“If you build it, they will come” remember that famous line from the movie Field of Dreams? When producing standout products and experiences for your customers, that line should be changed to read, “If you build beautiful, meaningful, and useful products, they will come online, buy and stay!”
Think of your website visitors as potential customers whose dreams you can fulfill through your products. All you need to do is display and offer your products in the best possible way to bring back your loyal fans.
I’ve gathered information here in the form of an assessment to help you figure out what you will need to get started building your online store to showcase your products or services. Use these questions and resources to help guide you through the process.
Consider these questions as you take our assessment!
Click on the options that best suit your online store to take the assessment.
The best most flexible option is a self-hosted site combined with using Plugins like Easy Digital Downloads Woocommerce Memberships, Gravity Forms , and Big Commerce. If you are going the self-hosted route, ensure that your web host is reputable and has advanced and easy-to-use security options. Read more about website hosting here.
Shopify and Amazon can help you launch a storefront, display products, engage with customers, accept payments and depending on how large your store will get has advanced services. Shopify offers all the tools you need to manage each of those activities.
Since this guide focuses on selling digital products and services, the ideal platforms will focus on that niche. If you ship out actual physical goods with your digital products or services, these e-commerce giants may still be great options for you. Read about Shopify pricing here Learn the difference between Shopify vs Amazon here
Platforms such as Gumroad and Etsy also have specialized subscription-selling options for digital products. Gumroad is a self-publishing digital marketplace platform to sell digital services such as books, memberships, courses and other digital services. The benefit of platforms like this is that the technical and payment processing is taken care of for you and you can personalize your landing page. Gumroad also has the added benefit of being able to sell to the international marketplace, and there are no monthly fees. Find out more about Gumroad here
Etsy is an American e-commerce company focused on handmade or vintage items and craft supplies. So if your business is more focused on selling unique digital items that would appeal to the Etsy buyer consider that option.
If your business model includes selling subscriptions, you will want to ensure you have a WordPress plugin or E-commerce platform that allows you to offer various levels of your offerings and decide whether they will be time-bound like yearly or monthly or based on a purchase of one of your products. WooCommerce has a popular product called WooCommerce Membership Subscriptions that allows you to sell recurring memberships. This plugin will sell and track recurring payments.
Some things to consider include whether the plugin has the following functionality:
If you are providing one-time services, you may not need third-party plugins or more complex models. Many small businesses set up a calendar option for customers to select bookable appointments and a contact form; that is all they need.
If you don’t have a ton of customization and you have a simple business model you may also consider Drag and drop options of services like Wix and Squarespace which can be very affordable.
If you want to add extra value for your customers, you can offer bundled services. For example, you could bundle your fitness services with selling custom-branded hoodies or yoga mats with your company logo. This is often a successful model because it gives your customers more value and expands your reach. WooCommerce and Shopify both have a number of options to sell products in bundles.
If you are planning to offer anything from Videos to courses to artwork digitally, there are a number of considerations. Will you allow pdf downloads or will you need to send out content in some other format such as video?
Even if you have a small amount of traffic at first, you will want to consider your future plans and whether your current website host will allow you to scale if you increase your product offerings. A quality host will always offer options for companies who wish to scale.
As your site grows, you will want to scale and ensure that if you have lots of visitors using your payment options, you have the right resources to ensure that load times are not causing your customers frustration. A good Website host will ensure that your website traffic is managed and you have the necessary bandwidth to sustain large traffic.
These payment methods provide a safe and familiar way for customers to pay securely allowing your customers to use their existing accounts instead of taking credit cards out.
Reveiw alternative payment methods here
This is the preferred method to give your customers the greatest number of options.
In order to accept credit card payments on our site, you must first have a secure website that includes an SSL Certificate.
Other considerations for credit card payments are:
Flat-rate shipping is by far the easiest to implement for an online store, and many eCommerce plugins help with shipping but if you need some other kind of shipping. Free shipping is also a nice perk for your customers if you can swing it. Presumably, if your business is primarily service or digital based shipping will not be a major issue.
if you need more information on shipping in Canada, click here
For US and International shipping info click here
Digital product taxes can be tricky, especially with the constant changes in eCommerce and related laws.
Questions to answer:
Check out this post on digital product taxes for more insights.
There is often time-consuming administrative manual work of setting up and managing your small business online service shop and loyalty programs specifically for service businesses /professionals selling services. To alleviate these consider the following ideas for managing customer service on your site:
Learn about creating stellar FAQ pages here.
Adding plugins like MailChimp or Constant Contact to target customers with a newsletter can help you to enhance your marketing efforts. The benefits of demonstrating your expertise and being able to segment and reward existing customers are just a few of the benefits of adding a newsletter to your eCommerce workflow.
Learn about pairing WordPress with Mailchimp here.
Learn about other WordPress contacts/newsletter options here.