How an e store works
An Internet storefront is up and running - then the shopper discovers and visits the site through one of the many search engines, a link to the online store, ads or other forms of advertising. The customer proceeds to place their order on the e-store through the shopping cart.
Then you receive a confirmation order email letting us know that an order has been placed on your e-store along with the details of the products ordered and the customers shipping information as well.
Your gateway processor and merchant account provider will automatically take care of the authorizing and billing process of the shopper’s credit card. Within 72 hours or less those funds will be transferred into your bank account. This is the power of having your own merchant account with own e-store instead of running an affiliate online store.
After the customer orders the product from your Internet storefront then you contact and order the product from the wholesale product distributor by phone or from the distributor’s web site. The distributor will then ship the product directly to your customer’s location with your business name on the box.
The concept has been tested and proven. In fact, this is the same concept which Amazon.com, Buy.com, BestBuy.com and other Internet giants use to run their multi-million-dollar operations daily.
ONLINE STORE SETUP PROCESS
Get signed up with the best wholesale distributors
We'll have to learn how to get signed up with the best wholesale distributors and drop-shippers for the Internets' best selling products. These are the fulfillment distributors for Internet giants, Amazon.com, Buy.com, BestBuy.com and many other multi-million-dollar internet storefront operations.
These wholesale distributors offer the lowest wholesale prices around and drop-ship the products directly to our customers location with our business name on the box so that it will appear to our customers as if the package came from our business. A brilliant concept that works.
Search a web host and domain
Register A Domain
One of the most important aspects of our online store is a domain name. We will choose a domain name that is short, catchy and memorable with no dashes in the name. We can use GoDaddy.com to register all of our domains. Especially if we plan on having multiple sites.
When we first launch our online store, we aren’t really going to need a powerful webhost. Initially, we aren’t going to be attracting enough customers to bring a shared hosting account down.
For example, when I first started out, I looked for the following attributes in my potential webhost providers
- Are they cheap?
- Are they reliable? Do they have a decent uptime?
- Do they have good technical support?
- Do they load one machine down with too many users?
- Do they offer the features that I need to run my online store.
In general though, we would recommend picking items to sell that meet the following criteria;
- The product should not be fragile and easy to ship
- The product should not take up much physical space
- The product’s inherent value should be ambiguous.
- The product should be timeless.
WorldwideBrands.com also offers the following services at a very reasonable price:They provide a list of pre-verified drop-ship wholesalers, light bulk wholesalers (orders under $500), high volume wholesalers, liquidation wholesalers and import wholesalers. The best part is that Worldwide Brands has a screening process to make sure that you are dealing with legit companies.
They provide information estimating how well your product will sell
They provide information on how many people are searching the Internet for your products
They provide information on how many other people are selling your products.
They tell you who your competitors are so you can see whether the market is saturated.
A free shopping cart
There are many free open source shopping carts available. Some of the carts that I looked at were
• Wordpress ECommerce
While everyone will have different criteria for their own shopping cart, I narrowed down my recommendations based on product maturity, features and 3rd party support.
The following are must have features in a shopping cart
• Search Engine Friendly URLs
• Availability of 3rd party templates and themes
• Fast product upload from a spreadsheet
• Coupons/Gift vouchers
• Wide array of payment processors
• Cross selling
• Dynamic photo resizer
• Integration with real time shipping services
• Single page checkout
A payment processor
There are 3 main ways to take credit cards online.
The first way to accept payments is to sign up for what is called a virtual terminal. Basically how this works is that when orders come in via phone or web, you then manually enter in the credit card information on a secure terminal.
Process Credit Cards On A Third Party Website
The second solution is to have a link from your online store during checkout that takes the customer away from your site to the website of your payment vendor. The customer then enters in their credit card number on your vendor’s website where the payment is processed. Once the transaction is complete, the customer is then redirected back to your online store. The standard Paypal account for example allows you do this for free.
