The perfect eCommerce website / Online shop

25 replies
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So you want to start like many others your own online store. You, like me and many others probably have looked and tried many different software, free and paid. But like me, most are disappointing and never do what they promised.

So my question to you, if you have the chance to start your own perfect online store, what should it have, what should it do, and also what should it not have?
#ecommerce #online #perfect #shop #website
  • Profile picture of the author ReferralCandy
    The first and most important thing you need when you're starting an online store is product/market fit. You need to be selling something that people genuinely want to buy. Everythin else afterwards is just a matter of preference, trial & error.

    Me and a friend of mine started selling t-shirts through a Facebook page as a gag- we were surprised when orders started pouring in. We initially conducted the business entirely through Facebook PMs, but eventually set up a proper online storefront because it was getting inconvenient to do things one-by-one.

    Ideally, our store should have things like an "about us" page and a blog, but we don't- we're too busy with our full-time jobs at the moment.

    The point is- a store can do everything else right, but if you don't have product/market fit, you don't have a business. So make sure you ruthlessly pursue that.

    -v
    Signature

    Measure, manage and incentivize customer referrals with ReferralCandy.

    PS: Looking to get more repeat customers for a physical store? Check out CandyBar's digital loyalty cards!

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    • Profile picture of the author Hannak
      Very true. Without a product, you don't have a business.
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    • Profile picture of the author Mrnace
      Originally Posted by ReferralCandy View Post

      The first and most important thing you need when you're starting an online store is product/market fit. You need to be selling something that people genuinely want to buy. Everythin else afterwards is just a matter of preference, trial & error.

      Me and a friend of mine started selling t-shirts through a Facebook page as a gag- we were surprised when orders started pouring in. We initially conducted the business entirely through Facebook PMs, but eventually set up a proper online storefront because it was getting inconvenient to do things one-by-one.

      Ideally, our store should have things like an "about us" page and a blog, but we don't- we're too busy with our full-time jobs at the moment.

      The point is- a store can do everything else right, but if you don't have product/market fit, you don't have a business. So make sure you ruthlessly pursue that.

      -v
      How did you know they your T-shirt would sell before having to spend a fortune on getting stock? Pre-Orders?
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  • Profile picture of the author amcg
    So my question to you, if you have the chance to start your own perfect online store, what should it have, what should it do, and also what should it not have?
    I think many hosted solutions today e.g. Shopify, BigCommerce in particular pretty much give you most of the neccessary ecommerce functionality out of the box. Sure, best in class ecommerce guys like Amazon, Ebay etc are always innovating but those aside, hosted now gives you everything you need.

    In terms of must have features, for me, it's four things; security, inventory management, payments and content management. If you have excellence in these four areas in particular I think you can run a successful operation.
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    • Profile picture of the author OnlineStoreHelp
      Unfortunately this is not a good question to ask. The needs of an commerce store have to fit with what your product or store needs. For example, big fan of Shopify and BigCommerce, but if you need to do subscription type business, they fall short.

      Volusion and Americommerce will both allow subscription type businesses but I used Volusion once and never again. They nickel and dime you for everything, have more Volusion branding on your website than anyone else and a pain to customize.

      Doing adult items, well then forget most of the hosted platforms, you will be going self hosted, depending on your needs it could be Prestashop, Opencart, Magento or others.

      As for custom, even high end developers are smart enough not to do that. Most are using Spree Commerce and customizing the heck out of that.

      The other thing to ask, is the shopping cart not doing what you ask, or is it not doing it the exact way you want it to? A developer and I was working with were thinking about a third party application that would work great on older carts but was un-needed in the way modern carts are designed and drive customer conversions.

      So, until you figure out exactly what you need your shopping cart to do, you will continually be disappointed in what is available. Once you figure out those needs, 9 times out of 10 you can find a cart to meet your needs. And that Udemy post was written by someone who has never built that many stores, IMO.
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  • Profile picture of the author p4laddi
    An ecommerce business is like any other business, you need a product (physical or digital) and then its a matter of supply and demand. A webstore, ebay amazon, facebook and even a physical store are all just means of meeting the demand and getting your product to the customer. Before you do anything there are two questions you need to answer. The first, is there a demand for the product you want to sell? The second which is often over looked, is it something your interested in?

    I noticed, allegandro that you have a link to your youtube and twitter pages which seem to indicate an interest in custom cars. Maybe this is where you should concentrate your efforts. Find some suppliers of parts, then sell them through the various media. An ecommerce store is great but will take you a fair few months to get sales. You could build a blog to complement your webstore and since you have an interest in the product it will be easy to write about.

    hope that helps.
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  • Profile picture of the author Allanon24
    "As for custom, even high end developers are smart enough not to do that. Most are using Spree Commerce and customizing the heck out of that."

    True. Spree (since it is built on RoR) kicks ass because it is easy to customsize and develop new functions for it. Clean code is a must nowadays to be able to concentrate on business logic.
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    • Profile picture of the author Solid Commerce
      There's a lot of good information in this thread.

      From the customer's perspective, the perfect eCommerce site will have a lot in the way of ease of use.

      Of course, this is something of a nebulous piece of advice. But it's still an important one!

      Basically -- and the specifics of this advice will, of course, be influenced by things like your audience, your products, etc -- it's important to make things as easy for your visitors/customers/audience members as you possibly can.

      Is checkout a breeze? Make it so.

