Three keys to start selling online and building your business
Selling on demand today often includes selling online. An eCommerce website opens your small business 24/7. It can mean new revenue, especially from customers outside of your immediate area or from loyal customers who move away from your area. And, eCommerce businesses are growing fast. They're growing faster than traditional retail sales as more consumers enabled by multiple connected devices are able to find you from afar in addition to their typical in-store shopping.1 Small businesses from across business types&traditional retail, restaurant and service businesses — are all taking a closer look at eCommerce as a way to sell on demand, to accept payments and grow their businesses.
Are you ready to take the plunge and become an eCommerce merchant? Focus on these three areas before you start.
Website hosting and management
First consider how you'll host and manage your online presence. There are hundreds of website hosting companies, with fees typically ranging from $4.95/month to hundreds of dollars per month. Before you choose one consider the following: 1) what do you want the site to be; 2) can you manage the site and domain internally; and, 3) do you have the necessary staff and technical support to run the site? If you're just starting out, basic hosting plans are most likely all you need. Typically, most hosting companies offer ample storage space and bandwidth, domain hosting, and email accounts for companies just starting up on internet.
Web development and shopping carts
If you decide to completely outsource your presence and design to a web shop, your designer and developer will likely recommend the best options for displaying your items and offerings online. If you're a motivated do-it-your-selfer, there are many hosted shopping carts and services that let you easily update and manage your products online. They generally serve up site design options and often allow tremendous flexibility in how you can present your goods for sale. Sites including Volusion®, Big Commerce, Shopify®, Wix, PinnacleCart, WooCommerce and SquareSpace are all designed for small business merchants to easily set up an online store. Make sure your shopping cart and any associated websites include responsive design so that your web presence is "friendly" to all devices that consumers use to browse the web.
In today's interconnected world of commerce, most of the shopping carts and eCommerce platforms available to you have online payment processing options baked right in. Integrated software connects payments to platforms and you typically can choose among payment processors based on your specific needs. As you consider your choices for payments, be thinking about where value-adding services such as tokenization or a hosted pay-page are available. Hosted pay-page options virtually remove any card data from ever touching your systems, providing optimal card data security and reducing your PCI compliance burden. That's important as a small business. And tokenization solutions offer a valuable option if you have repeat customers who like to store credit card information. Tokenization replaces real card data with a data sequence that mocks the real card, but keeps card data safe in the event that intruders ever get access to it.
There are many other considerations when building your online presence, including marketing, social media, content, shipping, chargebacks and fraud prevention. Nailing down these three key pieces of the puzzle will go a long way in kick-starting your efforts. Merchants who expand to create a multichannel strategy, including online selling, are better able to capture their share of shoppers who are moving online.
To learn more about your options, contact a Vantiv representative today.
- Forrester, http://mashable.com/2013/03/12/forrester-u-s-ecommerce-forecast-2017/,(2013)Volusion, Big Commerce, Shopify, Wix, PinnacleCart, WooCommerce and SquareSpace are registered or unregistered marks belonging to one or more unaffiliated third parties that do not endorse or sponsor Vantiv Payment Systems, LLC.