A Simple Guide To An eCommerce Business
How Does eCommerce Work
If you are wanting to create your own website or find ways to make money Online, you should familiarise yourself with and understand eCommerce. Hopefully, this quick guide will provide you with a little more understanding of eCommerce, what it is, how it works and how you can set up your own eCommerce business.
What Is eCommerce Business
Basically, eCommerce or ‘electronic commerce’ as it is also known, is simply the buying and selling of goods, products or services Online. It also refers to the exchange and transfer of money and data via the Internet, that allows these sales and transactions to be made.
So, if you want to break it down even further in a nutshell, eCommerce is simply:
Making A Sale Online
This sale could be from your own Website, Blog, Affiliate link, Shop Front, Membership Site, Landing Page, Social Media Platform.
However, to make a sale Online, there needs to be some kind of facility in place, that allows customers to purchase and pay for the products or services they buy. This facility is commonly known as a ‘Shopping Cart’.
Many years ago, setting up a payment facility on your website was quite a complex process and required the services of a computer programmer to install all the relevant scripts and software needed to run it. Even today, there are many large organisation and businesses that prefer to have their Shopping Cart custom made, which obviously involves a great deal of work.
Building your own efficient eCommerce business involves putting several important factors in place, that help your business run smoothly.
The following are the main component your need to consider when setting up an eCommerce business:
Step 1: Set Up And Design Your Website
Step 2: Business Registration
Step 3: Business Bank Account
Step 4: SSL Certificate
Step 5: Payment Gateway
Step 6: Merchant Account
Step 7: Office Space and Computer
Step 8: Adding Products and Payment Integration
Step 9: Delivery and Courier Set up
Step 10: Online Marketing and SEO
Step 11: Customer Care Service
Website: One important components to having your own Shopping Cart, is having your own website. I will not go into setting up your own website now but you can read how to set up your own website easily and very cheaply on the following page: Setting Up Your Own Website
If you are a new business, you will need to register your business with the appropriate authorities in the country to which your business is based and ensure that you are registered with the Tax Office in your country.
Business Bank Account:
Having a business account is a big plus, as it will allow you to have all your money transferred direct into it and keep all your business finances separate from your personal ones.
SSL Certificate: If you are taking payment from your website, then your website will generally need a secure payment gateway. People will be providing their personal details and financial data such as their credit card details and postal address. In order to keep this process safe and secure, then it really needs to be done via a secure payment gateway.
Payment Gateway: A Payment Gateway is necessary, if you want to accept and process bank card payments Online. Without going too in depth, a Payment Gateway, is basically a Middleman between the customer and the Merchant. The roll of the Payment Gateway is to validate the Customers card details securely, secure the payment and ensure that funds are available. It then transfers the funds securely to the Merchants bank account.
Having a Merchant account, allows funds to be transferred from the Payment Gateway, into your Merchant account. You can then transfer funds from your Merchant Account, direct into your business account.
Let’s say you made a sale on your for £100. The Payment Gateway would process the sale and transfer the £100 into your Merchant account. That £100, will then be transferred securely into your business account.
As you can see, setting up an efficient custom Payment Gateway, does involve quite a lot of work and can seem a little daunting, if you are a total newbie or you have a limited budget.
Obviously if you are setting up your business from home and will be running it from there, then it is advisable to allocate a specific area from your office. If you have a spare room that you can use as your office, then this would be the idea place but if you do not, then try to designate an area that is separate from your other household activities.
There are so many eCommerce business ideas and models that you can use in your own business and deciding what products to sell is key. Doing your research and finding out which products are selling Online, will pay dividends and will save you a lot of time and money. Choosing niche Markets is a great way to start and is a popular eCommerce business plan. There are so many different niche Markets that provide a number of eCommerce business opportunities and if you can tap in to one of the many Markets, you will have a very lucrative eCommerce business.
The Good News
However, the really good news is that over the past few years, technology has advance at an alarming rate and just about anyone, can have a Shopping Cart on their website. Even better news, is you can have it up and running quickly and without the need of any previous computer programming knowledge and without having to set up your own Payment Gateway and Merchant accounts.
PayPal is a very good platform to start your eCommerce business. PayPal takes care of the majority of the important factors you need in place to securely sell Online. PayPal takes care of SSL certification, Provides a secure Payment Gateway and take care of the Merchant Account. Basically, all you need is a website and a bank account. The downside to PayPal, is that they will charge you a percentage fee for each transaction.
QuickBooks is another other for taking payments online via your website and you can use their services for larger payments via bank transfers. Don’t use this for card payments but for large bank transfers, it is a good choice because you will only pay a very small flat fee for each transfer.
The Ultimate eCommerce Business Platform
If you are wanting to set up your very own eCommerce business and do not want all the hassle of setting up your own website, Payment Gateway, Merchant Account, then Shopify could be the ideal platform for you. Shopify, is the complete eCommerce platform that will allow you to set up, create, customise, manage and grow your eCommerce business all in one place.
Learn More about Shopify and Try It FREE.
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