The Technicalities of Creating an eCommerce Store

In the digital age, many companies that were previously limited to brick and mortar have made the shift to also offering their consumers the option of buying their products online. This move makes a lot o sense since having an ecommerce store allows companies to seamlessly integrate actual selling points into their email marketing campaigns. The move does however remain a daunting one for many businesses since there are many technical aspects to consider. Here are a few recommendations for brands who wish to set up ecommerce to follow.

Finding a suitable development partner-Although it is possible to set up a small ‘store’ hosted on an ecommerce platform such as Etsy, it makes sense for larger companies to invest in developing their own custom online store. Developing an ecommerce space is a technical business, so it is often likely that companies will need to outsource the development to a web developer. When going the outsource route it is essential to do a bit of a background check – make sure of the developer’s credentials and have a look at their previous projects. It’s also a good idea to meet the team beforehand to talk about exactly what you want for your store and to identify any potential obstacles.

The platform you’ll be using-The kind of platform your brand chooses will be determined by factors such as your specific needs and budget. Hosted solutions like Shopify or Magento Go, are inexpensive to setup but perhaps don’t offer all the functionality and customisation that you need for a professional online store.

Payment Gateway Options-Once customers have submitted their orders through the ecommerce platform, the request needs to be forwarded through to a payment gateway for payment processing. This system will need to alert your company when payments have been authorised or payment errors have occurred.

Some gateways also have additional functionality such as automatic EFT payments, call-backs to ensure an order is passed successfully back to your store, and manual transaction options such as customer credit notes, and debit orders. Most payment gateways are now compatible with South African banks, which is good news for locally based companies. There are many options available so once again, research is key to finding a service that will suit your company’s needs.

EERP system and Shipping-Large ecommerce stores will likely find it necessary to integrate with an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system that can manage stock and handle invoicing and orders for a company. Shipping costs will need to be determined based on where your company will be shipping to in terms of countries or regions. Shipping per region can be setup for unlimited locations (such as cities or provinces) or could be setup for grouped regions such as major or minor cities.

Marketing your store-Once you’ve set up your ecommerce store and the operation has gone live, it is absolutely essential to market it. The vast amount of online stores on the internet has made it harder to be noticed as customers are much less likely to fortuitously ‘come across’ your store as they would in the real world. The perfect medium to market your brand’s online store is undoubtedly email database marketing. As a digital platform it is able to offer your potential customers a direct link to follow to your store where they can then instantly purchase your product. The direct and personal nature will seem inviting to subscribers who would like to purchase from your company online.