Creative Combustion Blog
Marketing and branding tips for the badass small business owner.
July 12, 2012
You’ve been meaning to get around to it for the past six months. Customers keep asking about it but you just haven’t had the time or the resources to create an ecommerce site for your small business. As much as you want to move your brick and mortar store online, you’re just not sure where to start.
You’ve thought about hiring your nephew, the part-time web designer, while he’s home from college over the summer but he’s still learning the ropes and you’d have to rely on him to make updates once he’s back at school. You’ve contemplated hiring a professional web designer but then you’re looking at thousands of dollars on the front not to mention the amount of time you’d need to personally invest in the design process. You’ve considered going with an ecommerce platform and using one of their pre-made themes but you might have to give up some customization.
When it comes to getting the ecommerce ball rolling, the first step is often the hardest. I’ve spoken to a lot of small businesses that tried to cut costs by hiring a friend or relative to create their site only to find out later it wasn’t optimized for search, easy for their customers to navigate, or lacking on a number of other fronts. I’ve also spoken to a lot of small businesses who have shelled out thousands of dollars on a slick looking customized ecommerce site who were also in the very same boat.
The good news is ecommerce platforms such as Etsy and Shopify have been absolute game changers for small businesses. Instead of having to burn a lot of calories trying to find a reasonably-priced web designer (which can be incredibly difficult), they’ve already done a lot of the heavy lifting for you. They make it really easy for you to create your very own online storefront, upload product photography and descriptions, and process orders using a secure shopping cart—and do it all without having to possess any advanced technical skills.
Beyond just providing the technical infrastructure, they also offer a treasure trove of useful marketing tips and sources of creative ecommerce inspiration via their blogs. There you’ll find featured stores, interesting case studies, and proven strategies for helping to take your business to the next level. Since most (all) small business owners don’t have a lot of time, being able to easily access content that’s been carefully curated can be a huge bonus!
If you’ve been thinking about moving your brick and mortar store online, be sure to check out Etsy, Shopify, and other popular ecommerce platforms before you decide to build your site from scratch. With dedicated technical support, the opportunity to easily integrate your ecommerce and social media efforts, and lots of experience dealing with small businesses just like yours, there’s a pretty good chance they could end up saving you from a lot of unnecessary headaches and sleepless nights.
What about you?
Does your small business have an ecommerce site? If so, what advice would you share?
As a disclaimer, I use affiliate links for some of the products listed. They are all products I absolutely love and trust and would recommend regardless of whether they have an affiliate program.
By: Shawn Graham
[Image: Flickr user Lars Plougmann]
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