Selling online: The good and the bad of eCommerce

Autumn and Winter are key seasons for selling online, without any shadow of a doubt. Outside of Easter, there are no bigger holiday seasons than the two coming ever closer.

Being prepared to use your website to sell online is something that, over the past year, has become more crucial. With coronavirus locking down a majority of the UK and the World of a substantial part of the year a lot of businesses have had to utilise digital as a key way to share keep their revenue rolling.

If you are still yet to make the leap, these two seasons are perfect for you to see some results.

The bad side of selling online

I want to touch on the bad first, because there are a lot of good things to using digital to keep revenue rolling. But there are some key bad things to be aware of:

Security issues

When you are using a website to sell, you need to be incredibly cautious with security. When you have a website that is simple, mainly used for conversions, you don’t need to be as security conscious but you still need to be aware.

With an eCommerce website, however, you are storing important details including addresses, credit cards, purchase history, and other key details about buying habits. These websites are a much bigger target for hackers and malicious actors and being secure should become the immediate concern.

Increased workload

A website that is purely content doesn’t have as many “moving parts”, for want of a better word. When you open a store then you’ve got a lot of extra things you need to be aware of.

The whole management of a website changes, instead of just generic pages to worry about you have many new aspects to look after. Including the upkeep of your product pages, the payment gateway connections, and the account security for those buying through you.

Key things like this should be considerations before deciding to sell online.

Just starting out on your digital journey? Check this my post about website hosting and what to look for.

The good side of selling online

Widening your customer base

The key pro to using the internet to sell is the ability to widen your customer base. I’m not going to go into this too much because it’s pretty obvious, but if someone wants something and you can be one of the highest ranking people in a search ranking you’ll get whatever required to ship it.

Brand awareness and 24/7 operating

Using your brick and mortar stores as a way to sell your stock is great, high-street presence helps you get your name to the local high-street but it is incredibly expensive and you are stuck selling in government restricted times, you have opening hours and lots of overheads.

When you take your selling online it becomes completely different. Your online stores are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and you can target specific times for when you know your customers will be there.

Some resources to help you sell online

You need to make sure you have a payment gateway, this resource explains a lot about them and how to set them up.

This Google Search will show you all you need to know about eCommerce platforms.

This article goes more into the setting up of merchant accounts so you can start taking payments online.

Recommended platforms

Although it completely depends on a case-by-case basis, there are some go-to platforms I tend to swear by. So if you are looking to do your own research on online payments then I recommend you go and look at:

My favourite payment gateway when selling online: Sage Pay (Logo)

Take payments: SagePay

One of my favourite payment gateways because it wraps straight into a Sage system, which is used by most businesses that I have come across. It’s easy to set up and can be adapted.

Take payments: PayPal

The easiest if you want to quickly just start taking payments, there’s more technical things to get your head around if installing from scratch on a website but all major eCommerce websites should have integration.

eCommerce platform: WooCommerce

I recommend this one purely because of its integration with WordPress. The WordPress CMS isn’t the most secure so be careful if you choose this one and make sure you evaluate all the pros and cons.

The Magento logo, easily my favourite eCommerce platform,

eCommerce platform: Magento

Arguably my favourite. It’s the most supported and expansive stand-alone eCommerce platform I’ve worked with and should definitely be the basis of a from scratch eCommerce website.

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