Process Credit Cards Directly On Your Store
The best way to process credit cards is to have a merchant account with a gateway and process credit cards directly from your online store. It might be more of a hassle to setup and it might cost a bit more upfront, but it’s worth it. The ability to process credit cards without a customer having to physically leave the website will not only lend credibility to the store but it will increase conversions as well.
Merchant Accounts and Gateways
In Pakistan most commonly used gateway is 2checkout merchant account.
• EFS Net
• GeoTrust QuickPayment
Important steps to make sure of the following;
• Make sure that the credit card numbers are not stored on server or database
• Make sure that a laptop is not used on a wireless LAN when using a virtual terminal
• Make sure that an up to date anti-virus and firewall software installed on your computer
• Make sure that the server is PCI compliant by getting it scanned for free. We can get our site scanned for free on the Hacker Guardian website.
• Make sure that an SSL encryption is used to transmit credit card data
• Fill out a questionnaire in regards to the credit card and security practices
Get a great design
The lack of graphic design skills often discourages would be online shop owners.
Both Templatemonster.com and Algozone.com carry a large variety of store templates for OSCMax, ZenCart, and Magento across a wide range of categories. All of their templates are of very high quality and they offer 24/7 support on any template purchased.
Once the template is purchased, we will have to tinker with the following things
• To create our own unique store header
• To play around with the colors to suit our style
Marketing Channel strategies
Building and designing an online e-commerce business is the very basic step. The most difficult and promising is to market it and drive mature customers traffic to your online store.
1) Newsletter Systems and CD Presentations
The implementation of an effective newsletter system into a website fundamentally has the ability to improve interactivity with its users. The newsletter system functions as an online marketing strategy for this very reason as Internet users prefer to visit websites that offer a personal yet professional atmosphere that they are made to feel welcome and most comfortable in.
CD presentations creates to add company promotion to clients without the required Internet connection to access websites. Another benefit obtained from this online marketing strategy is that Internet download time and therefore file size is no longer a problem.
2) Affiliate Marketing and Pay-Per-Click
Affiliate marketing is a popular website promotion method that occurs between one site featuring information usually occurring in the forms of advertisements of another site to aid them in an increased number of visitors.
The top ranking web sites are google.com and yahoo.com providing affiliate marketing. There are thousands of other websites providing this facility on a nominal charge.
3) Statistical Analysis / Customer Analysis
Another online marketing strategy is through the use of statistical analysis carried out to determine the number of visits a website has gotten within a certain period of time as well as which keywords are more popular than others. A website owner discovers with use of statistical data, which consumers to target and how to ultimately improve website success with the application hereof. Statistical analysis is therefore linked to customer analysis as it directly regards the relation of consumers and the positive effects they have on the statistics of a company website.
4) Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization is directly related to that of statistical analysis and the search engine optimization team therefore makes certain relevant statistical information available for clients to see.
The following statistics are displayed for the benefit of all clients:
• Which pages visitors visit the most
• What days and hours of the week they most often visit your website
• A percentage breakdown of how long visitors stay on your website
• What search engines visitors enter your website from
• What keywords are being used in search engines to find your website
5) Benchmarking and Competitor Analysis
Benchmarking is an online marketing strategy based on a comparison with the toughest competitors in order to achieve the highest possible standard. Benchmarking is carried out by continuously measuring and comparing with so-called industry leaders according to their services, processes and products. Benchmarking is a great online marketing strategy for the reason that a company will be constantly exposed to the latest technology implemented in current web design and development and the marketing thereof.
An online store can sell some of the products from these top selling categories:
2. Computer Hardware
3. Computer Software
5. Toys/Video Games
6. Videos DVD’s
7. Health and Beauty
8. Consumer Electronics
10 . Jewelry
11. Office Supplies
12. Linens/Home Décor
14. Sporting Goods
16. Small Appliances
17. Tools and Garden