How to Start Your Online Store and Sell During COVID-19

With an increasing number of brick-and-mortar store closing their doors to help stop the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses are now trying to figure out how they can open their doors to online sales.

Currently, it is advised against travelling to public places (even prohibited in some places). No wonder so many subscription services and eCommerce businesses are seeing a surge. Online supermarkets and healthcare providers are already seeing increased interests and sales through online portals.

Make Your Online Selection

Before jumping into the online world, you will need to plan out your store, your merchandise and much more. Ask yourself questions like:

  • What does inventory look like?
  • Are there packages that you would like to offer?
  • Do you have merchandise that you could put up for sale?
  • What is your shipping capacity? How are you going to deliver? Do you need to hire a fulfillment partner?

Remember, many people are dealing with financial woes and instability. It’s no small gesture to acknowledge that, thank those who support your business, and give genuine well-wishes to those who cannot.

Website Branding and Functionality

You won’t have much luck selling online if you don’t have an easy-to-use website and an eCommerce store. Remember, your website is your virtual identity. Exhibit the same character and aesthetic across your site that you deliver when people walk into your physical store.

Providing an excellent user experience (UX) is key. Understanding and valuing the foundational elements and intents behind great UX can transform how you approach all areas of your business. The benefit of good UX is increased customer loyalty and more sales!

Choosing Your eCommerce Platform

When choosing an eCommerce platform, there are few qualities that you should pay attention to:

  • Website Integration

Will your website and storefront seamlessly integrate? Make sure that the store you choose offers a direct integration with most website hosting platforms like Woocommerce.

  • Ease of Use

Make sure whatever you choose has an intuitive interface that is easy to learn.

  • Innovation

Technology is changing fast and you want to partner with a platform that is always improving. When you choose best-in-class solutions, you have the benefit of what each platform provides today, but also any future updates.

  • Flexibility

Choose a platform that allows you to control and configure your ideal customer experience.

  • Accessibility

What is the barrier to entry like? How hard is it to get started? Right now it’s important to be able to get up and running quickly. Make sure that whatever option you choose, it’s easy to get started.

Promotion and Marketing

Once your eCommerce store is live and your club is established, it’s time to get the word out!

  • Your Website

Don’t underestimate the importance of your website. Make sure that it’s easy to find, fast, simple to navigate, on-brand, and super clear how to sign up

  • Social Media

Social media is a great way to increase your direct sales through your website and increase awareness about your business. Focus on customer features, education about your business, and contest/giveaways.

  • Review Sites

Google My Business, Yelp etc are common sites that people use to find businesses to visit. Claiming your business on these sites and actively monitoring and engaging with users can be the difference of thousands of dollars in new revenue.

  • Email

Email can be used to attract, convert, and nurture prospects and customers.

 

There has never been a better time to start your online store. If you are also looking to up your online game, we are here for you and happy to provide our resources. Please reach out to our team and let us know how we can help you support customers during COVID-19 and continue to grow your business.

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Shopify Vs. WooCommerce – What to Use for Your E-commerce Store?

The number of e-commerce stores is increasing steadily. As more and more people are deciding to launch their online stores, most of them are faced with a tough choice – Shopify or WooCommerce? When availing e-commerce web development services, many found themselves troubled by common queries about the better platform, the fees, dropshipping and much more. 

To answer simply, the choice of platform depends entirely on your needs and use case. However, to help you make a decision here is a detailed comparison between the two portals.

Shopify vs. WooCommerce – What Makes them Different?

The key difference between Shopify and WordPress (WooCommerce) lies in the accessibility of the two. Shopify is a virtual service or tool where you can simply sign up and create an account. Once done, you will need to complete your store setup and have your business running. On the other hand, WordPress is software that you will need to install yourself. Following this, you will be required to contact a web development services provider to purchase a domain and arrange for the hosting of your website. Next, you will be required to add the WooCommerce plugin to access all features of an e-commerce portal.

An Introduction to Shopify:

Put simply, Shopify is a complete e-commerce tool or solution that allows you to build an e-commerce store from top to bottom. The paid tool allows you to sell anything you wish – digital and physical products and services and supports drop shipping too. Shopify also allows you to integrate your physical store with the online one. Offering over 100 designs (both paid and free), Shopify allows you to give your desired look to the store. 

An Introduction to WordPress (WooCommerce):

WordPress allows you to develop a complete website for various purposes. For e-commerce, the WordPress software offers a host of customisation options with some amazing features for content management. You can choose from thousands of designs or themes, including both paid and free ones. With the use of plugins, the possibilities of extensions are endless. Even though WordPress does not offer any direct support like Shopify, the community is pretty helpful.

When to Opt for Shopify?

Shopify serves as an e-commerce solution customised for all businesses and needs. The biggest advantage of using Shopify is that it lets you set up quickly and start serving your customers almost instantly. The platform also helps in setting up things like inventory, shipping settings, taxes and so on; facilitating even the boring aspects of the e-commerce business.

Ultimately, you should opt for Shopify in the following cases:

  • If you do not have a website but wish to launch an e-commerce store quickly.
  • If you wish to integrate your online and offline stores.
  • If you wish to have an e-commerce portal with round the clock customer support.

If your needs fall in line with any of these, you should opt for a Shopify store. Whether you are offering a single product or multiple ones; Shopify is suitable for anything ranging from digital downloads to physical products and drop shipping.

When to Opt for WooCommerce?

WordPress is regarded as a near-perfect website platform that can handle any kinds of website. Even though it is primarily a blogging platform that doesn’t provide e-commerce features, the WooCommerce plugin enables e-commerce actions. Apart from the main WooCommerce plugin, one will have to use some other plugins as well to manage social media, SEO and others. 

As such, it can be said that the WooCommerce portal is a suitable choice for a dedicated and savvy user. It provides users with all e-commerce features like online payments, product catalogs, coupons and much more. Most importantly, the plugin is completely free. Therefore, if you wish to convert your existing WordPress site into an e-commerce store; you will not have to spend anything!

Ultimately, one should opt for WooCommerce in the following cases:

  • If you are already familiar with WordPress and can use the platform easily. 
  • If you have an existing WordPress site and you do not want to invest anything extra for an e-commerce portal.
  • When you wish to have complete control of your e-commerce store including every aspect of it.

If your requirements from the e-commerce portal are similar to the use cases listed above, you should opt for a WordPress store.

Shopify or WordPress – The Final Verdict

All web development services providers believe that the motive behind your choice should be to save both money and time. If you want a solution that doesn’t require a lot of management on your end and offers easy scalability, you should launch your store with Shopify. Alternatively, if you want to start with a lower cost on your existing website having full control over your e-commerce store; then WooCommerce will be the right platform for you.

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