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YouTube channels

Been thinking of creating an ecommerce store for quite some time now. I would like to learn more about it before I do. Can anyone recommend any youtube channels helped you start you journey?

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Lessons from 20 years of ecommerce

My first ecommerce site was a supplement to my brick-and-mortar shop in 2000. There was little online competition. Amazon sold only books. Most of my competitors were small independents like me. It was easy to stand above the crowd. I used to advertise the site on shopping bags, on leaflets at conventions, and in an occasional magazine.

The post is the second in a series of starting and growing an ecommerce business. The first installment, “Launching an ecommerce business: the first steps,” I published last month.

As my online business grew, I hired a specialist company for search engine optimisation. (Note the spelling of “optimisation.” I deliberately choose a company in the U.K., as my customers were mainly there.) Soon I had doubled and re-doubled my visitors. The company taught me many things — the most important was metrics.

The author's ecommerce site in December 2000. Source: Wayback Machine.

The author’s ecommerce site in December 2000. Source: Wayback Machine.

Learning the Metrics

An ecommerce merchant can gather many numbers about visitors — their behavior, where they land on your site, where they leave, how they search, and so on. A merchant can spend hours looking at this data and tweaking the site.

And I did.

Eventually, however, I concentrated on just two metrics: The number of visitors and orders. I drilled down on the orders to ensure they were profitable. That is the goal, after all: How much profit does the site make?

Over time I moved to pay-per-click advertising using Google AdWords. Metrics became essential, especially the conversion rate, which is the number of orders divided by the number of visitors. If a site has 100 visitors and receives one order, the conversion rate is 1 percent. The cost per 100 visitors must exceed your profit on that order or you are wasting your time.

If the conversion rate exceeds your competitors’, you can pay more for marketing. You could potentially double or triple your conversion rate by, say, improving your descriptions, images, and menu structure, and offering a no-quibble 30-day return policy (as examples). Increasing the conversion rate results in more profit from the same number of visitors.

Discovering Email

An email list drives conversions. Capture the email address of every customer and then offer products based on their interests. Targeted promotions have a much higher conversion rate. Assembling an email list was easy when I started. There was little or no resistance to spam and no regulations. Now, in 2020, merchants must explicitly obtain permission from each customer.

In my experience, the key to successful email marketing is restraint (not sending too often), relevancy, and list hygiene (promptly removing unsubscribes and bounces).

Order Management

As my business grew, a growing proportion of sales came from the website. Online sales were an extension of my physical shop and were easy to manage. As online sales increased, however, the process became more involved. Items sold in quantity on the Internet did not sell in the shop. Products and quantities started to diverge. Buying stock became more complex. The Internet allowed for pre-orders, which helped calculate order quantities. I expanded to eBay and Amazon. eBay was especially good at selling overstocks and collectibles, such as signed books. And sales from Amazon escalated, taking revenue from my own site.

Offering items in more than one place creates stock problems, such as selling a single product simultaneously on, say, Amazon and my own site. Order management is minimal with just one or two orders per day. But it can be a nightmare with many dozens per day. I chose software called Linnworks to manage orders from multiple channels. Linnworks tracked my inventory across all channels and reduced available stock levels as appropriate. It also automated shipping, fulfillment, and customer notifications.

Like many order management platforms, Linnworks includes features that I wished were different. It was cheaper, however, to bend my processes to the software rather than vice versa. I used Linnworks for many years, and it was essential when I began processing more than 100 orders a day. It easily paid for itself. However, Linnworks kept increasing the price. I had to move to a cheaper, less feature-rich alternative.

Payment Processing

There are now many providers that offer services to ecommerce companies. The fees of many of those providers are a percentage of the order value. I avoid these providers as the percentage is typically the same for orders of $1 or $1,000, for example. Why charge so much more for the $1,000 order? It becomes a travesty when the provider’s fee is more than your profit!

The one exception to a fee percentage is credit card processing. The processing companies take a risk, which increases with the order value. Nonetheless, it’s daunting to find an affordable processor that fits your business.

The one exception to a fee percentage is credit card processing.

When I started, I used the credit card machine from my physical shop for online orders. My ecommerce site would send an encrypted email with the card details, and I would type them in on the credit card machine. This was the height of security then. These days it’s laughable.

For many years I used a merchant account for online trading only. I paid set monthly fees for the privilege. I had an annual Payment Card Industry (PCI) scan and audit. I completed PCI compliance forms. I spent thousands on making sure my checkout was both seamless and secure so that shoppers did not abandon their carts.

Eventually, I gave up and switched to PayPal. Customers had to pay via PayPal by leaving my site and then returning to consummate the transaction. I paid a higher fee percentage per transaction, but overall it was cheaper. Surprisingly, my conversion rate increased, not decreased as I thought it would. Apparently my customers preferred PayPal.

If I were starting today I would use just PayPal or another well-accepted payment platform, such as Amazon Pay, Google Pay, Apple Pay, or similar. It avoids the need for PCI compliance and it shifts the security headaches to the experts.

