What are the things I need to know or do before setting up and online shop?
1) You need to know how an online store work. See the live demo of woocommerce (http://woocommerce.azhowto.com) in action and get a feel of its functionality.
2) Write down your requirements. What do you intend to sell and the business rules?
3) Set a realistic budget for yourself.
4) Have an idea of what you like your logo and website to look like. Put them in words. Use keywords like “cheerful, green, nature, creative…etc”. These will be useful when talking to the designer.
5) Write down your IT skills. Eg, ruby, php, programming, photoshop, marketing, seo…etc.
Writing all these down is important not only to convince yourself what you know and want but also to other people should you use their services.
What is the best start up strategy?
This is a difficult question. Depending on your budget, how much you know and your attitude to learn, you could take on a different path to build an online store altogether. Being in the business for so long, I know the different options to get things done. We are all after “value for money”, don’t we? I am a developer by trade, so obviously I will go for the developer’s route. I know this route may not be suitable for everyone. So, I am putting forth a few scenarios below to help you decide which route you want to take. Take this as a checklist if you like.
Scenario 1: I’m a newbie, non-technical person, have enough budget and want to setup an online store quickly. I don’t want to go through complicated start up process. What is the best way to do it?
Step 1: First of all, you need to create a brand for your store. That includes a unique logo and colors for your website. If you don’t already have one, get someone you know or use freelancing websites to get a designer to create a brand for you. I recommend using freelancer.com.
Step 2: Sign up with an ecommerce hosting company. I recommend shoplify.
After signing up, choose the right template, upload the logo and pictures of your products. Shoplify support is good. They will tell you everything you need to get your store up and running.
Scenario 2: I am a programmer and I want to learn woocommerce.
The technical part comes in later part of the book. Feel free to jump to those chapters.
Scenario 3: I am newbie and is budget conscious. I want to have full control of my shopping cart and is willing to learn, experiment and do things myself.
Well, this book is meant for you 🙂
In theory, you should be able to build your own shopping cart for under $300 if you DIY. Perhaps assign $100 for domain and hosting renewal cost per year. The cost can go up really quickly once you outsource your work. If that is the case, you then have to worry about managing them and the quality of their work. Things can become really tricky. So plan wisely.
These are the steps:
Step 2: Install WordPress, woocommerce and other plugins – most of them are free. Paid plugins usually cost $50 each. The most critical ones are probably payment gateway plugins. Prepare $0 to $100 for them. I’ll cover the installation part in the next chapter.
step 3: Logo/Brand design (optional for a start) – You can outsource or crowdsource this if you want and the price can be anything from $100 to thousands depending on your budget. freelancer is a good place to start. You can skip this step till later when your site is functionally ready.
Step 4: Install a woocommerce theme – you get a free theme, customise it yourself, buy one or outsource it. So the price range can be anything from $0 to hundreds. If you want to get a good theme, themeforest offers some paid options. woocommerce website itself offers some free themes.
Step 5: Basic image editing software – gimp is a free option. If you intend to outsource photo shooting and graphics editing, then the price range can be great as well. I strongly suggest you pick up some photo shooting, video shooting and image editing skills. It’s a useful life skills anyway.
Step 6: Get a SSL certificate (optional for a start) – Good to have for security. Compulsory if you want to accept payment, as in allowing people to enter credit card details within your site. Price goes from $10 per year to $500 a year. We are going to skip this part for a start.
Step 7: Get a Private IP (optional) – Compulsory if you want SSL certificate. Price can be $10 to $100 per year, depending on your hosting provider.
Step 8: Learn wordpress and woocommerce. This book will equip you with all the knowledge you need to know to run your own woocommerce site with wordpress successfully.
Let’s get started.