In this page I will provide all the resources necessary for you to build a successful eCommerce business. I hope you will find the resources helpful and if you think I missed some important resources just leave a comment or send me an email and I will add them if I find them worthy. This list will be updated as I learn about new services that help run the business better and increase the profitability of the your business. So, here are resources for building successful eCommerce business:
First thing is first, to sell products online you will need an commerce platform that works. In one of my posts I discussed the differences and similarities between the eCommerce solutions. My favorite ones are Bigcommerce and Magento even though there is a big difference between the two. You will have to decide which one is right for you, because Magento offers features that Bigcommerce does not have and wise versa.
- Bigcommerce– easy to use and incredibly useful features. It is possible to build a successful online store with small budget since the plans start at only $30 per month.
- Magento– if you have never used it before, it will take sometime to learn it’s functions, but the good thing about it is it’s price, it’s free. You will need a hosting account and the cheapest I have seen is $20 per month. Magento is the best solution if your budget will allow for hiring a developer when you need one.
Sources of Traffic
In this section I will give you resources for building organic web traffic from search engines. Google and Bing are the two main search engines, so you will need to submit your site to them. They offer free services for you to let them know about your site. I will also provide a website directory that I know helps boost your traffic. Another source of traffic is advertising and I will get to that in another section below.
- Google Search Console – This is where you will submit your sitemap, which is a map of your website. This lets Google crawl your store and index your pages to it’s search results. It doesn’t bring any traffic right away, but without it you will never get organic traffic from Google.
- Webmaster Tools By Google– You will need an account with webs mater tools to setup few codes in order to use Google Analytics. You can track traffic as well as conversion that are happening at your store by placing few lines of code provided by Google.
- Google Analytics – Without knowing where your visitors are coming from it will be difficult for your to target them. Besides, Analytics is the best tool to use to improve your conversion rates.
- Google Merchant Center– This account will only help you if you sell physical products and if you are planning to use Google Adwords. It used to be free, but no longer. Having Merchant account is free, but you have to pay to show your products for Google searches.
- Bing Webmater Tools– Just like Google Webmaster Tools, you will be able to let Bing now that you exist. Bing also submits your website to Yahoo and indexes your store just like Google. Those indexed pages will appear on search results.
- Dmoz– it is a web directory that has humans picking and deciding whether the website should be included in their directory. Google thinks highly of them, but it is extremely difficult to get listed on Dmoz.
For shipping solutions I only like 2 companies: Stamps.com and Express1. You will need both of them since each one is good for different purposes. Express1 is the best for shipping USPS Priority and Express Mails. You will get discounts on shipping prices with the post office through Express1. Stamps.com, however, is good for First Class mail, which is for smaller packages. Packages that weigh less than 13 oz. qualify for First Class Mail, which is way cheaper than Priority Mail.
Professional Business Phone Lines
Professional business phone lines are a vital part in the process of building a successful eCommerce business. When customers see toll-free number on your website, they associate you with a successful business. So here is what I recommend and use myself:
- Grasshopper– you can get a plan for as low as $12 per month and pay as you go for your minutes. Toll free number is free of charge and you can choose a custom number for $30.
- Skype – Skype offers really good pricing on regular phone numbers and the quality is good as well. Why would you need a regular phone line? Read the next section on outsourcing to see my reasoning. Even if you don’t plan on outsourcing, why would you transfer all the calls to your cellphone number?
For small businesses outsourcing may sound impractical, but to build a successful eCommerce business you will need to outsource some of your work. Customer support position for example. You may not need it in the beginning, but you will definitely need it once you grow. Customer support is not the only position that home based businesses can outsource.
- Upwork.com– The best website to find professionals who work for reasonable pay. Whenever I post a job opening, I get 100’s of application in a matter of minutes
- Fiverr.com– If you have a small projects, such as creating a logo, you can get it done for $5. Hence the name fiverr. Get it?
- Elance.com – is another place for online work similar to Upwork, but more popular among the developers.
I do not recommend any single web design company, because I personally do not use them. I always go to the three websites Outlined above: Upwork, Fiverr, and Elance whenever I need a design work done.
Customer Support Solutions
Same story here, I always go to Upwork to find my customer support agent, but I would like to recommend a customer support platform that makes your job and the job of your agent easier:
- Zendesk– I love this platform. It provides services such as ticket creation to make tracking the progress of an issue from start to end. It allows you to manage your agents to see who is doing a better job.
Advertising & Affiliate Solutions
Advertising is another essential part of building a successful eCommerce business. I think the reasoning is obvious, since you do not own eBay or Amazon, you will have to pay for most of your traffic. I will provide some resources that are obvious and others that are not:
- Google Adwords– By far the best advertising place to start earning income right away. Use all the available forms of advertisements: Display, Text, and PLA
- ShareaASale– This is a platform where you will post your websites products and publishers will advertise your products and bring you “Sales” in return for commissions.
- BuysellAds– Here you can buy an advertising position in some of the best websites. Why it is a good idea? Read here.
- Facebook Post Boosts– Boosting your page and posts on Facebook is another good place to start. You can use Facebook’s remarketing code to target visitors who did not purchase from your site to get them to come back.
Stripe – is a payment gateway that is very easy to use and has reasonable rates. We love using them.
Authorize.net– one of the most popular payment gateways, but you will need to sign up for a merchant account through them.
PayPal– web’s most popular form of sending and receiving payments. Consider adding one merchant account in addition to paypal, so that those who do not have one can also pay for your products and services.