Site Building Advice One Response

Getting Your Online Store Up and Running

If you’re a website owner and have yet to try your hand in the world of online retail, it may be time that you reconsider.

It’s no secret that ecommerce sales are at an all time high, and recent reports have shown these numbers are only projected to increase over the next five years. In 2012, ecommerce was responsible for $231 billion in sales for U.S. retailers, and is forecasted to reach a whopping $370 billion by 2017. With the holiday season fast approaching, there’s no better time to start selling online.

If you’re finding yourself thinking, “I’m not tech savvy, I won’t be able to build my own store;”,“I don’t have the time dedicated to getting my store up and running;” or “I don’t have tangible products to sell,” let us put your worried mind at ease. We have all the tips to getting your online store ready for lift off, quickly and painlessly.

What to sell
When making the decision of whether to start an online store or not, it’s important to note that products sold online are not limited to the tangible.

How do I sell something I can’t ship?” you ask?

A perfect example is a personal trainer. A personal trainer can market online coaching, sending their clients workout regimens and meal plans, or sell individual or bundled class or training packages.

How about an interior designer? An interior designer can sell eBooks on design or individual consultation sessions.

When it comes to small business and ecommerce, the online world is your oyster. Being creative is the key to expanding your online business nationwide – or even globally!

How to sell it

Products
Once you’ve signed up for your Yola Online Store, getting started is a synch. Let’s go ahead and start adding products, shall we?

To start, log into your account and hop on into the “Online Store” tab in My Yola. From there, click “New Product,” and we’re rolling.

Online Store - New Product

From here, we will add the details of your first product.

  • SKU: SKU numbers stand for “stock keeping units” and are purely for your own organization. If this isn’t something you’re set up for, you can go ahead and leave this field blank.
  • Weight: For shipping purposes, the weight of your product is important. Do not leave this field blank unless your product is an intangible item that will not be shipped (e.g. eBooks, software, digital photos, etc).
  • Name: Add a name your product. If you can’t find the perfect name immediately, you can change it at any time.
  • Price: As much as your customers would enjoy it, your profits won’t be skyrocketing if you’re advertising your products for free. Be sure to add the price of your product here. You can always do free or discounted promotions with coupon codes.
  • Product Image: Don’t forget to upload a picture of your product! Scroll to the bottom to find your product image uploader.

Once you’ve completed the necessary fields, go ahead and click “Save and Close.”

Voila! You have your very first product. Repeat these steps, and you will have a full online catalog in no time! Check out our tutorial for a variety of additional options available for you to put together your perfect store.

Payment Gateways
Now that you have your products in order, it’s time we set up your payment gateway. Our Online Store is integrated with numerous different gateways, but some great options are American Express and Sage Payment Gateway.

Once you have chosen your payment gateway, simply set it up by going to: System Settings > Payments. From there, choose your payment method, fill in your merchant account credentials, enable your gateway, and you’re set. We go into further detail on selecting payment gateways in this article.

Yola offers a variety of different online and offline payment methods ranging from credit cards to personal checks. Check out this tutorial for more information on alternative forms of payment.

Online Store - payment method

Shipping and Zones
Last but not least, unless you are selling intangible products in your Online Store, you will need to set up shipping and zones. In doing so, you will have three calculation options to choose from:

  • Flat Rate: Set a flat shipping rate, or specify free shipping.
  • Custom Table: Customize your shipping costs by weight, number of items or cart total.
  • Carrier-Calculated: Automatically calculate costs based on carrier rate tables.

To add a shipping method:

  1. Go to System Settings > Shipping.
  2. Click the New Shipping Method button.
  3. Select the shipping region, and then select the shipping method.
  4. Click Next, and complete the provided steps.
  5. To activate a shipping option, click Enable.
  6. Click the Origin Address tab to add shipping information. When finished, click Save.

Online Store - Shipping Method

From there, go ahead and click the zones tab, which is used for shipping and tax rules. Click “New Zone” and add the countries, states or regions where you will ship products.

Gain traction
Now that your store is up and running, there is one more thing you’ll need to become fully functioning – customers! Here are a few tips for you to give your store the kick-start that it needs.

  • Answer Questions: Because your customers cannot connect with you the way they would be able to in a physical store or get a tangible feel for your product, no online store is complete without a Frequently Asked Questions category. Show your customers that you’re no novice in the retail world – answer all of their questions before they even think to ask. Pro Tip: gain credibility by including a fair return policy!
  • Go Social: Take advantage of the free marketing in social media. Create a Twitter account and make yourself more accessible to customers or try integrating your new online store with your business’s Facebook page. These key social networking tools can drive traffic to your business with the simple click of a “like” or “retweet.”
  • Get Analytical: Use analytics tools such as Google Analytics to test what is and isn’t gaining the attention of your customers on your online store. Then use tools such as WordTracker to find which keywords are working as traffic builders. Continue switching things around until you’re a good base of web.
  • Ask for Reviews: Create business pages with Yelp and Google and gain traction via reviews. After all, 72% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from real people.

We hope these tips have made it plain to see that building an online store is quick, simple and is worthy – tangible products or not. Get out there and show the online retail world what you and your business can do!