Trade-In Tech
by on May 27, 2021
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Entering into the world of e-commerce can seem a little intimidating, especially for those without lots of experience in this world. However, setting up a successful e-commerce website doesn’t have to feel impossible.

 

By reading this post, you’re going to learn:

 

  • What is e-commerce?

  • Why you should start an e-commerce website

  • Whether you should dropship or source products yourself

  • Should you build your website or hire someone else to do it?

  • Which e-commerce platform is best for your business?

  • What pages should be on your e-commerce website

  • How to organize, choose payment methods, and test your e-commerce site

  • A special section that includes bonus e-commerce tips for more sales

 

When you’re ready to get started, keep reading to learn how to launch an e-commerce electronics website now.

 

What is E-Commerce?

 

 

Electronic commerce, more commonly referred to as e-commerce is a word used to describe buying and selling items or services on the internet.

 

In the past, e-commerce websites were things that companies on the leading edge of technology had. Fortunately, it’s now easier than ever for companies of all sizes to set up e-commerce websites.

 

Interestingly, the first e-commerce sale took place all the way back in August of 1994! During this time, on a long-forgotten website named NetMarket, someone sold a CD to another person. It’s likely that neither party knew just how popular buying and selling things online would become.

 

Why Should I Start an E-Commerce Website?

 

 

Now that you have a deeper understanding of e-commerce websites, it’s time to learn why they’re so beneficial. Creating and managing an e-commerce website is advantageous for many reasons.

 

Earning Money Around the Clock

 

When you open a traditional retail business, you have to abide by business hours. After all, someone needs to be there to speak with customers and ring up sales. This option will either cause you to give up most of your time to be at your store around the clock. Or, you’ll need to hire other people to help and take over shifts for you. Hiring more people frees up some of your time, but it also means paying out more money.

 

However, you won’t be dealing with either of those previously mentioned problems with an e-commerce website. Essentially, this website will run itself and should process sales automatically. Granted, you’ll still need work on website upkeep and getting your orders out. But, e-commerce websites also give you the potential to earn money around the clock.

 

Doesn’t Cost a Fortune To Get Started

 

Understandably, most soon-to-be business owners don’t want to spend their entire life savings or go deep into debt to get things underway. With an e-commerce website, you won’t have to go broke to open a new company.

 

In the past few years, e-commerce tools have gotten increasingly better. There are also many companies creating tutorials with their websites or software that make opening an online store incredibly easy.

 

Fewer Startup Costs Compared to Opening a Storefront

 

Before you open up a business, you’ll need to do a lot of comparing and number crunching. While doing this, you’ll quickly learn that operating an e-commerce website is far less expensive than operating a storefront.

 

Do you still need more convincing about the low costs of starting an e-commerce website? Let’s look at the typical costs associated with operating a website vs owning a storefront.

 

Website Operating Costs (on average):

 

  • Buying a domain: $15

  • Paying for hosting: $5 per month

  • E-Commerce platform costs: $50 per month

  • Advertising your website: $500 per month

 

With an actively marketed website, you’re looking at spending a little over $550 to get things up and running. Keep in mind, this is a sizable monthly marketing budget. If you’re strapped for cash, you can have a website up and running for about $20.

 

Storefront Operating Costs (on average):

 

  • Rent: $1,000 per month (if you’re lucky)

  • Utility bills: $300 per month

  • Supplies: $250 per month

  • Decorating your store: $2,000

  • Licenses and permits: $1,000

 

Adding all of these costs up, you’re looking to spend over $4,500 each month to keep a storefront operational. Depending on the cost of retail space in your vicinity, you could be paying much more each month.

 

Being Part of a Rapidly Growing Industry

 

Whenever you’re getting ready to enter a new industry, it’s helpful if this industry has a growing future. If not, you might find yourself struggling to get customers and make profits. Fortunately, you shouldn’t have these problems when entering into the world of e-commerce. Experts predict that e-commerce should maintain 11% growth year-over-year for the foreseeable future.

 

To Dropship or Not To Dropship?

 

 

Another major decision for most e-commerce website owners is whether they’ll source and products themselves or drop ship these items. Most likely, you’re going to be buying electronics so this shouldn’t be a major concern.

 

However, dropshipping is a popular way for many new business owners to get started. Dropshipping is when someone orders something from your online store. After that, you send this order to your supplier. The supplier then gets your original customer’s order ready and ships it to them.

