These days, there are several platforms available to set up your e-commerce business on, you can even decide not to have an e-commerce website and sell through Facebook, Amazon, eBay and other similar websites. But, I don’t recommend that because you will be building your business on somebody else’s space and any day he wakes up and decides the face of your business is no longer interesting to him, he can decide to sweep you out and you can’t do anything about it.
The best platform is to set up your own e-commerce website, either with Shopify or WordPress WooCommerce.
The platform you choose between these two should come after you’ve put certain things into consideration.
Shopify is easier and user-friendly, you don’t have to deal with the hassle of installing WordPress and customizing your store. On Shopify, you have several plugins available at your disposal to promote your products and aid your site set up in a streamlined way, there’s a robust plugin with outstanding functionalities, it’s called Oberlo and it helps you import products from AliExpress, so helpful if you are into dropshipping. If you stock your products, there are still plugins to handle certain tasks. Most of them are free while so many others are paid.
All these advantages come with a cost, you have to pay Shopify for hosting your store monthly (you start with a 14 days trial and you might even be lucky, you might start making sales before the trial period expires). So, the only disadvantage Shopify has is that it’s quite expensive to stay onboard and the cost might drill deep into your pocket if your potential customers fail to start placing orders fast enough.
WooCommerce on WordPress
The other option is WooCommerce on WordPress.
WordPress powers 37% of websites online and you are sure to be able to create an amazing e-commerce website on the platform. With WooCommerce and a very nice theme, you can create an e-commerce website that’s outstanding. Let’s start from the advantages, first, it’s quite pocket-friendly compared to Shopify. You get to pay for just your hosting space, theme, domain name and then a couple of premium plugins that will aid your store in making sales. After these first and initial payments, you can as well run your store over the year and only have to renew the hosting and domain.
The downside is that setting up a WordPress website has a slight learning curve to it, it’s not that deep but you have to sit back, learn your way around WordPress and WooCommerce setup before starting or you can as well learn while setting up your store(trial and error, with the aid of Google searches). If you have the money you can hire a WordPress site customizer to set up your store.
Finally, it’s either Shopify or WooCommerce on WordPress. Shopify if you can pay their monthly service charge monthly without waking up at night to worry about it. While WooCommerce on WordPress, if you have the strength and patience to learn the ropes and also pay almost a one-time fee for setting up your site.
To your next question
Which theme should you use?
Well, theme choices borders around several things and it shouldn’t be something that’ll bother you. There are so many nice themes out there.
Let’s assume you are going the WooCommerce route, Any theme you finally settle down for, should have the ability to give your site the look, feel and the features you want on your site, if it doesn’t, look up for plugins that will add the functionality.
You can start with a Google search like this: “best WordPress theme for men’s fashion store” or “best WooCommerce theme for men’s fashion store”
The theme you choose should also be SEO friendly, and also be friendly enough to appeal to your site speed optimization efforts when the time comes, you don’t want a theme that will be a problem when you are trying to increase your site speed.
My recommendation is flatsome. Several experts have vouched for it to be the No.1 WordPress for e-commerce and that’s exactly what I am using on my men’s footwear and accessory store and I can testify that the theme is not overrated.
Note: It’s just my recommendation, you can give others a try and remember to start with a Google search for your specific store niche.
I think I am done here, let me use the last few paragraphs to give random and additional points that might help you along your e-commerce set-up journey.
On payment gateways
While implementing payment gateways, don’t just go with only PayPal and then tick that aspect as completed, instead, add a credit card payment gateway like stripe(if it’s supported in your country) alongside PayPal. In my case, stripe has no support for my country but luckily for me, We have smart people here who thought it wise to create a payment gateway.
With a simple Google search and asking around you will find the best credit card processor for your business.
Check for 2checkout, it’s another good payment gateway to look into only that you have a lot of paper works to do if you venture to knock on their door.
On Marketing and Promotional strategies
Secondly, before you start setting up your site or while setting up your site, try as much as possible to come up with or draw your marketing and promotional strategies beforehand.
Listen up, this is very important. You don’t want to complete your store, import your Inventory and find out that the task involved in marketing is quite huge and you don’t have any of the skill involved at all. This might lead you into giving up on your store even before it makes its first sale.
Set up your marketing strategy beforehand and when you don’t know anything about online marketing, start by making some Google searches, reading articles and watching YouTube videos, it’s not that hard to get your feet wet on these topics.
Learn how to engage and market on the social media platforms you will be focusing on.
Set up your social media platforms, Instagram, Facebook page, Snapchat and start producing relevant and valuable contents that will appeal to your target customers.
Look into influencer marketing also, it’s the foremost promotional strategy alongside Facebook adverts. Read up and learn everything you can about searching, contacting as bidding with your niche’s influencer on Instagram, learn Facebook adverts and it’s targeting.
On gathering emails
Thirdly, creating the means and gathering emails shouldn’t be overlooked. Don’t allow people that visit your store to leave just like that.
Whether they placed an order on your product or not, try and grab their email(you cannot come and lose the dog and lose its chain too).
Collect emails by offering something in return for it, don’t just go and slam up a notice asking them to give you their emails so as to get notified on your latest products when it comes up, if you are not Amazon, Nike or any of these big name brands, nobody gives a f*CK. We are living in a world where everybody is selfish, we all think about how things gonna benefit us and us alone, and get notified of your latest products means nothing to them. Instead, use giveaways, discounts(look up how to do that).
Don’t focus on making sales, instead, focus on adding value to your customer’s life. Don’t chase after the customer, it’s like shoving your product down their throat and then asking them to pay for it, that’s annoying and in real life, this is the same reason why mediocre salesmen receive insults.
Instead, focus on building relationships with your potential customers, then build trust and only then can they feel comfortable bringing out their wallets and credit cards to order for your products. And you can only build this relationship and trust by adding value to their lives. If you have a gadget store, go ahead and create valuable contents in form of videos, written contents on how to use the product, create contents answering all the questions they might be asking themselves and publish it out there for free.
It takes time and effort to do all these things, no matter how daunting it looks, if you really want to succeed in this e-commerce hustle, the earlier you get to work the better for your business now and your business in the nearest future.
Nothing good comes easy. Don’t work hard, work smart.
© JAY HENRY