Ecommerce: Where to start

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So you sell a product and you’re ready to take your sales online. Selling online is easier than you think, but figuring out where to start when it comes to eCommerce is no easy task. Do you use a software solution like Shopify or BigCommerce? Or do you build a store from scratch?

A couple of questions you should ask yourself:

  1. How many different products do you wish to sell?
  2. How much do the products cost?
  3. How many transactions do you foresee each month?
  4. What level of customization do you require for your store?
  5. Your answers to these questions will guide whether it would be more advantageous for you to pay for a monthly eCommerce solution or build a custom online store.

Number of Products

If you sell a number of different products with a range of variations, it might make more sense to build a custom store. A monthly solution might limit the number of products you can sell at once or charge you extra for adding new products. A custom solution can give you the flexibility to grow your store on your own time and not pay additional fees. How many product variations are there (i.e. if you are selling a Tshirt, are there options for colour, size, fit, etc.)? This will greatly influence whether you can use a monthly package or if you have to use a custom solution.

Product Cost and Transaction Volume

Monthly solutions typically charge you a per transaction service fee (up to 3%) in addition to the 2-3% + $0.30 credit card processing fee for each transaction. If your products are expensive, these per transaction fees can really add up!

If you plan to be a high volume seller, you might consider using a custom solution to avoid the transaction fees altogether. On the other hand, if you aren’t selling many products each month, a monthly software solution could be the best route to avoid the upfront costs of building a custom store.

Level of Customization

If you’re hands on, creating your own online store with a plug and play software solution is relatively easy. However, these solutions have a limited number of free themes and functionalities that you can use. Themes can be altered or designed from scratch, but require a designer and developer to implement. A custom solution requires a larger financial and time investment up front, but can save a lot of money down the line as your online store grows. They are also fully customizable and the design can be developed to suit your needs.

It all comes down to the math. If your transaction fees outweigh the development costs of starting from scratch, a custom store is likely the best route to take. Still having trouble deciding? Drop us a line and see how we can get you selling online.

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