Lessons

What did I learn over the years? Having a quality ecommerce site is essential. It requires excellent content, such as detailed product descriptions and clear pictures. Easy and secure checkout and excellent communication throughout the order process will bring customers back. A decent inventory system is fundamental so that customers are never told that we cannot fulfill their orders. And finally, produce a consistent email newsletter that customers want to receive. These are the foundations of a good ecommerce business.

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Happy WooCommerce Day

Say hello to WooCommerce Day: A day to give back to the incredible WooCommerce community and to celebrate all the store owners, site builders, extension developers, partners, friends, and families at its core. For its inaugural year, we're keeping the celebration simple: we’re offering 40% off everything in the WooCommerce.com Marketplace. What better way to […]

The post Happy WooCommerce Day appeared first on WooCommerce.

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Amazon offers same-day grocery delivery in the UK

Amazon now offers its grocery delivery service Amazon Fresh in the United Kingdom free with Prime. Members can do their weekly shopping and choose from a selection of products. In over 40 postcodes in the South East, members can even place orders before 9pm and have them delivered same-day.

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Integrate opensource ecommerce system

Hey guys looking for a recomendation for a opensource kind of eccomerce setup but on the backend rather than sending the invoice or proforma or whatever its called after the client has accepted to buy the product, just send a email to the client and the shop owner. For client says order is ready for collection at xxx address come into store to colect and pay X ammount. For the shop owner the email should say xxx client has ordered this and this book out. Reason being is the shop owner is running pastel partner and I dont see a easy way of integrating a eccomerce site into it. Will rather just let it bookout the item and they can do the invoicing on their current system. But open to suggestions.

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Teespring’s comeback story

Startup stories are often too reductive — an entrepreneur dreams up an idea, snags some co-founders, raises a bit of money, and presto: success and riches.

It's nearly never true. Even breakout successes like Slack that may feel straightforward have complicated stories. Amongst the most valuable startups there are hidden crises and disappointing quarters. Some famous startups even had to execute a hard pivot after their original idea flopped. Slack was originally a gaming company, Twitter was a podcasting platform and YouTube wanted to be a dating service.

But not all startups that struggle and eventually make it have to completely toss out their original idea. Some just need to shake up operations before seeing the sort of success they'd hoped for.

Social e-commerce and fulfillment platform Teespring is one such company.


The Exchange explores startups, markets and money. You can read it every morning on Extra Crunch, or get The Exchange newsletter every Saturday.


From a 2017-era round of layoffs and restructuring, the company is on an impressive, profitable growth curve today.

I was part of the reporting team that covered the company's earlier struggles, which came after it raised more than $50 million in venture capital. So when Teespring wanted to discuss the numbers behind its recent growth, I was more than curious.

This morning, let's look at how one startup found its groove a few years after we'd figured it was a done deal.

A comeback

Rewinding the clock, Teespring's 2017 was a difficult period. The company had sharply cut staff as sales declined, cost reductions that helped push the startup from regular deficits into profitability.

At the time, reporting indicated that Teespring's revenue fell off after it lost some power sellers and investments in goods other than T-shirts failed to materially improve its financial results. After the layoffs, Teespring raised $5 million at a diminished valuation to get back on its feet.

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23 Useful, Free Plugins for WooCommerce

The WooCommerce plugin launched in 2011, enabling users to turn their WordPress sites into ecommerce storefronts. Today, approximately one-fourth of all online stores use WooCommerce, which is now owned by Automattic, parent of WordPress.

Here is a list of useful plugins to enhance your WooCommerce store. There are plugins for payments, order processing, tracking, marketing, sales, user experience, and more. All of these plugins are free, though several also offer premium upgrades.

Plugins for WooCommerce

YITH Essential Kit for WooCommerce #1 provides a batch of useful plugins to enhance your shop. Activate tools for search and product display, product management, multi-store management, live chat, and more. Access product filters, zoom and quick view, infinite scrolling, wish list, waiting list, advanced reviews, and product add-ons, among other features.

YITH Essential Kit for WooCommerce #1

YITH Essential Kit for WooCommerce #1

WooCommerce PDF Invoices & Packing Slips adds a PDF invoice to the order confirmation emails sent to customers. Use or customize the basic template, or create your own. Automatically send new orders or packing slips to your printer.

WooCommerce Google Analytics Integration lets you integrate Google Analytics with your WooCommerce shop. Link referrals to purchases, add transaction information to your Google Analytics account, and track your events.

Mailchimp for WooCommerce is the official plugin to integrate Mailchimp with a WooCommerce store. Sync purchase data with your Mailchimp account, send targeted campaigns, automatically follow-up with customers, and measure the return on investment of your marketing efforts.

