Starting an eCommerce Store

Starting an eCommerce Store

Starting an eCommerce Store 1920 1080 filriverz

Shopify vs Woo Commerce

Before starting an eCommerce store, most entrepreneurs will at some point weigh up the pros and cons of these two dominant platforms, being WordPress Woo Commerce and Shopify. Both platforms have extensive documentation and online resources. One is open source and the other a proprietary eCommerce platform, each with its own set of identifying features.

Shopify is always my first choice for eCommerce projects. Customers seem to resonate with the admin interface a lot better than they do with the WordPress Woo Commerce interface. The simplicity of Shopify is always appreciated with those really large inventories. The added possibility of scaling up to Shopify plus is a clear signal of just how serious this Canadian powerhouse is about commerce.

Who am I?

Assuming that you’re interested in the idea of starting up your own online retail business, my advice to you would be to start off slow, be prepared to learn, and steer clear of costly investments – especially overpriced and overhyped online courses!

Perhaps you come from a design and development background and would love to build your own store? Maybe you’re a marketing wiz and feel that it’s time you put your skills to action with a store of your own? Whatever your backstory, you’ll be better off with a solid understanding of the formula to success. When we’re honest about who we are, we can capitalise on our strengths and counteract our weaknesses.

Now that we understand who we are, and more importantly, who we are not, a little better, it’s time to begin researching suppliers and brainstorming product ideas. I urge you to start off with a UK or EU supplier. You’ll be surprised at just how many great products are available via local suppliers.

For example –

You could launch a store that sells niche paper cups for coffee stores. Your unique selling point could be something as simple as supplying black paper cups in an amount less than 10,000. Anyone in the industry will know that acquiring paper coffee cups outside of white will require a commitment of 10,000 units in each size (4oz, 6oz, 8oz, and 12oz). Not only a huge financial commitment but an issue for storage too.

Giving coffee stores this alternative is already a highly marketable USP. Not to mention the ease of implementing marketing campaigns. The possibilities are endless!

There’s nothing wrong with the traditional drop shipping model of East Asian supply lines. However, I’d be reluctant to implement this strategy in a business to customer supply model. Unless ordering a very specific product or bulk shipments, I can’t see customers putting up with the prolonged delivery times for any length of time. My advice would definitely be to start off with a UK supplier and scale up over time.

So far so good!

By this point, we should have a good idea which product(s) to work with. Now would be a good time to learn the basics of digital marketing and SEO. Should your level of written English and creativity with words be proficient enough for copywriting, I suggest taking full advantage of it. Good copywriting is an extremely sought after talent and would be an incredibly useful skill to have as a store owner.

Udemy is my first choice for online learning due to their extensive database of video tutorials. The selection is comprehensive and value for money unparalleled. The content is pretty good too.

Which courses to learn will vary from person to person depending on experience, skill, and preferred platform. As a rule of thumb, I always give clients a list of learning resources at the end of a project. I do this so they can be self-sufficient and reduce outgoings during the startup period.

Which eCommerce platform?

Now that we have a solid foundation we can start thinking about which eCommerce platform to use? This will depend greatly on preference above anything else, but from a convenience perspective, Shopify and WordPress WooCommerce are second to none.

Lady's hands holding a handbag in green field
Shopify and wordpress logo with designer on stylus in BG

When it comes to the Woo Commerce plugin, you won’t hear a complaint out of me. I love the fact that it’s open source and can be integrated with WordPress themes and custom HTML templates. It’s also pretty flexible in terms of design and functionality.

I’ve participated in building some beautiful Woo Commerce projects over the years, and am a huge WordPress advocate. I love WordPress. I use WordPress just as much as I do Shopify, but not for eCommerce projects. In my world, eCommerce websites are designed and integrated with the Shopify platform unless otherwise requested.

Shopify for beginners

My advice to a beginner is always the same. If it’s an eCommerce project and the client has no prior WordPress experience, I recommend Shopify without a doubt.

For me, it’s always about the little things. Those small conveniences that add to a positive experience…

  • Any Card Acceptance
  • A retail package (should you choose to launch a physical component to your online business).
  • Support
  • Blog
  • Abandoned cart recovery
  • Free SSL
  • Analytics
  • Add-on Applications
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Single Account
  • Analytics

Starting an eCommerce Store?

Have a look at Shopify themes and Envato marketplace. A great resource for testing themes!

Shopify website cost

I imagine by this point that you’ve…

  • Done some research.
  • Decided on your store name.
  • Hired a graphic designer to design your logos and brand identity.
  • Purchased a domain. (if not, don’t worry..we can take care of it).
  • Decided on a product and are in contact with suppliers.

Now you’re ready for the next phase of your eCommerce evolution. Let’s bring your ideas to life!

Shopify website design services at Rivers London come in a few variations:

1. Shopify Setup Expert – A premium Shopify theme that is set up and customised for the client for £249.00.

2. Design to Shopify conversion – Client designs are converted into a Shopify theme. A popular choice for designers and the creatively inclined store owners. Priced at £599.00.

3. eCommerce solution – An all in one design and development service, giving clients a bespoke or customised Shopify theme for £699.00.

So far so good!

Now would be a good time to learn the basics of digital marketing and SEO. Should your level of written English and creativity with words be proficient enough for copywriting, I suggest taking full advantage of it. Good copywriting is an extremely sought after talent and would be an incredibly useful skill to have as a store owner.

Udemy is a great resource for online learning due to their extensive database of video tutorials. The selection is comprehensive and value for money unparalleled. The content is pretty good too.

Which courses to learn will vary from person to person depending on experience, skill, and preferred platform. As a rule of thumb, I always give clients a list of learning resources at the end of a project. I do this so they can be self-sufficient and reduce outgoings during the startup period.

There’s no right or wrong. It’s about preference.

We’re here to help should you need us. Good luck on your Journey!

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