Selling Online – The Basics

This isn’t a blog post about how to sell online but more a post which should hopefully highlight some of the things you need to think about before you start the process of setting up your shop. As a web developer my work revolves around creating the environment to sell, but often I’m called upon to explain the additional elements that quite possibly should have been better researched before starting out.

ww_wt_PieYour web developer will (should) cover all the internet work but they will need you to play your part and have all your ducks in a nice orderly row.

Follow The Money

The first duck is your payment method and if you haven’t lined one up yet there are many to choose from. Whichever one you choose you need to understand two things. Firstly they’re all the same and secondly they will all want a piece of your pie.

[table caption=”Payment Gateway Comparison”  tablesorter=”true” colalign=”left|center|center|center|center|center”]
Gateway,Annual Fee,Setup Fee,Percentage,Transaction,SSL Required
PayPal,No,No,3.4%,20p,No
Stripe,No,No,1.4%,20p,Yes
Worldpay,No,No,2.75%,20p,No
[/table]

[special_text tagname=”h5″ font_weight=”300″ color=”#ffffff”]Personal choice – what would I do[/special_text]

stripesmlIf I started selling online today I’d use Stripe as my payment gateway, they’re fairly new in town but already they seem to be more focused on the customer experience and I have some anecdotal evidence that people are put off by PayPal because of their close association with Ebay.

Postage

postage-stampIf you’re selling physical items you’ll need to sort out postage but more importantly, you’ll need to remember that it’s not just about postage. You’ll need to factor in the cost of packaging and your time taken up arranging the postage.

You can set your price based on the quantity of goods purchased or on the weight of the customers cart at checkout, you could even build your P&P into the price and offer free postage.

Whatever system you choose to employ if you don’t cover all eventualities you could end up having your profits wiped out by undercharging for your postage.

[special_text tagname=”h5″ font_weight=”300″ color=”#ffffff”]Personal choice – what would I do[/special_text]

I’d make sure that I entered the weight of each product into my eccomerce tool and then set a price per gram using one of the many weight based shipping plugins that are available. I’d also make sure I added a small amount to cover the packaging.

Summary

Having been involved in quite a few eCommerce sites I’m occasionally asked for advice on or even asked to set up things which should be an integral part of your business. I’m more than happy to do that but if you’re selling online you should treat that store as a physical store and you should be all over all aspects of it.

In the same way you’d understand how your cash register worked and where all the light switches are you should understand how your eCommerce site works.

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