Adding e-commerce functionality into your small business website can be done in various ways.
- Developing a new website from scratch that supports e-commerce
- Integrating the e-commerce feature into your existing small business website
- You may already have a website so, creating an alternate site for e-commerce
In this blog post, we will walk you through the simplest & smartest option of integrating the e-commerce feature into your website.
If you don’t own a website, then it’s high time for you to refer to our previous blogs in this starter kit series. In recent times, with the onset of the pandemic, your customers would have bid farewell to the traditional way of reaching your physical store.
So, to get rid of the shop-owners like you from this adverse situation – ‘E-commerce’ has showcased its existence.
No more confused faces. 🙁 Start selling again! 🙂
E-commerce Integration – Your Friend or Foe?
Since this is going to be a new addition – which was in existence but not as popular as in recent times, you might be anxious to introduce this in your business model.
Generally, in business, it’s all about the trial and error method – you’ll not know what a newly added feature might bring unless you make an experiment with it. Inspite of it, what we would recommend is – just do some basic research because it’s better safe than sorry!
In an idea to assist you in the research, before looking into the perks we’ll start with the disadvantages.
- Security maintenance is a big challenge. Even if any of you click on a malicious link by mistake, there are chances for your customers’ credit/debit card information, and other personal details of being hacked
- Customers need to wait for days together for the products arrival which might be a frustration
- When too many users are in your site beyond the server capability, your site may crash
- Refund and return policies would be a big headache
Though there are many cons in e-commerce integration, you have one prime thing which will motivate you to build an online store, and that’s CONVENIENCE. Yes, soon after the pandemic, customers fell in love with easy and convenient online shopping, rather than a storefront.
End of the day, customer satisfaction would be your highest priority, for which e-commerce integration can greatly help.
Moreover, experts have predicted that by 2023 e-commerce sales rate may hit $6.5 trillion and profoundly reach 8$ trillion by 2025.
So, for sure, it can be a lucrative add-on for your small business website, when done right! Apart from customer convenience, you’ve a lot more in the list which infers that your decision to integrate e-commerce is the wisest!
- No overhead costs on physical store setup, rent, maintenance, etc.
- Reach customers irrespective of your customer location or space. The whole world is now your playground
- Track customer’s behavior and based on it, you can deliver customized approaches
- Customers can reach out to you 24/7 without your manual support
- As you don’t sell products on popular marketplaces like Amazon, Etsy, eBay, etc., you can set your own terms and conditions, you don’t need to abide by third-party’s rules & regulations
- Web traffic, conversion, acquisition, and retention rates will be boosted as you optimize your content, images, and your entire website to search engines. We will discuss elaborately on this in the upcoming post
Integrate the E-commerce Feature into Your Existing Small Business Website
Now, coming to the core part of this post.
Don’t blindly pick an e-commerce plugin, do some research on the plugin’s specifications & compatibility.
- Ensure that the plugin you choose offers numerous features allowing you to customize the design of your store to match your brand and supports payment gateways and shipping modules
- Check if it’s built with marketing tools to promote your products with discount coupons and social network posts
- Verify if the plugin is built with multiple tax classes for automatic sales calculations
Everything is set to go.
- Install and setup the plugin
- Add products to your store
- Setup the payment option
- Setup shipping
- Enhance your store
1. Install and Setup the Plugin
- Login to your WordPress admin dashboard
- Select the plugins option from the menu
- Click Add New button on the top of the page and search for your preferred plugin, e.g. WooCommerce
- When the plugin appears on the display area, click on the Install Now button and download it
- As you activate the plugin, it will launch the setup wizard and you’ll see the Welcome screen. This setup wizard will walk you through the plugin settings
- Before adding the products, don’t forget to configure the settings
2. Add Products to Your Store
- Now, you’re all set to add products to your online store. In the left-hand side of the WordPress dashboard, click on the products and then Add New and start adding products one after the other
- Add some convincing product’s title, description, etc. Then, in the product’s data box, you can add your product’s images, price details, inventory, related products, shipping options, etc.
- All of your products will not fall under the same category, so based on the category, list down your products. This gives a structured look-and-feel to your store and also your customers can easily navigate through your store. To add categories, click on Add New Product Category
- To customize the size, color, and other relevant components, use the Variations menu
3. Setup the Payment Option
- To process payments made from credit cards, debit cards, UPI, etc., you’ve to add a payment processor to your store
- Click on the Payments tab in the Settings menu. There, you can setup the payment methods like standard, cash on delivery, bank transfers, or cheques
- Otherwise, you can even opt for a payment extension. There are over 70+ extensions available for payment processing in WordPress
4. Setup Shipping
Communicate the amount, date & time of delivery, and other information if any in an understandable way
5. Enhance Your Store
From payment gateway extensions, shipping modules, accounting plugins, to marketing tools, you’ll have a hub of third-party extensions both free and paid versions. You can checkout the tools using the Product > Extensions in the WordPress sidebar
- Before you download, make sure the plugins are upgraded, have good reviews, and from reliable developers. For your reference, we’ve added a few functions that can add value to your store. You can add more functions like below.
- Security – Use a plugin that can secure your customer’s details, payment, and others from hacks and thefts
- Testimonials – Collect and publish user reviews with a plugin
- Subscription forms – Use a plugin to create newsletter sign-ups
- Store locator – You can use a plugin to help customers find your brick-and-mortar store
- SEO – Choose a plugin that will boost your store’s rankings in search results
Before you wind up, check if you have
- Installed the plugin and configured all the settings
- Added products with persuasive title, description, photos, and other details
- Organized the products based on various categories
- Customized the payment options
- Determined your shipping policies
- Looked for value-added plugins in the directory to improve your store
So, this is all we wanted to share with you; we hope we’ve done justice to the topic of small business web development. Starting an e-commerce store is going to be an added advantage for your business and can greatly boost your revenue.
However, your work doesn’t end up with just creating a store. You’ll have to promote your brand among prospective buyers and optimize your store in the online space. Only then, your customers will know about your products and brand and outreach you.
- According to a report from Statista, more than 75% people around the world shop online at least once a month
For that purpose, you’ve to turn your spotlight on search engine optimization, which is going to be our next topic in this series. There we will talk about the effective tactics you can implement to gain better traction from search results. Don’t miss to check it out!
If you further like to customize your e-commerce store, you can definitely take assistance from our custom plugin developers at Small Business Web. Check our small business web development services provided at affordable web development packages. Just give us a call +1 (919) 234-5140 or send us a message, we will reach out to you shortly.