 

Pros of Dropshipping

 

First, let’s take a quick look at the advantages of dropshipping. One benefit of dropshipping is that it features a low barrier to entry. In other words, it doesn’t require a lot of money (if any at all) to get started with dropshipping. Since you’re not buying products, you can invest more of your money into other aspects of your business.

 

Another advantage of dropshipping is not having to manage any inventory. This means no needing lots of space to store your items. You also don’t have to endlessly keep count of what you’re selling, that gets taken care of by your dropshipping supplier.

 

Cons of Dropshipping

 

Now, let’s also look at a few disadvantages of dropshipping. One of the main cons of dropshipping is that this industry has become extremely competitive. Because of this, it could be hard to find products you can dropship that lots of your competitors aren’t already offering.

 

Another disadvantage of dropshipping is that it means giving up control. When you’re purchasing products, you can personally test them to ensure everything is working smoothly. However, with dropshipping, you’re leaving your company’s quality control in the hands of another business.

 

If you want to learn more about dropshipping, don’t miss our article about how to start a dropshipping business. If dropshipping isn’t right for you, we have more information on how to find and buy wholesale electronics.

 

Building Your E-Commerce Website

 

 

At this point, you’ve learned quite a bit about e-commerce. Now, we’re going to get into building your first (or next) e-commerce website. While this might seem overwhelming or confusing, our step-by-step tips will help make the world of e-commerce much easier to understand.

 

Registering a Domain

 

Before you can officially launch an e-commerce website, you’re going to need to register a domain name. For example, the domain you’re on right now is tradeintech.com. Your options are almost limitless when it comes to choosing a domain name.

 

The only limit is that you can’t register a domain name that belongs to another person or company. To choose and register a domain name, you can use websites like Namecheap, HostGator, or Bluehost. There are many more of these websites out there, those are just a few of the most popular domain registrars.

 

What’s great about using one of these websites is that they’ll tell you which domain names are either available or already taken. Some of them will even display suggested alternative domain names if the one you want is registered by someone else.

 

A helpful bonus tip to potentially help you narrow down your domain names would be to search for them on social media. For instance, let’s say that you own a phone flipping business and want to name your domain johnsiphones.com. However, you search on Instagram or Facebook and come across accounts with @johnsiphones already taken. This means you couldn’t claim these pages for your business.

 

Building It Yourself or Using a Website Builder

 

The next step is to determine whether or not you want to build your website yourself or have some assistance by using a CMS (Content Management System). Unless you have prior skills or knowledge pertaining to website building, it’s probably best to use a CMS.

 

If you’re looking for a content management system that’s beginner-friendly, we recommend using WordPress. Research shows that about 39.5% of all websites get created with this popular content management system.

 

After you have your website registered and hosted, setting it up with WordPress is fairly simple. But, you’ll first need to sign in to your website hosting provider. From there, most hosting providers allow you to use what’s known as Cpanel, a popular GUI. Think of Cpanel as a type of control panel for your website.

 

Once you’re on the WordPress installation screen, you’ll need to create a username and password for your website. After WordPress installs, you’ll need this information to successfully log in, so make sure it’s written down or typed up somewhere easily accessible.

 

Hiring Outside Help

 

Instead of wanting to create your own website, you might prefer to outsource all of this work to another company. People that have someone else build a website for them usually don’t have the time it takes to learn about website design. It’s also possible that this subject doesn’t interest you, and you don’t want to learn about it.

 

There’s nothing wrong with having another person or business build a website on behalf of your company. But, be prepared to spend a sizable amount of money to achieve this goal. You might also consider checking out sites like UpWork or Toptal to hire web designers.

 

Choosing an E-Commerce Platform

 

 

After your website is fully created, you’ll need to set up your e-commerce store. Fortunately, there are many popular e-commerce programs that make this incredibly easy to do. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at some of the most popular e-commerce platforms. We’ll also look at each platform’s key features to help you decide which one is right for you.

 

Shopify

 

If you’ve spent any time researching popular e-commerce platforms, you’ve probably seen Shopify show up a few times. There’s a reason for that. Currently, over one million websites use Shopify to create e-commerce stores.

 

Shopify offers a 14-day free trial, which is great if you’d rather get some first-hand experience with this platform before deciding if it’s right for you or not.

 

One of the first things you’ll notice about Shopify is that it’s easy to use. This popular company understands that many people using Shopify are new to the world of e-commerce. To help them out, Shopify offers an onboarding wizard that does a great job of helping you set up your e-commerce store. 

 

With a simple but powerful interface, you should be adding new products to your store and successfully reselling electronics in no time.

