WooCommerce is a flexible and open-source commerce solution based on WordPress. The company started as WooThemes in 2008 and decided in 2017 to focus solely on e-commerce. Today, WooCommerce enables small and medium-sized businesses to create exactly the store they want and sell online. Our legacy as a fully decentralized company lives on, growing from three founders in Norway, the UK and South Africa to over 150 team members in 32 countries.
E-commerce presents a huge opportunity: global online sales will reach $4.28 trillion in 2020, and its popularity is increasing year by year. It also doesn’t require a physical store (although you can have a retail store if you prefer), making it cheaper and easier to get started. But there are many things to consider. How does it start? What foundation do you need to build a store that will last for years or decades?
This guide will walk you through building an e-commerce business, from developing your products and designing your store to building a thriving business you can trust.
Your audience is the group of people whose problems you solve. They are the people you sell your products to, write your content to, and build your business.
Knowing your audience helps you:
- Reduce competitions
Suppose you sell coffee. If you’re appealing to an audience who loves a morning cup of premium hand-ground, single-origin coffee, you’re not competing with a business that caters to busy parents who just want a little caffeine at their doorstep. These people search for different products and buy from a store that meets their specific needs.
- Getting things right at the get-go
When you know who you’re creating products for, you can better focus on meeting their needs from day one.
- Helps to focus on value
When you focus on solving a problem for a specific group of people, price alone isn’t the only way to differentiate yourself. When the price is your only differentiator, there can often be a race to the bottom as you have to keep lowering prices to keep up.
It’s totally fine to start with the product too! But you still have to think about your audience. What is your product doing? What problem does it solve? How does it help people? These are all questions that will help you identify your target audience. And again, be as specific as possible. Don’t just say you’re marketing to women or business owners. Northwest struggles with accounting. Remember: concentration is good.
Sourcing or creating
You can use all the skills to create something truly unique by hand. This way you have full control over every shipment sent. Because nobody can create something quite like you, your business can be unique. However, it’s important to realize that scaling a crafting business can be difficult. The uniqueness that characterizes your products means it’s difficult to find team members who can design them in exactly the same way. I only have so much time and so many hands! However, crafting is a great way to start an e-commerce business on a budget!
Manufacturing is the process of making products using large machinery and automation. You can outsource this process or buy equipment to make in-house.
Outsourcing manufacturing is a great way to make many products at once, and the more you produce, the more efficient it tends to be. It’s also valuable if you don’t have the experience, space, budget, or desire to create products yourself. However, it very often requires a reasonable financial investment upfront, as many manufacturing companies require minimum order quantities. They also give up some control over product quality.
Setting up the business
Choosing a name from scratch can definitely seem overwhelming. It is meant to be memorable and memorable, descriptive yet unique. The best place to start is with a big name dump. Get together with your team members, family and friends and whatever comes to mind. Then scale it to find the perfect fit.
The legal structure of your business affects day-to-day operations, taxes, liability, and more. Therefore, it is important to choose the right one. Your options vary by location, so please familiarize yourself with the options for your country.
Now you can proceed with your online shop. But first, you need to choose the right e-commerce platform for your needs. You need an e-commerce tool that lets you:
- Own your own content
With some proprietary platforms, you don’t actually own what you create. You may remove your website at your own discretion without notice. Of course, this can cause you to lose all your hard work and jeopardize your business!
- Scale to any level
Some platforms have limitations on the number of products or SKUs you can have. Others increase their prices based on the number of visitors or the size of their site. It’s important to choose a provider that can help you grow as big as you want!
- Choose a plan that fits your budget
Think about how much you can afford to spend, especially if you’re just starting out. Many vendors also charge more for certain features or increase their fees as their store grows.
Choose a theme
A theme is essentially a design template that you can use out of the box or customize to your liking. It affects the design, layout and sometimes the functionality of your website. There are many great free and premium themes around the world. a variety of platforms including the WordPress.org repository and the WooCommerce theme library. Some are designed for specific industries and use cases, while others are more general and can be customized to suit your needs.
Your next task is to create the pages you want on your website. WooCommerce automatically creates pages like cart, checkout, and account, so don’t worry about that.
A payment gateway allows you to securely accept payments on your website. Accept money from your customers, validate their information and transfer payment to your bank account
When you sell physical products, you need to find the best way to get your items into the hands of customers. First select a carrier, the carrier that will actually deliver your packages. Examples include USPS, FedEx, UPS, DHL, and Canada Post. Think about where you want to ship (domestic or international), weight restrictions, insurance options, and special product considerations like refrigeration or fragility.
Next, decide which shipping methods you want to offer your customers. These are the prices and services. You can choose when paying. There are many different ways to structure this. You can offer free shipping to encourage more purchases. You can set the shipping cost based on location, weight and speed or you can charge a flat fee independent of the items in a customer’s cart.
Finally, decide on your fulfilment solutions, the tools and processes you need to actually deliver your items. This may include purchasing and printing shipping labels, providing tracking information to customers, and packaging your items for safekeeping.