On the surface, online stores seem simplistic and straightforward to the end user, providing a catalogue of products that can be easily added to a shopping cart and purchased with just a few clicks of a mouse or taps of a touchscreen. However, behind all this simplicity there are some quite complex inner workings that the admin(s) of the site have to keep up with on a regular basis.
Fortunately, with the right tools and resources, even these most complicated administrative tasks can be drastically simplified and streamlined. If you’re in the process of building or expanding an ecommerce store, consider starting your journey by becoming familiar with the following five types of resources that every online store owner should have access to:
1. Shopping Cart Solutions
The main interface your customers will interact with when making their purchase on your site is the shopping cart, which facilitates the selection and purchase of items during the checkout process. Thus, as an ecommerce site owner you should start by examining your options as far as the kinds of shopping carts that will be compatible with your online store. Don’t hesitate to give several of the top shopping carts a try to see which one you feel would be the best fit for your store and its customers.
2. Theme Plugins, Extensions, and Add-ons
The field of ecommerce is incredibly competitive, and one of the fastest ways to start competing with some of the more established sites is to outfit your own online store with some useful plugins and extensions to improve the overall functionality of the site. These plugins can range from simple additions like a ‘Contact Us’ form, to more complex extensions that allow for the use of third-party payment processors like PayPal.
3. Site Design and Maintenance Platform
Unless you’re an experienced web designer/programmer, you’ll need a practical way to design, launch, and maintain your site. The best shortcut to take in this department would be to utilise an ecommerce platform that provides all the development and administrative tools you’ll need. An ecommerce store creator can cut out all the hassle and time expenditure associated with constructing a site the old-fashioned way, making it possible for anyone to build and run an online store using tools that are as simplistic as playing a video game.
4. Product Catalogue Creators
Your site’s product or service catalogue is the main method used to persuade visitors and turn leads into customers. As such, you should have access to a simple, yet robust product catalogue creator that makes it easy to quickly add product descriptions and pictures to the site in an organised fashion. Again, don’t be afraid to try multiple product catalogue creators to get a feel for which one would be the most productive for your store on an ongoing basis.
5. Third-Party Online Marketplaces
Finally, once you’ve equipped your own site using all of the aforementioned resources, you may want to look into expanding your store’s overall web presence by opening storefronts in some of the major online marketplaces, like Amazon or eBay. Doing this will not only boost your sales by attracting customers through these highly popular venues, it will also bolster your brand’s reputation, and give you invaluable experience conducting ecommerce outside the confines of your own site.
That’s Not All You’ll Need Though
Keep in mind that the above resources alone will not lead to the development and promotion of a successful ecommerce site. You’ll still need to have a reliable supplier or source for your product/service, the persistence to continue promoting your site in the beginning when there are few visitors, and a business model that actually has the chance to become lucrative.