 

Shopify can also help you design your online store, which is great for anyone that doesn’t have the time or energy to create something from scratch. These are known as Shopify’s themes, and there are about 150 of them to choose from. If Shopify’s pre-built themes aren’t for you, there are hundreds more available through ThemeForest.

 

If you set up your website with Shopify, it is possible to get a free domain name. However, it will be a .myshopify domain. If you want to keep things more simple, it’s probably best to register a .com or .net domain.

 

Shopify’s Key Features:

 

  • 14-day free trial

  • Easy to use interface

  • Many plans to suit the needs of any business

  • Onboarding to help you set up your store

  • Hundreds of themes from you to choose from

 

WooCommerce

 

Another popular e-commerce platform is WooCommerce. One reason this platform is so popular is that it integrates with WordPress, one of the most popular content management systems. WooCommerce is actually made by the same development team behind WordPress.

 

WooCommerce is a great e-commerce platform if you already have a website set up, especially if it’s set up on WordPress. This e-commerce platform allows you to seamlessly install WooCommerce on any WordPress website.

 

With WooCommerce, you can manage your company’s orders, create coupons to entice deal hunters, and use this company’s dashboard to view sales data. With all of this data, it’s easy to watch your electronics company grow. Since WooCommerce integrates well with WordPress, you can set up a product page in a similar manner to creating a new page or post.

 

If you’re looking for more than what WooCommerce offers, this company also maintains a large database of extensions. With these extensions, it’s possible to display real-time shipping rates, integrate new payment methods, set up customer subscriptions, and much more.

 

WooCommerce’s Key Features:

 

  • Fully integrates with WordPress compatible websites

  • Manages your orders

  • Ability to create coupons and other promotions

  • View sales data from the WooCommerce dashboard

  • A large database of product extensions

 

Magneto

 

Another potential e-commerce solution to consider is Magneto. This platform is great for companies looking to easily scale their online businesses. It’s also a great platform if you’re managing multiple e-commerce websites at once.

 

Magneto utilizes an open-source platform. This is great because it allows Magneto to be a little easier to adjust than other platforms. However, such a wide range of features and options might not be the best for companies looking for a more streamlined e-commerce solution.

 

Like many other platforms, Magneto can help your business set up member subscriptions, discounts, shipping, and everything else needed to get your e-commerce store up and running. You can also quickly set up and design pages on your website with Magneto’s Page Builder feature.

 

Magneto’s Key Features:

 

  • Easy to scale with your business

  • Automatic SEO optimization for your e-commerce store

  • Fast set up times

  • Easily able to integrate shipping, discounts, and other store features

 

Preparing Pages and Posts

 

 

The next step is one of the most important when launching a website, and that’s having content. You can make content on either pages or posts, whichever you prefer. However, it’s good to have a few pages set up before launching your website.

 

Every website needs a home page. This is the website people will see when they go to the main page of your website.

 

More likely than not, you’re also going to want companies or interested customers to contact you. Considering that, you’ll definitely want to have a contact page set up. With either a contact page template or plug-in, these pages are a breeze to create and add.

 

Another important page that most websites have is an about us page. These pages are great for letting others know more about the history of your business and what it’s doing now. You can also use your about page to mention information about shipping, returns, and other aspects of your business.

 

Keeping Everything Organized

 

 

To organize their products, most e-commerce websites categorize their items. This makes it easier for both you and your customers. For example, imagine that you walk into your favorite large store like Walmart or Target. Chances are, you’re at least somewhat familiar with this store’s layout.

 

Now imagine that everything in this same store was randomized. Pairs of shoes are next to the deli meats, paper towels get stocked next to vegetables. Needless to say, this would be a very confusing shopping experience.

 

Organizing or categorizing the items on your e-commerce website is similar to a store having aisles of neatly stocked and laid out products. But, how should you organize your store? There are a few ways to take care of keeping everything organized.

 

Some companies prefer to sort the items on their respective e-commerce stores by brand. This is great if you’re carrying similar products from a wide range of companies. If you did this, you could sort your products by manufacturers, including Apple, Samsung, Google, and others. This kind of layout would be great if you were a phone flipper that only worked with smartphones.

 

Another popular way to sort your company’s inventory is by product type. You’ll typically see this layout on larger websites like Amazon and Walmart. Sorting by product type is best when you’re carrying more than one type of product. You can do this by creating categories for smartphones, tablets, laptops, and other electronics you plan on having in your store.

 

Setting Up Payment Gateways

 

 

Understandably, getting paid is an incredibly important part of any e-commerce website owner’s life. Before you can do that, you’ll need to set up a payment gateway. Before doing that, here are a few important considerations to make.

