March 17, 2020

Sell Remotely Online: Get started selling from your website today

In the current economic climate, it is becoming increasingly important to have the ability to offer your products and services for sale remotely online. If you have to close your premises due to the Coronavirus then you are going to need a way to service your customers. Having an online store can actually cut costs as it is much cheaper to run than an actual premises. You might have some initial costs to setup your ecommerce store but then the ongoing costs will be far less. You may have often thought about selling online from your website but it may not have been high on the agenda in the past or you simply weren’t sure how to start. We thought we’d provide a simple, easy guide for you to get started selling on your website today.

Hosted Storefronts

By far the simplest (and probably the cheapest) way to start selling today is to signup for an online ecommerce platform provider such as Shopify. With packages starting from only $29 (around £24) per month, you can have an online store ready in minutes. It offers a free 14 day trial too so you have nothing to lose allowing you can get to grips with it for a couple of weeks and make an informed decision as to whether it will work for your business. Shopify has everything you need to allow you to start selling today with great security and SEO support built in. You can choose from plenty of great looking themes to make sure your online store looks professional for your customers. It’s a great solution for small businesses who need a website ready to sell fast and for a low cost. Once your ecommerce website is setup on Shopify, all you need to do is add a link from your current website to allow visitors to find it.

Shopify isn’t for everyone of course. Because it is an external ecommerce platform (not hosted on your own website), this means that it won’t have the same look and feel as your main website. So when users click on the online store link on your website, this will open transfer your users to a new website (your online store) where they can view products and buy online. It might not bother you but it is worth pointing out. The other negative is that if you do ever want to move away from Shopify in the future, it isn’t an easy process as you can’t simply download your data to move to another service. So less than ideal.

As well as Shopify, there are others to consider including BigCommerce, Squarespace, Volusion, Weebly, PrestaShop and Selfy.

Plugin for your CMS

If your current website is built around WordPress, you lots of options to add ecommerce functionality. The most popular is WooCommerce, with 88,044,917 downloads. This is a great solution for the majority of small to medium businesses, especially as the core features are completely free. To install, simply head to your plugins using the left menu when logged into WordPress and search for it to install. Once installed, follow the step by step guide and you will be adding products in no time. Although getting to grips with it initially can be a little difficult, there are countless guides and support online so a quick search on Google will help you solve most problems you will encounter. YouTube is also a great source of help. One thing to consider when setting up WooCommerce is who to use to collect payments. WooCommerce comes with support for a massive amount of payment gateways from the likes of as PayPal, Stripe, Square and SagePay so once you’ve decided on who to go with, you will need to install an extension to start accepting payments. The likes of PayPal are free to install but some suppliers charge for the plugin so it is worth taking that into consideration when choosing who to use.

WooCommerce is the ideal solution if you already have a WordPress website as it simply involves bolting-on the ecommerce functionality to your existing website. It keeps the look and feel of your brand and website and doesn’t transfer your user to another website. It also has more than enough features for the majority of small to medium businesses looking to start selling today. The disadvantage is that you are tied to WordPress as WooCommerce can’t be used on any other kind of CMS.

If you’re on another CMS Platform such as Magento, Wix or Joomla! they will have their own ecommerce plugins that you can install which will add similar functionality that WooCommerce does for WordPress users.

Online Marketplaces

For businesses that solely sell products, online marketplaces such as Amazon, Etsy and Ebay are a good option. They will allow you to quickly add a catalogue of products and start selling at a relatively low cost. They will also give you access to a large collection of customers actively seeking products like yours, cutting down on marketing needs. All you need to do is register with the relevant website, adding your business details and then upload your products. Sites such as these take perhaps a larger cut on the profits than if you were to sell on your own website as you are benefitting from their customer base so it’s worth considering when choosing one of these types of websites to sell your products. Etsy is probably best for businesses selling niche items as it has a really nice handmade feel to it and is also a lot more personal than sites such as Amazon where it’s a more stack ’em high, sell them cheap approach. Take a look at them all and decide which best suits your needs as a business.

There are many other options too depending on your business sector including ASOS Marketplace, Not on the High Street and Handpicked Collection you could try.

Ask a professional

The other option is of course to ask a professional to help you setup your online store for you. Some of the options above are quite overwhelming for business, especially busy ones and those not used to selling online. Working with a professional can make the process a lot less stressful as a good web design agency will be able to offer all the expertise you require from giving advice on the best platform to use, to developing a fully functional online store bespoke to your business. And it doesn’t have to cost the earth. You might only want help with an aspect of the setup such as installing the payment gateway for example. This will allow you to concentrate on what you do best – delivering the best for you customer.

We are specialists in ecommerce, so if you require any free advice on getting started selling remotely online or would like to speak to us about adding ecommerce functionality to your existing website, get in touch by calling 07882 791689 or email