What is Ecommerce? How to Start An Online Shop

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Are you thinking of selling your product online? Are you considering opening an e-commerce store? Perhaps you have a shop and a website and want to add an online shop to your website?  Do you want to feel that you are running your e-commerce business to the best of your ability? If this is you, you should find the upcoming series of articles aimed at online retailers useful and interesting.

I’ve been running my online shop since 2008 at Garrendenny Lane and while I am not a ‘techie’, nor will I be able to tell you the difference between ZenCart and Magenta, I will be able to impart some of the practical knowledge I have gained over the years.  As fits in with the Write on Track business model, I’ll be exploring how you can use social media to benefit your e-commerce business but I’ll also be answering some of those burning questions, such as what to expect from suppliers or stockists, different payment methods, hidden or unexpected costs, what to ask your website designer, what to look for in a good online shop, the realism of all those behind the scenes operations, the effectiveness of advertising and much more.

I’m not saying that I’ll be able to answer every single query that comes my way, what I can offer is focused analytical answers based on my own experience and knowledge.  I would love if you could ask questions and provide some feedback as I may add an online training course in running your online shop to our We Teach Social courses once we launch in the spring.

The first thing to do is to write a profile for your ideal customer. There’s many reasons for this – from helping you to improve your SEO and write targeted blog posts to improving your advertising prospects. It also helps when you are buying at the trade shows too or making decisions on packaging.

Creating A Profile For Your Ideal Customer:

  • Age group
  • Gender
  • Nationality
  • Language
  • Income / Level of spend
  • Interests
  • What social networks do they use?
  • Hobbies / Lifestyle
  • What problems might they have that you can solve?

I received queries from two individuals re online shopping which helped me decide to create this series of blog posts on ecommerce. One has her own product and is looking at selling it online and getting other shops to stock it too.  The other has a great blog and a good community following her and wishes to start an online shop stocking particular products.  They don’t want to spend time and money on mistakes but aren’t quite sure where to start.  Both are experienced in using  the various social media platforms but are  beginners to the retail field.

I will be visualizing using this social profile as I write the content for these posts.  This profile will be my ideal client in terms of teaching online courses in this subject area.

  • Female
  • 30-50
  • Western hemisphere
  • English speaking
  • Emerging into retail/entrepreneurship
  • Reasonably familiar with social media platforms
  • Limited in technology know-how
  • Limited budget for e-commerce
  • Problems to solve: All the practical dilemmas in getting started…

I am actually closing down the Garrendenny Lane online store at the moment (and the website is for sale). The favourite part of the business is the social media work, and that’s what I can do all day here at Write on Track :)

If you have any particular questions in mind regarding a new e-commerce business, do ask in the comments below.

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Posted in E Commerce
  • http://www.greensideup.ie Dee Sewell

    You’re a star Lorna! Can think of no better person to address this and really looking forward to future posts :)

    • Lorna Sixsmith

      Thanks Dee, do fire me any questions if you think of any. Lots of posts planned, just need the time now to write them :)

  • http://Www.tapsandsinks.net Wise Owl AKA Ailis

    Any tips on How to go about finding out the profile of your customer I.e. you might have one type in mind , but the actual customer might be potentially different and if you don’t aim it at the right customer would you be losing out on sales – I know if it was a woman’s clothes shop, for example , it might be obvious, but what if it was a product that would fit DIY or lifestyle – or both ? But you might take diff style approach if you thought the balance swung more one way that the other .

    • Lorna Sixsmith

      In some ways,you have to visualise your ideal customer and write your marketing/blogging/advertising for them rather than spreading yourself too thinly. For example, are your ideal target market time-poor,are they checking out prices online? Your retail/online customer is not going to be the person who wants the reliability of knowing everyone in the local kitchen / hardware store, if you know what I mean.

      • http://Www.tapsandsinks.net Ailis

        Thanks lorna, that’s very interesting about who my customer is. I think I need to spend some more time on this aspect

  • http://www.moderindesign.com Brenda

    Lorna, this is fantastic, I for one am really looking forward to this and will be tuning in for more !

    • Lorna Sixsmith

      Lots more to come next week Brenda :)

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