Not a week goes by that I don’t receive emails from prospective customers asking me how they can get an online shop up and running on a shoestring. Does that sound like you? Then read on.
Years ago, unless you were ready to pay thousands of dollars to a developer, a customized e-commerce website was out of reach for most small businesses and start-ups. How things have changed! Fast forward to today and there are many savvy do-it-yourself template website services available. While they can all provide you with a presence on the web, some are better than others.
What to look for in an affordable e-Commerce solution
If you want to own an online shop but have minimal money to invest and no website development/design experience, you need two things from your website:
1. It has to be simple to create. In fact, you need to be able to set up a professional looking website on your own with no development chops.
2. It has to be able to easily accept multiple online payments methods with no customisation.
Point two is particularly important as not all template-style websites allow you to easily accept payments.
Here’s an example.
A friend of mine was recently talking about her efforts to create a small online business selling her custom sleepwear. She had thought that she was through the “hard part” by designing the clothes, manufacturing inventory, creating a brand and planning for distribution.
It turned out the thing that had her pulling out her hair was finding an out-of-the-box website that enabled her to get up and running selling her products quickly with minimal customisation and development.
As a small start-up, she didn’t want to pay mega bucks to have the site built for her. So, she ended up muddling through on her own using a well known template-based site.
As an entrepreneur, new to the online world, she had no idea how fiddly it could be to set up credit card payments on a website. And how much it would slow her progress. While she’s now on the road to success with her business, I wish she would have known there‘s an easier way.
Here at POLi we not only work with major corporations - we also champion the small business owner. We love watching them thrive and succeed. We provide the tools and resources that will eliminate “virtual” hurdles and get your business up and running online.
We are proud to partner with Kiwi business, Website Builder, which currently helps thousands of businesses shine online. Using POLi, a business owner can sign up with Website Builder, complete a domain registration and get their website online almost instantly, without a credit card.
As experts in the field, we asked them what you need to know to get started with your online store and how they can help.
1. Create Your Site
You can DIY! With Website Builder, you can create your own online store in hours (minutes actually). It's easy, it's fast – and it’s cost effective. And, because Website Builder uses POLi, you can sign up almost instantly, without a credit card!
2. Show Me the Money
Using POLi in your website builder store, your customers can buy your products online and then quickly and easily deposit money straight into your bank account. (This is particularly important if your business needs access to the funds in ‘real-time’.)
It’s also a great alternative to simply receiving credit card payments, which can be expensive and time-consuming to set up.
3. Improve Your Rankings
When Google is calling you want to answer first. Your Website Builder site comes stacked with uncomplicated built in tools to help you optimise your website. So, when people search for a product or service similar to what you offer, you’ll be closer to the top.
4. Domain Name and Hosting Services
They take care of your web hosting and domain names for you. You can register domain names for only $19/year via the control panel for .nz. They can help with international domain names too. All web hosting plans include free web statistics and free email accounts. Web hosting plans start at only $15 per month.
5. Market, market, market!
Communication with customers is key. Newsletters and bulk email services will keep you in touch to do things like announce sales, offer incentives and promote contests. Website Builder can make it all happen.
6. Web-based inventory management:
Their web-based point of sale (POS) system is perfect for managing your showroom or call center via and Ipad or Desktop. You can have unlimited instances of the POS system across devices, and staff activity is tracked. All POS instances have access to the same order history. Backorders and disappointed customers will be a thing of the past!
So what are you waiting for?
Every week we get enquiries about how to start an online business. We can help them with the payment piece, but first they need a web presence. If they fit the criteria we send them off to Website Builder. Their templates are professional, easy-to-set-up and cost-effective. Best of all, you don’t have to be a super technical person to make it work- you can do it!
As with POLi, Website Builder is here to help. Give them a call today to chat about the right package and pricing that works for you and your business.
Get in touch – www.websitebuilder.co.nz
Over to you
What did you think of this post? What are your experiences of building your own websites? Leave your comments below.