 

First, you’ll want to look closely at the transaction fees each payment provider offers. To put it simply, transaction fees are how payment providers make money. Almost every payment provider will charge these fees, so you can’t control whether or not you’ll pay them. However, you can control choosing a payment provider that offers low transaction fees.

 

Next, you’ll need to determine what payment options you’ll accept. In some cases, you might not get to make this decision. For instance, e-commerce platforms like Shopify will accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover. If these platforms won’t accept a certain type of payment, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to.

 

Certain companies are making headlines by accepting cryptocurrency, which could be a profitable move for your business.

 

Testing Everything Out

 

 

Before officially launching your website, it’s imperative to test it out a few times. While you’re testing your website, make sure to check out multiple product pages. You’re doing this to ensure that a visitor would be able to navigate your e-commerce website easily.

 

It’s also imperative to conduct a few test purchases. By doing this, you can make sure that your e-commerce website is working properly. During this time, test everything from product pages, checking out, choosing shipping methods, and anything else a user would do to complete their order.

 

Another incredibly important test is to see how fast your website performs. While your website might load quickly and correctly on your devices, it’s also a good idea to make sure it’s doing this on other browsers.

 

Websites like Pingdom, GTmetrix, and even Google all have free website speed tests that are easy to use and provide fast results.

 

Learning From the Pros: Secrets of Top-Performing E-Commerce Websites

 

 

In this last section, we wanted to highlight some examples of other companies in the world with great e-commerce strategies. We’ll break down each company, what tactics they use, and why they’re so successful. Here is a closer look at a few secrets of some of the best e-commerce websites.

 

Create a Loyalty Program

 

Loyal customers are people that every business wants to have. Considering that, you can have these types of customers by setting up a loyalty program on your website. Loyalty programs exist in many ways, including point-based systems or rewards for a certain number of purchases.

 

However you decide to set it up, you’ll definitely want to consider a loyalty program for your website. With a loyalty program in place, your business shows that it cares about its repeat customers. Plus, these programs reward your repeat customers. And, who doesn’t like to get rewards while they’re shopping?

 

Ship Out Your Items as Fast as Possible

 

In today’s world, it’s possible to get just about anything delivered quickly to your home or business. While this is great, it has also caused many people to have an “I want it now” mentality. If you’re going to be selling electronics online, you’ll need to get them shipped out as fast as possible.

 

Slow processing and shipping times typically lead to customers contacting you asking: “where’s my order?” This is a question that no business owner wants to get bombarded with.

 

Promote Your Company on Its Packaging

 

If you really want to stand out from other companies, consider investing a little money into personalized packaging. One of the most notable companies utilizing this strategy is Amazon. The typical brown box is something that every company uses. However, with Amazon’s branded packages, you instantly know where someone bought something.

 

With customized packaging, your company’s name can be seen on people’s doorsteps, houses, and apartments. A customer might also have your company’s packages sitting inside of their houses. If you’re utilizing branded packaging, a lot of new people can start learning about your business.

 

The Power of User-Generated Content

 

Over time, you’re likely to run into times when you need new content. Instead of creating more content yourself, why not have your customers do it for you? As strange as it might sound, it’s fairly easy to start capitalizing on the power of user-generated content.

 

User-generated content is straightforward - it’s content generated by a company’s customers. This doesn’t mean you need to start asking your customers for 2,000-word blog posts. Most companies get their user-generated content on social media.

 

One of the best ways to start getting user-generated content is by using a branded hashtag on social media.

 

Create a Sense of Urgency

 

Our last tip for you to manage a successful e-commerce website is to create a sense of urgency. To do this, most companies might inform their customers about sales. While you’re creating these messages about upcoming sales and promotions, make sure to note that these events are only happening for a limited amount of time. After creating urgency, you should start seeing lots of customers placing orders for your company’s products.

 

Many companies like to use countdown timers to show their target audience when sales will end. Seeing this timer get closer and closer to zero can work wonders for getting people to buy your company’s products.

 

You can take things one step further by creating messages tailored to each segment of your audience. For instance, you can have messages that mention one specific product. Or, you can also send messages to people in your email list who have yet to purchase a product from your company.

 

To summarize, setting up an e-commerce website is a great way to jumpstart your electronics business. Yes, it will take some time, energy, and a little bit of money to get this website off of the ground. However, by launching an e-commerce website, you’re entering into a growing industry with plenty of room for profits. If you’d like more help with your electronics business, don’t forget to check out Trade-In Tech’s blog.

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