Whoa there boy! Steady on.
Ecommerce or “Shopping Cart” websites are a lot more expensive and time-consuming than lead-generating websites.
They require a lot of regular, back-end maintenance and may not actually be an appropriate solution for a smaller business or startup.
Listen to this with a pinch of salt.
I’d invest in a shopping cart website to complement an already existing business. If you have a successful bricks-and-mortar store, you could upgrade (or salvage) existing website content and create a full ecommerce shopping cart website. Setting up a brand new ecommerce website with a shopping cart can be disappointing if there is no established, pre-existing traffic. A new site launched without any advertising or marketing strategy might only get one or two visitors per day (depending on the industry) and with an average 2-5% conversion rate, that’s just not enough traffic to warrant building one in the first place.
In fact, the emphasis on shopping cart could be leading you in the wrong direction. You may want to create an online store, but brand-awareness and leads is the real goal. Generating real and ongoing business (and therefore traffic to your website) is better than just chucking every product up and hoping for the best. If the market is already saturated with products like yours, a shopping cart could actually be a bad move. You are likely to look like every other online opportunist if you don’t have more strategy behind what you do.
Ecommerce Website Maintenance
There are other considerations with self-hosted shopping cart websites. They require lots of regular maintenance in the back end.
We can keep website software and security up to date for you if you are on one of our regular website maintenance plans, but there is a lot of finicky back-end stuff that you will need to do yourself. Expect to spend at least 40 minutes per day if you have an eCommerce website.
Questions to consider;
- Where do you ship items?
- Are you just selling to Australia?
- Is there tax involved if you’re shipping to another country?
- Are there any legal issues to think sbout?
- Can items be picked up from your location?
- What about postcodes?
- Does the item come in various sizes / prices?
Time spent adding products
Adding a product to your store requires about an hour of work;
- Product review and description
- Shipping locations and various prices
- Product photos (x3 is best)
- Re-sizing above images for the web
Are you willing to spend time doing this or will you outsource products (which will undoubtedly increase your ecommerce budget over time).
- The 5 Biggest Mistakes Small Businesses Make When Starting an Ecommerce Website
- Ecommerce Checklist (in detail)
- Australian Business Failure Rates (Sydney Morning Herald)
There’s nothing wrong starting with a big idea. But before you spend big on a fully-integrated Ecommerce website with in-built CRM – stop and think.
Are you being realistic? And when will you recoup the cost of a self-hosted ecommerce website? In the first year? The second year? If the answer is pretty much immediately, then you’re probably asking the right questions. A hard question might be . . .
Do people even know my product exists yet?
If not enough people know about you and your product, you need to think deeper on how to solve this.
I believe I can help you.
Author: Edwin James Lynch
Edwin wrote his first (Harrier Jumpjet) computer program in 1982. Today he builds websites utilising best practice, future-proof web development, online marketing and SEO. He lectured for 15yrs+ at Curtin University where (in 2007) he was voted 5th best out of 2,500+ university lecturers in Australia.