The biggest growing retail market in 2014 was E-commerce, why? Well, it’s simple. There is no rent, there are no employees, no inventory lying around, and most importantly, with many new shipping options available you don’t need to get out of your chair to strike a deal! sound like a dream right? well, it can be, if you go over these steps and mark them all – you are on your way to make some money $$$
Do You Know Your Product?
sound like the dumbest question but apparently it’s not, do you plan on selling specific line of products like toys, fan gear, jewelry or you planning of selling what ever falls in your hand?
if you chose the second option, an e-bay store will probably suit you better to start, but if you know exactly what you have to offer than an e-commerce site will work for you. let’s start…
Are you looking forward or just thinking about this product?
if you notice, we are talking about the real basis of opening an e-commerce site before you even chose your domain, that’s because KCS Brands believe that if you already invest the time and effort to build it – Build it once so it will last!
looking into the future means that maybe in 3 months from now your online experience will show you that you can grow your expertise and start selling other products that are not related to you current line of products, that is where the choice of CMS and website type are important. you can purchase or download a WordPress template and start working on it right away (or of course pay someone to do it) but did you know that there are many options to purchase a CMS that will carry many stores under the same roof? so one minute you are running a shipment order from one store and in one click you can go to your other store and run another update under the same system!
besides, running a multiple stores system can cut your expenses and designer time, you build one unique e-commerce template and run this template on multiple stores with different colors, domains, buttons and of course, different products.
Do you have any leverage in your market?
We have all heard it a thousand times before, “you can sell anything online”, and while this is true, without leverage, you must ask yourself why a buyer would choose your business over the many thousands of options available at their fingertips.
Whether you sell adult toys, collectibles, cosmetics or clothing, what does your site offer that others do not? Free shipping? A convenient “no questions asked” return policy? Credit card anonymity? A wider selection of products? While these questions may appear to be trivial and insignificant, they are common questions you must consider before getting into the ecommerce industry. Differentiation from your competition is more effective than direct mail, web sites, referrals and even publicity.
Can you offer a product that is so unique or even trendy that your business is associated with that offering? Can you extend a product and offer a valuable service to make the product more useful to the customer? Is there something that prospects in your market fear or seem to believe is universal for what you do?
WordPress? Wix? ONEonONE? or Should you create an HTML5 from scratch?
Making the choice between WordPress and Wix is not easy.
When you’re building your website, be certain that you’ve chosen the right platform to build with. It is important that you choose a platform that does what you need it to do. At their very core, both WordPress and Wix live up to today’s design standards and are great for building pages and blog posts, but there are slight differences:
WordPress offers 35,900 plugins in the directory, 3000 themes, multiple hosts, and support is supplied by a community of providers. Wix allows you to build HTML5 sites with the handy use of drag and drop tools, offers 223 apps, SEO, e Commerce, and is very secure. Although WordPress offers more themes, you can make any changes you want. Not all themes are created equal and some are not as SEO optimized as others. Wix offer templates you can edit, however, they require an eCommerce plan and they are SEO optimized.
WordPress was created on an open-sourced platform that allowed a community of software developers, graphic artists and other “brainiacs” to enhance its use and creativity along the way. Wix, on the other hand, cannot be customized by the community at large since it was developed by a group of in-house developers.
The following features are found in both Wix and WordPress:
Templates and Themes. Thousands of them. They can change the look and feel of the website.
Blogging – Wix enables you to start blogging very quickly. The platform is self-contained and well-supported. WordPress offers a similar interface, but it’s multi-user functionality is what Wix lacks.
Plug-Ins – WordPress offers thousands of plug-ins. You can add a search box to your blog and add buttons to increase the likelihood that viewers will share your content on social networking sites. WordPress also offers SEO and e-Commerce plug-ins that make it easier to upscale a blog into your own complete business enterprise.
Both are great applications, but one is more suitable for those who don’t have the time to learn how to create a non-cookie cutter website, while the other provides a more full-featured website creation tool.
The best solution is to hire a one-time project web designer who will not only build the E-commerce site for you, but teach you how to operate the back end. It will cost you, but this is the first, and from our point of view, the most important investment.
How To Open An Online Merchant Account?
With a merchant account, your business can accept debit and credit card payments. To obtain a merchant account, you must enter into an agreement with a member bank that has a processing relationship with major credit card companies. You may also enter into an agreement with an authorized agent of the member bank and agree to abide by the operating regulations established by the card credit brands.
A common question many business owners have about switching over to credit card processing involves the requirement for a social security number when applying for a merchant account. Since 2001, the need for a social security number is a Federal requirement in most cases when opening a merchant account (Sections 326 of the USA PATRIOT Act).
Merchant accounts are used to send and receive money through a network of financial institutions. The international nature of debit and credit cards makes it rather easy to move money from one place to another – therefore, merchant accounts fall under the same “know your customer” reporting requirements as bank accounts.
Before setting up your merchant account there are a few questions you must put some thought into first:
What types of credit card brands do you want to accept? You will want to be prepared with a list of standard credit card brands, like Visa and MasterCard, but is it important for your business to accept other card brands like American Express?
How do you want to accept payments? Do you want your customers to make payments to you on you website? Do you want them to be able to process payments on your mobile phone? Do you want to use virtual terminal? You must determine the primary way you’ll accept payment, along with all the secondary methods.
How much sales volume do you anticipate will be through credit cards? Will you still accept other payment methods, or will you be switching to solely accepting credit cards? There are plenty of merchant companies out there and if you don’t really know who you should choose, the best option is quite simple – whoever gives you the best rates. Like banks and credit card companies, merchant companies are the middleman between your customers and your bank account.
Paypal now offers Paypal Pro for a monthly fee and a percentage fee from each transaction. Paypal will collect your money from your customers from all over the world with minimal risk. While it is not the cheapest solution, it is safe enough to start. The big advantage of using Paypal is that most users already have an existing Paypal account so there is no need to register for an additional service.
Authorize.net is the biggest name in online merchant services right now and they work with a number small businesses like yours. The percentage changes are based on your income and the monthly fee is lower than Paypal by at least 40% (you can check out e-online data).
Please keep in mind that all merchant accounts are now obligated to report to the IRS all of your transactions, so don’t try playing with it too much, it’s sucks, but we had to mention it.