It seems like everyone is buying everything online these days. Many people would prefer to click around on Amazon or Ebay instead of getting in their car and patronizing a local business. While there’s still undoubtedly a place for shopping in-person in today’s world, it makes sense for business owners to consider exploring ecommerce as well. It can be difficult to know where to begin, however. We’ve put together this guide to help you think through some ecommerce basics before you get started.



How Do You Want Your Store to Look?



Before you dive in and start creating, sit down with a pencil and paper and sketch out what you’d like your store to look like. This is an important step because you’re basically designing the user experience you want visitors to have when they come to your online storefront. Make sure you’re designing an interface that is easy to use and attractively laid out so customers can find the products they want quickly. Also consider the path that customers will take from putting an item in their cart to actually checking out. This process should be simple and easy to follow, with as few clicks and separate screens as possible. This is one of those ecommerce basics that many people skip, but the benefits far outweigh the extra work.



Which Shopping Cart Would Be Best?



There’s no shortage of online shopping cart software solutions out there to choose from – so many that the decision-making process can actually be quite overwhelming. An ecommerce shopping cart serves many of the same basic functions as a physical shopping cart in a store. Customers put items they wish to purchase inside it, store them there, and eventually retrieve them when they’re ready to check out. Different shopping carts have different strengths, and some are only compatible with certain web hosting services. Do careful research before selecting a shopping cart – changing to a new one once you’ve set everything up can be a pain.



Which Hosting Provider and Plan Do You Need?



You likely already have a website built for your business, but is it ready for ecommerce? Operating an online store places unique demands on your site and its hosting package. If you’ve been getting by with a basic website on a bargain basement hosting package, you’re likely going to want to upgrade before launching your online store. If you don’t, your store might run slowly and crash frequently – and your customers won’t be coming back. Also, remember what we said earlier – some shopping carts only work with certain websites or hosting providers. Make doubly sure all your tools are going to play nice together before you make a purchase.



How Are You Going to Ship Your Products?



When your store is just starting out, you’ll likely be able to handle shipping all of your orders yourself with your current staff. When things start to take off, however, you might find yourself needing to look at some other solutions. This may be as simple as reconfiguring your back room to more effectively process online orders and hiring an extra team member to manage it, or it may be as drastic as partnering with a thir     d-party provider with a warehouse to handle everything. Even if this level of success seems a long way off, preparing for it now should absolutely be part of your ecommerce basics.



Which Credit Card Processor is Best?



Last but certainly not least, you’re going to want to make sure that your credit card processor is up to the challenge of adding an online component to your business. At the very least you’ll want to have a conversation with your current provider to make sure that your account is set up correctly. You may also want to consider shopping around. Your needs will change dramatically with the launch of an ecommerce store, and you want to be certain you’re getting the best deal as well as the assurance that your processor will be there when you need them. Before you start selling online, give 360 Payments a call at 1-855-360-0360 or drop us a line on our website. We’d love to help you launch your ecommerce store the right way.



PS – Once you start selling, check out these tips to drive sales.



PPS – Master online payments with these tips.