How to Start Selling Products Online
Hi, this is Tony Messer, and welcome to today’s podcast where we’re going to be looking at what are the basics that you need to start selling online.
So you’ve got your new business? Great. You’ve got a domain name, you want to start selling online? What are the things that you need? Well, effectively, obviously, you’re gonna need a website. You’re gonna need a specific, very specific type of website. You’re gonna need what’s called an e-commerce platform. You’re gonna need that e-commerce platform to link up to a payment gateway so that you can accept online payments. And so, those are the two things, the two main things that you’re going to need.
What Do I Need In Order To Start Selling?
So let me talk you through a few of the options, and a few of the things you need to consider so that you make an informed decision. Now, there’s loads and loads of different e-commerce platforms out there.
Basically, these are shopping cart tools, so that you can list all of the products on there, people can choose what they want, they add them to the basket or they can remove them from the basket, they’re then taken through to a checkout page, they can enter their address details, make payments, and then, you know, and then the order will come through to you, and you can then fulfill the order. So that’s a very sort of basic path that people are gonna take when they’re gonna purchase from you.
Best Ecommerce Software to Easily Build Your Online Store
Prestashop is a popular ecommerce tool. Most hosting companies will provide these tools for free, it’s an open source platform so, you can install it in one click, and you are up and running. Very easy to use, and it’s got all the main features that you’d want and that will integrate with loads and loads of different payments providers.
Then you’ve got another tool called WooCommerce. And WooCommerce is basically the e-commerce add-on, that really popular one that goes with WordPress.
Now, WordPress is the world’s most popular web design tool, it’s got a content management system.
Over 25% of all websites on the internet are built using WordPress, so it’s extremely popular, and that’s one of the real advantages of using WordPress is that it’s extremely resilient, it’s extremely popular, there’s loads and loads of different tools that you can integrate with it.
You’re gonna find loads of different designers, developers that you can work with. So there’s a very competitive market for that type of service.
Now, WordPress doesn’t come native with an e-commerce platform, so the WooCommerce add-on is very much recommended for that, and so you get the power of WordPress with a really slick, neat, shopping cart tool on top of it, so WooCommerce comes very highly recommended.
One of the real advantages of the WordPress, WooCommerce option, is that you can get lots and lots of low-cost, ready-made templates. So if you’re on a tight budget, you wanna get up and running, you wanna look professional, it’s really important to reassure your visitors that you’re a professional.
Then, you can get a ready-made template that looks absolutely brilliant. They work really well on any device, whether that’s desktop, laptop, mobile, they’re usually mobile-friendly. Just double check that, it’s called responsive design. So just make sure, if you are gonna down that route and buy a template, that it’s mobile-friendly, okay.
Then, going up the ladder, we got Magento. Now, Magento, again is a free tool, open source, it’s extremely powerful and it comes in a couple of varieties, the free one is the one that most people will tend to go for, the actual paid-for version, that’s for a huge organization, so you don’t need to worry too much about that.
So just go for the standard Magento option powerful, but power comes at a price. And you’re gonna find that if you need help – and you will need, because this is not at all for novices – you’re gonna need some help, a Magento developer, they’re not gonna come cheap.
You know, this is a powerful tool, but Magento developer will be a bit more expensive. So it’s probably the most powerful of all the tools that we’re looking at, but it’s probably gonna be the most expensive option to go for.
If you want my honest opinion, I would stick with WordPress and WooCommerce, because I think it’s a great tool, and it’s really popular, and it’s got loads of plug-ins. And if you need help, if you need someone to come and do some additional work for you, you’re gonna find that you’ve got a competitive market of people there.
How to Accept Credit Card Payments Online
All right, so you’ve got your tool. Now you need to start thinking about taking payments. Lots and lots of different payments providers are out there. Traditionally, what you need to do is go to your bank, apply for a merchant account, and you get a merchant account, and then you need to go and get a front-end payment gateway.
The merchant account allows you to accept credit and debit card payments into your account, and the payment gateway’s kind of like the front-end interface so that you can accept them securely. And that was the old way.
The issue here is that you’ll apply to your bank, they got much tighter on who they can accept and who they can’t. They do all sorts of risk evaluations and these sorts of things. And it can take a few weeks, you know, to actually get a decision, and if you wanna launch your products or service on your new website, you don’t wanna be waiting around for weeks. And then what happens at the end of that process if they decline you…and that does quite often happen. They’ll say, “Oh, you’re in a high-risk category,” or, “We’re not accepting these ones at the moment” or whatever reason it is, the last thing you wanna be doing is getting ready to go, getting all your marketing ready, priming everybody that you’re gonna be launching soon, and then the bank turns around and lets you down.
So another option that we find is a very, very good, very popular these days is a tool called “Stripe.”
And with Stripe, you can accept online payments. Very fast setup, and usually, you’ll get accepted very, very quickly, same day. Setup integrates with loads and loads of different platforms, it’ll definitely integrate nicely with WooCommerce or any other ones, PrestaShop or Magento.
Good transaction rates, the actual percentage that they charge. You’re always gonna have to pay someone a commission somewhere along the line, but they’ve got very competitive rates. But the advantage is, you’re up and running very quickly. Now, they will check you out obviously. You know, if you’re selling dodgy stuff, or if you’re getting loads of chargebacks where people are saying that they haven’t received their goods, they’re gonna put a stop to your account. But as long as you’re an honest trader, as long as you’re not selling some sort of dodgy stuff, you’ll be absolutely fine. So Stripe’s a really good option.
Now, I would also recommend using PayPal. And some people will turn around and say, “Oh Tony, you know, PayPal, they charge really high commission rate.” It’s a couple of percent, 3%, or whatever it is.
Yeah, I hear all of that, but you don’t want any friction when it comes to people making payments, okay. The more options that you give them the better. And some people look at PayPal and they think, “Oh, well, you know, PayPal is kind of funny money.
You know, it’s not in my bank account. I prefer to pay with PayPal,” or maybe, “Oh, you know, I haven’t got paid yet, I haven’t got enough money in my bank account, so I’ll use my PayPal account, I’ve got a bit of cash in there.” The point is the more options that you give people to make payments, the better your business is gonna do. So just try to see over those negative points if you’re thinking that PayPal is expensive or it’s a bit diddy or whatever it is. It’s a great tool, and you wanna give people as many options as possible, make the whole checkout process as frictionless as possible.
Okay, so there you go. Those are the very, very basics that you’re gonna need to start selling online. I mean, when it comes to e-commerce there’s a lot of moving parts. There’s a lot more involved in that.
There’s SEO, there’s conversion optimization, you know, all sorts of things like that you need to be thinking about. But these are the absolute basics, choosing an e-commerce platform and choosing a payment gateway provider.
I hope you found that useful. I’ll be back soon with more hints and tips, and I’ll be speaking to you soon. Thank you very much then. All the best, bye-bye.