      Do you have your inventory on more places than just your store? Get it up! Put your products on Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. (That last one accounts for a full quarter of retail referral traffic.)

      Do your customers have easy ways to save orders for later? Look at things they viewed the last time they were shopping? Is registration as simple as can be?

      A lot of things that turn people off when using the Internet have to do with complication. When things are simple and easy, people use them more often and are more likely to suggest them to friends.

      Just my fifty cents! Hope it helps.
      Signature

      _ Sean B.
      Solid Commerce

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  • Profile picture of the author henrycalvin
    I think the eCommerce site should be like Ebay, but with Live Chat.
    Live Chat is helpful for both the customer and the business, but Ebay doesn't have it surprisingly.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kevin Purchase
    Wow, this is an incredibly open-ended question. So I'll give quite an open-ended answer.

    I briefed, project managed, co-designed and SEO'd a bloody amazing ecommerce store about 6 months ago. I used a heavily customised version of Magento with Wordpress plugged in. I worked with a development agency and used a budget of £18,000 to do this though.

    But the outcome was an SEO-perfect ecommerce store that was beautifully integrated with the blog on a product level. For example, one of our products was a set of dumbbells, this had links to relevant blog posts on the product page. Blog posts would be work-outs that used the product. Blog posts would also link back to products. The internal linking of the site was amazing and the whole thing was driven by top quality content.

    It doesn't matter what CMS systems are running it though. Build your ecommerce store around top-quality content, like any other website. So many people just upload the same old manufacturer description dogshit and expect it to work. It doesn't.
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  • Profile picture of the author upakarti
    I have been using Magento since 2008 - at the beginning it was painful. However, since I know that Magento is great powerful ecommerce platform then I decided to use it. I have used os and opencart. I have tried to install opencart and prestashop but then just leave it - far from my expectation. Magento is still in my first choice.

    Happy Selling
    Indonesia Ecommerce
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  • Profile picture of the author pnehal
    So my question to you, if you have the chance to start your own perfect online store, what should it have, what should it do, and also what should it not have?

    what should it have - your products, descriptions, why would they buy your products, your very own message
    what should it do - make the user experience a breeze, friendly navigation and entertaining - neat features, "oh cool"!
    what should it not have - anything annoying like popups, unnecessary animations, fancy blabla - broken blabla "it's not working"!
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  • Profile picture of the author amuro
    You might like to watch this video.


    It teaches you how to build an ecommerce store from scratch.

    About 1 hr 30 min long. So grab a cup of coffee, relax and take plenty of notes as he explains.

    Hope this helps
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  • Profile picture of the author Etoot
    Hi,

    Follow the following steps if you want to start your own eCommerce site;

    1) Determine what products your store should have for selling
    2) Determine your target market
    3) Determine to whom you want to sell gender wise (men/women)
    4) And then go for it using any cms

    Regards,
    Hope you find the answer helpful.
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  • Profile picture of the author WorldIR
    agreed... great points
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    Join the e-Commerce Revolution here !

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  • Profile picture of the author Gustaf
    Some time age I faced with such problem of choosing the most suitable platform for ecommerce site. I wanted to use one of builders that specialize on online stores but my friends advised me not to do this. Being professional web developers they convinced me that I need to develop my own ecommerce site based on standalone CMS, like Prestashop. I paid money for developing but lots of things remained obscure for me and I couldn't fully take advantages of my online store. My business closed and as it turned out I didn't need such multi functional website. Now I understand that I had to start from small things - since I wasn't too far from IT I should use some free website builder to understand how it works and only after that think about full website. Having my own experience I recommend you to start small and not to try to develop your own amazon when you aren't quite sure in your skills. A week ago I found a good article: How to Make an eCommerce Website and I want to try again.
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  • Profile picture of the author Shopitpress
    e-commerce platform should have good content management and of course all crusial e-commerce functionality. WordPress and WooCommerce is the way to go here. Because you get everything you need and it's free of charge. WordPress is powerful content management and WooCommerce ships great e-commerce functionality.
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  • Profile picture of the author yoangov
    As Shopitpress said - I think woocommerce is the way to go. All my stores are using it, and I couldn't be happier. It has absolutely everything I need, and the available premium plugins are really good.

    There are plenty of people using it, so there is very good support, and new themes/plugins coming in all the time.
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  • Profile picture of the author yukon
    Banned
    I'm running the WooCommerce shopping cart, it's free, it works great with Paypal. They have a few free WP themes or you can buy higher end WP themes on Themeforest for less than $60 (USD) that are built for the WooCommerce cart.

    Best of all there's no added monthly/transaction fees.
    Signature
    Hi
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    • Profile picture of the author kb11
      When running WooCommerce are dedicated servers recommended?
      Who do you guys use for hosting?
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      • Profile picture of the author yukon
        Banned
        Originally Posted by kb11 View Post

        When running WooCommerce are dedicated servers recommended?
        Who do you guys use for hosting?
        I use WooCommerce on shared hosting from Hostgator.

        I tried a few other shopping carts, WooComerce was the best & easy to use/setup.
        Signature
        Hi
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  • Profile picture of the author Kenworth
    I look forward to these 3 options:
    1. push to ebay solution
    2. upload csv files
    3. updates
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  • Profile picture of the author Marcus27
    Great info!
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  • Profile picture of the author Etoot
    An eCommerce store should have these things;

    1) Should have products they want to sell.
    2) Should have a high speed
    3) Should be a user friendly
    4) Should be risk free
    5) Should deliver what it says
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