Booster for WooCommerce (formerly WooCommerce Jetpack) is a WordPress plugin that supercharges your site with a variety of features to create a seamless user experience on the frontend and a fully-functional online store on the backend. Booster offers tools to enhance your buttons and price labels, carts and checkout, email marketing, orders and shipping, payment gateways, PDF invoices and packing slips, prices and currencies, and products.

Booster for WooCommerce

Booster for WooCommerce

Discount Rules for WooCommerce lets you set discounts for products and product variations. Create any type of bulk discounts, dynamic pricing, advanced discounts, percentage discounts, product based discounts, or tiered discounts. Discounts are visible on the product page, product details page, cart, checkout, and email notifications.

WooCommerce Customizer lets you add site customizations (such as button text and labels) to a settings page, saving them without needing to write code or modify templates. Quick access to your customizations helps test your site.

WPC Product Bundles for WooCommerce is a tool to create effective promotional deals that combine several product types. Develop your cross-selling strategies on your online WooCommerce shop while increasing search engine rankings and conversion rates.

Price Based on Country for WooCommerce automatically detects the country of a customer and displays the previously-defined currency. Calculate the price by the exchange rate, or set the price manually.

Price Based on Country for WooCommerce

Price Based on Country for WooCommerce

Minimum Purchase for WooCommerce lets you set minimum purchase rules for products to proceed to checkout payment. If a purchase in your store fails a minimum purchase rule, an error message appears and the customer must resolve it before completing the purchase.

Perfect Brands for WooCommerce helps you add and promote brands on your WooCommerce site. Add brand names to products, promote favorite brands, associate a banner and link to each brand, and more.

Facebook for WooCommerce is the official plugin to connect your WooCommerce store to Facebook. Install the Facebook pixel, upload your online store catalog, and create a shop on your Facebook page to run dynamic ad campaigns. Optimize ads for people likely to buy your products, and reach people after they’ve visited your site with relevant ads on Facebook.

Smart Coupons for WooCommerce adds advanced coupon management to your WooCommerce store. Apply coupons automatically, restrict coupon usage based on products or categories, issue coupons with various checkout options, embed multiple product giveaways in a coupon, and more.

Smart Coupons for WooCommerce

Smart Coupons for WooCommerce

Checkout Manager for WooCommerce allows you to customize the checkout process. It considers billing data inside the checkout page and recovers all data required by your company process.

WPC Product Timer for WooCommerce lets you set time-based conditions to manage product prices and availability. Manage complex tasks by limiting the time and date of implementation. Ideal for sale seasons and rush business.

WooCommerce Product Dependencies lets you restrict access to any WooCommerce product depending on the ownership or purchase of other required items. Restrict product access without having to run a membership site.

Product Image Zoom for WooCommerce helps magnify product images and set zooming features. Show a bigger size product image on mouseover. Works with all WordPress themes.

WooCommerce Multilingual lets you run multilingual ecommerce sites using WooCommerce. Translate all products, maintain the same language through checkout, run a store with multiple currencies, and send emails to clients in their language.

WooCommerce Multilingual

WooCommerce Multilingual

WooCommerce PayPal Checkout Payment Gateway integrates PayPal as a payment option. In-Context Checkout uses a modal window, hosted on PayPal’s servers, that overlays the checkout form and provides a secure means for your customers to enter their account information.

WCFM Marketplace is a frontend multi-vendor marketplace plugin. Build a multi-vendor marketplace such as Etsy, eBay, or Amazon. WCFM Marketplace features flexible commission, refund request, ledger book, and more.

WooCommerce Payments lets you securely accept major credit and debit cards. In your store’s integrated payments dashboard, view the details of your transactions, view and respond to disputes and chargebacks, and track your deposits. Pay-as-you-go fees start at 2.9 percent + $0.30 per transaction for U.S.-issued cards.

Amazon Pay lets you accept payments from Amazon customers using their existing Amazon accounts without having to leave your site. Customers simply log in using their Amazon account, select a shipping address and payment method, and then confirm their order.

WooCommerce Stripe Payment Gateway facilitates payments directly on your store via Stripe’s API, which enables the acceptance of Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, JCB, Diners Club, SEPA (Single Euro Payments Area), Sofort, iDeal, Giropay, Alipay, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Microsoft Pay, and even Bitcoin.

WooCommerce Stripe Payment Gateway

WooCommerce Stripe Payment Gateway

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Anyone successfully operating a multi vendor e-commerce wordpress website?

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Website Development Contracts, Part 5: Mediating Disputes

Contract disputes do arise from time to time. Whether the issue is early termination, delay of deliverables, breach of performance, or the like, it is best to plan for the worst and hope for the best. When there is a dispute, whether the contract contemplates this or not, either party should consider a legal process called mediation to avoid the time and cost of fighting in court or in arbitration.

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Garmin Confirms Services Upended by Ransomware Attack

Garmin confirmed Monday that many of its online services have been disrupted by a cyberattack on its systems that occurred on July 23, 2020. Services disrupted by the attack, which encrypted data on the systems, included website functions, customer support, customer facing applications, and company communications, the company noted in a statement.