The idea of creating this E-guide started when I switched from our desktop ecommerce software to the online software Ecwid (Ecommerce Widgets) for our retail secure webshop (still IMHO one of the better decisions we made).
Until recently this idea just sat on the back-burner. It wasn't until I started watching and writing about BBC's Britain's Next Best Thing (#bnbt) I realised how needed this simple guide really was. The show on fledgling designers and many mumpreneurs made me truly aware of how many other start-ups, work-from-home-persons, I-have-an-idea-lets-build-a-website youngsters and semi-retired baby boomers could be around.
What BNBT also showed us (me in any case) is how little aware many still are on free online programs they can use to start an Ecommerce Venture without having to break the bank and/or without having to know in-depth knowledge of software. You don't have to wait til a high street retailer decides to stock your product before you can start selling, nor do you have to dress down your product or idea to accommodate high street retailers desired purchase price. Just launch the darn product!
So thank you, #BNBT of kicking me into higher gear and finish the "darn" thing in double quick time:
The basics, right here
There are more Ecommerce sites being launched every single day than there are premises being opened for "old-fashion" retail outlets. More and more articles, blog-posts, magazine and even books are written on the rising tide of businesses selling products online. But none, or very few, will hand you the simple steps to launch your own Ecommerce site.
This guide will.
No need for:
- an existing email address
- an existing website
- an existing webshop
- PDQ equipment (to handle incoming payments)
- an existing money-pot to pay for software to start selling online
All you need is:
- your product, even if it is just one single product, be it digital or physical
- internet access
- passion about your product(s)
- some writing skills to pass on your passion to your prospects
- this guide
This guide is for:
- work-at-home people with a ready product, by it digital or physical
- existing start-ups without a foot in the door of existing retailers
- hobbyist planning to turn their hobby into a sustainable income
- people from 16 years old (due to some age limits software companies have implemented) to lively and entrepreneurial pensioners
- anyone already using PayPal's "buy now" buttons or PayPal shopping cart and who finds this too limiting
- anyone who knows their (new) product will excite others
- anyone just wanting to empty their attic or garden shed but don't like Ebay
- anyone without html coding knowledge, seo knowledge, web-design knowledge
- anyone who wants to start selling online in one single day (half a day even)
It will hand you the online tools to start selling, it does not promise you'll be rich within a day - or a week, it's a tool guide, not a "get-rich-quick" scheme.
Who am I to write this guide?
Together with my partner I run an independent specialised retail business, he does the installation of the quality wooden flooring I sell. Besides the selling of our products through our showroom I manage our website, blog, ecommerce site and all other web marketing. Single-handedly - without an IT department, without an IT manager, even without an IT background or college grade.
However, I only use software programs that comes with an excellent customer support, be it with their documentation, training videos or email support. Some even come with their own users forum or twitter account for instant help.
The four online software programs (all award winning software) I will be discussing in this guide are free, and still have superb support available. Why? Because 3 of these programs have fee-paying account levels too. It's the principle of these companies to help you out from the start and they make no difference if you pay for your account or have a free account. Simply said: they hope you will love using their program so much you eventually become a paying customer once you realise how many more benefits a higher account level can give you. That's how I got to know all the ins and outs of the programs in this guide and on most I'm now a fee paying customer.
But for starters, the free versions are all you need to get started selling online.
The fourth free program is quite different, it has related programs - some free, some "pay-as-you-go" - you might become interested in later. The fifth essential online program you need is one of the so-called "pay-when-you-sell", no fees upfront or fixed monthly contribution.
Because of managing the webmarketing "single-handedly", I started to see/learn/experience how programs can be combined to become bigger than their own parts. None of these programs on its own will give you a complete ecommerce site, but by cleverly combining them you'll have absolutely everything you need to start selling your product or products online. Since more and more online software programs are able to "talk" to each other the combining (or linking them together) has become easier than ever.
This guide will focus on how to sell your product online as simple, quickly and easy as possible. It is therefore not an in-depth guide on all four individual programs. The title of this guide is called "Selling Online Basics" for a reason, it gives you instantly what you need to get the basics to start selling your product/products online. Later on you can dive into the single programs yourself to see what else they can do, but the "basics" is all you need for the moment. And all of these basics are covered in this guide.
So, what's in the guide?
- An introduction to all the programs you need, the reason(s) why you can start with the free version (if applicable) and how to upgrade to a higher account level of the programs (if applicable for you).
- A logical sequence of opening accounts for the free version of the online software programs you're going to use for your Ecommerce site (online presence).
- Step by step screen shots of what you will see and need to do during the opening of these accounts
- Extra information on the programs, but only if and when relevant to the essence of Selling Online Basics
- How to combine/link the programs together into one effective working Ecommerce presence without the need to enter data all over again in separate programs.
- An "if you already have..." per chapter, giving you shortcuts for the whole process
- An extensive reference section for additional tactics and advice at the end of the guide to help you become a successful ecommerce business. (Remember, this guide only covers the online "basics" - but all of the basics you need.)
This guide starts on the premise of not having any the tools yet. Some tools, such as an email address, everyone might already have in place. Then still, it might be very handy, for a one-off product for instance or testing a brand new range, to sign up with the free version of the online tool discussed in this guide.
It's the simple combination power between the programs which makes the whole selling online process so simple and effective!
Karin H - proprietor of 1 Plus 1 Makes 3, managing director Wood You Like Ltd