technical details (in particular with regards to SEO). Yes, you need good keywords, great content and relevant images. But if all those things aren’t enough then maybe you don’t have what it takes to succeed in this industry at all.
4. Site Security
Once you have done all the work to get your product ready for launch, it is time to start thinking about the next step. You need to:
* Determine if you should create a storefront (with product pages) or a self-hosted shop (where your customers and products are stored locally).
* Determine if you should run a traditional website or an e-commerce site.
* Do you want to sell physical goods or digital goods?
* Should you use a regular shopping cart or a shopping cart type service?
* How do you want customers to pay for your products and services?
All these decisions are important and you have to make them with care. Once you are down the path of building and running an e-commerce site, just like any other site, there is every chance that it will suffer from some kind of security problems. This is not just because we are trying to steal our own shadow; it is also because all the processes we had in place when we built our first web site in 2007 might not be adequate for today’s security requirements. The good news is that there are plenty of good tools out there that can help automate those processes while offering great user interfaces and ease of use: like Shopify or Magento. Even though these tools mostly focus on being desktop applications, they can be used from an iOS device by way of an app store, so they can be used across iOS devices too. These tools also offer great support for localization both in English and in different languages such as Spanish (Magento), French (Shopify), German (Magento), Dutch (Shopify) etc…
Have you been thinking about the idea of creating your own e-commerce store? If so, why not check out this post on how to design for mobile stores on iOS here . To get started with building your own store, check out this post on how to build Shopify stores here . If so, would like some helpful tips on using Shopify as well as some advice on setting up course creation right away? Check this post out here , if so then please check out this blog post on setting up Shopify courses right away here . Or perhaps even better yet! Check out this blog post on setting up Magento courses right away here . Lastly, if you would rather see yourself as a developer instead… check out these posts first before checking into this blog post which explains how to set up Magemonetizer using Rubyg
5. Payment and Delivery Options
Here’s a really important point: by the time you post a product on the web, you are almost certainly going to have to do some form of payment and delivery.
Not only that, but even if you don’t, you should definitely consider it.
The cost of buying physical goods will vary depending on your local or country market, but if you are making something that can be shipped anywhere in the world and delivered in a fallow window of time (more than 3 weeks) then there is a good chance that someone will pay for it. This is true for almost any product in any price range.
You can decide not to accept payment online and simply ship the product to your customer. It sounds like a great idea, but unfortunately this isn’t what most people want from their e-commerce site: they want it to be simple enough for them to make payments through PayPal or Credit Card, but complex enough for them to be able to get products from Amazon when they need them. So, as I said earlier: there is one way out of this mess that I strongly recommend against: building an e-commerce site without first figuring out whether anyone is going to pay for it first.
If you start off with an e-commerce site without an existing payment model or delivery options (ie: no PayPal or Credit Card), then your customers will just assume that they have no choice but to pay with cash or cashier’s check (or else risk being charged late fees). The merchants who do accept payment through PayPal and Credit Cards (like Amazon) will also assume that they aren’t happy with using PayPal because they aren’t able to track purchases via that system and charge late fees when customers use their credit cards instead — which makes no sense when PayPal doesn’t even offer it as an option).
Once you have a payment system in place and delivery options available — which is probably different from country-to-country — then the problem is solved for any merchant willing to accept payments first through PayPal and/or Credit Cards before offering other ways of getting paid (ie: Paypal may not be a viable option because it requires some trust on part of the merchant).
I am very aware of the fact that this isn’t possible “out there” yet — show me an actual retailer out there today who uses either PayPal or Credit Cards — but I would advise against starting off without these two
When we first started out our company, my manager and I had very little to go on. We needed to know how to make a site that people would want to use. However, we knew none of the details about how e-commerce sites work, so we started by making a Wiki page for ourselves. We initially added some content that was helpful to us and then added some links to other products that were helpful to us.
Later, we built up a small community of people who attended weekly support meetings (they were held twice a week and looked like this: ) where I would give advice based on what I knew at the time. My manager also did his best to help with this and he was always willing to bring people in from outside our team who would show up with their own ideas or just ask questions.
I’m not sure how much influence this community had but it certainly helped shape our thinking around what we could do with our site. After all, they were there with ideas of their own; they came from different backgrounds than myself; they didn’t want any part of being in an intermediary role in the purchasing process; they didn’t want a staff member telling them what they should be doing; they wanted a web designer who could get them focused on their goals as quickly as possible rather than spending an hour or more trying to explain how e-commerce works. The result was that none of them ever wanted anything except for their own information about their products (which is nice, because it means you can concentrate on your own design instead of waiting for someone else).
When you have no idea what you are doing you will often find it easier not to speak up when there is an issue that needs addressing. However, if you are looking into building your own company/product then it is important for everyone involved — including yourself — that everyone understands what is happening. If you do not understand something then there will be problems arising from this lack of understanding and someone else will have an issue which needs solving (and usually faster than if no one has ever had an issue). It may take more effort but it is worth putting in those extra steps if your product helps others solve theirs too — even if only temporarily!