WooCommerce – E-Commerce Shopping Solution
Local Shops Pay a Heavy Price
I live in a small city called Luleå in the north of Sweden – with an estimated population of around 75,000. In terms of a city – it’s a small one and includes a compact shopping centre where many shops struggle to survive.
Like most other European cities and small towns, the trend for shopping in the centre of town has declined and been overtaken by out-of-town shopping centres. The benefits to shoppers include free parking, closer proximity of larger stores, more choice and cheaper prices. People in general are looking to get more for their money and don’t want to spend time waiting for a parking spot!
Within the last 12 months, I have seen small businesses closing down in the centre of Luleå and other businesses taking their place to have a go. It’s a tough call when high inner-city rates have to be paid monthly (average of 20,000kr per month). Starting a business is by no means an upward flow of immediate success or income, it’s a continual learning curve. Often those small businesses come and go and I’ve seen more and more vacant shop windows which have never been re-populated. Glad to see a rise in more places to eat and drink coffee though!
Shoppers continue to grow in numbers at shopping locations outside of town and the trend to buy online is also growing at a rapid rate. In the U.S., Amazon were reported to have taken 49% of U.S. spend – that’s incredible!
So why are there not more people willing to put their efforts online and advertise locally and internationally without the heavy overheads of rates, staff, equipment etc??? Imagine if you could spend the rates of 20,000kr a month on advertising instead!
Benefits of an Online Shop
I see massive benefits from taking your business online – And, you have the time to tweak your business and change direction at any time without the burden of paying heavy monthly rates for a physical shop.
An online shop can take credit card orders, send the customer an automatic order receipt, inform the business owner of an order and even supply a list of shipping options. Not only that, you can contact the customer via email with offers, discounts or other related products. This in turn offers higher return of investment (ROI) because the shopper has already given you their trust and purchased from you online.
Did I mention it’s always open, even when you sleep?
Repeat business in the form of low hanging fruit!
Free Online Tools
There are many free online software tools which can contribute towards creating a shop online. First, is the website platform – WordPress. This platform has a market share of around 34% of all the websites online in the world and is supported by thousands of developers who create themes, plugins and marketing tools to help grow a business online.
WooCommerce – Best E-commerce Solution
Woocommerce – owned by Automattic (owners of WordPress), provide a free shopping platform to allow anybody to setup a shop on their domain space. The free version has everything you need from creating products right through to selling and processing credit cards online. Woocommerce can be redesigned to suit any type of website design from the product layout through to the checkout page.
What is more appealing and inspiring is the number of clicks it takes from a visitor on a home page to add a product to the shopping basket and proceed to pay. It takes 2 clicks for this to happen – that’s if I’m setting it up for you 😉
Another resource which might be of great interest is the integration of Google Analytics into WordPress. This tracks your pages, your visitors and much more info which you can use to your advantage. What’s popular, what’s not, where are people getting bored (bounce rate) and what products or pages are keeping people on your website (sticky pages).
Businesses Living In The Dark
I’m amazed how many online businesses have no idea about how much traffic they receive or know the results of any of their online campaigns via Google Adwords or Facebook Ads! Those online businesses may as well open a car window and empty their wallets into the street. This is a business essential free service!
Woocommerce Shop Example
Take a look at the following shop: SOFTPLANET LTD
It’s been setup to deal with music software. It gives you a good idea of site layout, easy navigation and a simple way to pay – within 2 clicks from the home page. And, most importantly, it makes money!
Payment Provider – Stripe
In order to process credit cards you will need to connect to a payment provider and attach it to your shopping cart. Stripe – I love this company, not because of their low rates per credit card transaction, but the sheer simplicity of how they integrate with shopping carts. You never leave the website you are on to go to another website (similar to the olden days of being redirected to Paypal). And, Stripe’s payment setup means you never wait to get paid. And, if you sell online memberships for subscription, they take care of that too!