It has been a busy few months here at Digital Park with lots of clients coming on board during the Summer time and one of the biggest requests has been to build them an online store. An online store can also be called a web shop, eCommerce solution, online retail, but at the end of the day they are one and the same. Selling products online is quite simple really with a combination of WordPress and the very easy to use Woocommerce extension, setting up an online shop is affordable. Small businesses don’t have big budgets but need to get a foot in to door when it comes to having a website, which WordPress allows for a cost effective way to build on-top of the largest website platform. With 1000’s of templates and plugins available allows to cut the time of building from scratch and designing something totally new cuts the cost in half!
Woocommerce is a plugin built to work seamlessly with WordPress which tracks orders, provides reports and stock management of your products. You can also integrate plugins to handle shipping costs with local and international delivery services. Allowing the processing of payment, collection and delivery all to be automated with very little manual work involved.
Using variable rates you can adjust quantity or sizing prices based on selections per product, for example a photo for print can be costed at £45 for 9″ x 8″, £65 for 12″ x 15″ and so on. Woocommerce also has a built in upselling tools to promote similar products that the customer may find useful. The plugin is fully extendable with additional plugins too, so you can create cross-selling on products add additional upselling to the checkout page, add coupons for discounts and collect user email addresses and customer data.
Collecting customer data at the checkout is important for you to re-target them with new products and offer in the future. Ideally you would have a promotion that is running on your website and you can see who bought that product before from your reports screen, select those customer emails and and send an email campaign with a service like Mailchimp to make those customer aware of your new offer or sale. Using the same method you can promote discount codes to loyal customers 5% off or buy 2 get 1 free.
The ability with WordPress and Woocommerce to build your online shop is endless, having the ability to add unlimited products, and re-target market new products to existing customers allows you direct contact to a customer, something that retailers have realised for while and moved their big stores online.
The biggest struggle facing small businesses is taking money online. Woocommerce has a wide selection of plugins that are free or paid for which allows you to take payment via almost any credit or debit card. Paypal is a very popular addition but with any online payment solution you will be losing a percentage of the sale. It’s not a perfect World, but you would be losing less of a percentage of the sale if you work directly with your business bank account. Most Bank’s provide an online solution be it Worldpay or their own payment gateway. For those who don’t have a business account you can use Stripe, which is an American company similar to Paypal but charge less percentage per transaction. For UK businesses I would recommend Cardless.
Here are a couple of business websites that run Woocommerce that a local to Newmarket Suffolk:
Rook Gallery – www.rookgallery.co.uk
Rook Gallery is a based on celebrating the photography of Norman McCaskill. He was a photographer based in London in the 1950’s. His photography is style is stunning and these photographs where almost lost, until his Daughter decided to show the World of his incredible collection. So far a lot of Restaurants and Cafe’s have shown interest with a bistro/hotel in London purchasing a collection to decorate the walls. The photographs can be purchased in a selection of sizes that have been custom created to display an easier format for customer to select the size.
Devils Dyke Firewood – www.devilsdykefirewood.co.uk
Martin has been selling locally sourced firewood in Suffolk for many years, but felt he was missing out by not having his own website that allowed customers to make a purchase. Everything was done by phone and piece’s of paper making hard to keep track of sales and customer information. With Woocommerce Martin has a clear visual of sales, orders and customer information to quickly search for a Name or Address to deliver the firewood to. Combining Martin’s knowledge of the area, tree surgery, firewood and the Devil’s Dyke history we built a website that focused on promoting the many sides of the business.
Both examples above are two totally different industries but both running the same software and both providing an ecommerce solution that suites the client. Starting a business that sells products online does not have to be expensive and can be customised to your desired needs. If you have any questions about selling your products online then email firstname.lastname@example.org