This is a sponsored post by GetSocio
Any entrepreneur clearly understands what the competition is, and considering the fact that most of the goods are similar, the customer’s choice – it is often a pleasant coincidence. Of course there are exclusive products which are individual and unique, although they are more expensive. But how to make the product to advertise itself?
Although it was up to the seller in the past, now thanks to technological process it is possible to create the necessary conditions to advertise and sell products online without any seller’s efforts. We are talking about online stores. Online store is kind of a calling card of this type of business. Young people use the Internet and spend a lot of time there, so sometimes it is much easier to view the desired product without getting up from the table.
But why does the potential customer make the purchase quickly and without hesitation at some sites and why is it so difficult to find the necessary product at the other ones, although it is there? It depends on the business component (prices, payment terms, delivery, warranty) as well as how suitable it is for sales, its functions, design, etc.
There is an interesting marketing model called AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action). According to it, the visitor should be made to do 4 steps: pay attention to the product at the beginning, then get interested in the product, desire to buy the product and do the action ( in our case buy the product) in the end.
So we need to build online store according to this model. But it is expensive and requires a lot of investment. And if the entrepreneur is on a budget, especially in the initial stages of the business, he is forced to save money. However, it is also important not to overdo it. Cheap online store won’t bring the desired profit and won’t be able to market a product online. Standard design, old-fashioned interface, programming errors – that’s what we can get, if we won’t invest enough into the development of an online store.
How to create your own online store: Developing options
Now the main question is: how to create an online store so that the interested clients could choose and buy products or services? Digital entrepreneur can solve this problem in three ways:
- Consult a professional company, where specialists will create a site according to all the rules. Web-studio can offer the custom made or off-the-shelf online store.
- Make an online store based on the Content Management System. Choose the site management system and the plugin which provides the online store functionality or specialized engine, where the online storefront is implemented off-the-shelf.
- Create an online store using a ecommerce platform, which is designed to create high-quality websites for its further effective promotion.
Let’s look in detail at each of these options.
Method #1 Creating an online store by a development company
Setting up online store by a professional web-company. Let’s consider the simplest type of project, which include the following stages:
- preparation of technical specifications
- design creation
- filling with content
- online store testing
Certain professionals are needed for each stage. Usually it is a project manager, designer, programmer and coder, but sometimes other professionals are required. The undoubted advantage is that web studio takes care of all organizational and technical issues. As you work, your project will be always approved by you, and as a result you will get a unique, completely finished online store, which you can fill in with goods. So, customized website will be made exclusively for you, according to your specifications, wishes and requirements.
What are the terms? The total time spent on the project will vary from one to three months, taking into account the extra time on the project approval by the online store owner. Therefore, one of the drawbacks of this method is its long development time.
What does the cost of the project consists of? This is the salary of employees involved in the creation of the online store + advertising, office rental + margin (everyone has a different idea of it) = cost of creating an online store. And this sum can vary from project to project.
Method #2 Create shop online using CMS
For those who can modify a ready-to-go solutions for themselves there is a possibility to develop a site based on the Content Management System. CMS represents so called site engine or skeleton which has the basic functionality with ready-made design themes. Webmasters need only to upload files to the CMS server, configure it to their needs, choose the design, and install necessary extensions. That’s all. The project is ready, you just need to fill it with content.
- CMS will almost completely solves your problems related to the creation of the site – installation and configuration of the engine is simple and not time consuming.
- In order to change the text or add a page to the manually created website using HTML and CSS, you need to edit the code. In the content management system everything is done through an admin panel with user-friendly interface.
- Websites based on the CMS are dynamic, they can contain tens of thousands of pages. They are easy to expand and operate, their design can always be changed, minimally interfering or even without touching the system code.
- You will need developer’s help if you do not have the proper knowledge and experience, as you will have to adjust the engine by yourself to suit your needs.
- You will need to buy a hosting service, where your site will be located.
- You will have to integrate the payment systems into your website on your own as well as to install and purchase the programs and modules needed to keep the site working.
The first question for those who have decided to create their own online store this way is: which content management system to choose. Content management systems can be free or paid.
Paid CMS is recommended to use in business in order to create promotional websites, online stores, corporate resources (NetCat, UMI.CMS). Free CMS are enough for personal blogs. For example: WordPress, Joomla!, Drupal. The cons of free CMS are that the module for free engine can be developed by anyone. That’s why extensions are not always safe.
Method #3 Make an online store with the help of ecommerce platform
An ecommerce platform is a service where any user can create his own Internet resource using convenient and simple visual editor. And most builders are designed to work with different sites with varying difficulty: you can do either a business card website or a large online store.
Here are the main advantages of such services:
- They are easy to use. Everything is done step by step. You don’t need to deal with complicated programming languages.
- Separation of text and design: the layout is stored separately from the text. If you want to change the design – just make a few clicks and everything is done.
- Availability of ready layout templates (for creation of which knowledge of HTML is usually needed).
- Easy image uploading. Images can be added without closing the browser so they can be immediately placed on the pages. User can create galleries or make them a part of the layout design.
- Dozens of templates.
- Immediate publication of pages. If user makes any changes, they are displayed immediately.
- Reliability – all files are stored on the platform server. Therefore there is no need to worry about backing up data, or the possibility of hacking. It is a responsibility of the website builder support team.
- Some website builders allow moving your site to another hosting.
Disadvantages are different for each platform, so we will list the most common:
- It is impossible to completely move the site to another hosting.
- There are some limitations in working with graphic elements of the site.
- There are some of the shortcomings of the functionality and user interface.
- It is usually hard to remember the address of the page which was made in the free version of online store builder.
One of the best online ecommerce platform is GetSocio.
GetSocio offers a step by step creation of your online store, starting from home page design and ending with security issues. The advantages of this resource are:
- Design tools that allow you to create your own unique attractive store.
- Adequate technical support. Qualified specialists from a programmer to a designer will consult you at any stage of the store creation with the help of this resource.
- Free trial period for a 14 days
- Adaptive and mobile-optimized design. Your online store will display correctly in any browser and on any device (desktop, tablet, mobile phone).
- Integration with social networks
- Possibility to choose the payment system that meets your needs.
So what is better?
It is better when the end justifies the means. Everything depends on what you want to create and the results you want to get in the end, and most importantly, what resources you have. Then the choice of the method will be more obvious. The only thing you need to keep in mind is that if you want to sell products online you need to get effective and profitable online store which can be set up in a short time.