In this lesson, let's start planning our E-commerce. You may have no idea yet what type of store you're going to use, whether you're just going to sell on eBay or you're going to set up a hosted store, or your own site. But it's more important right now to figure out your products and services and solidify those things in your mind so you're ready to go when you decide the type of store you're going to sell with. I've included this work file so you can open it up and make some notes in here for your planning. The first thing you need to consider is what are you selling. Products or services? If you're going to sell a product are you going to make it? Are you going to purchase it from a wholesaler and then you'll ship it or they're going to drop ship it? Is your product going to be downloadable? Can people download it immediately, or are you going to have to ship it to them? If you offer services what kind of services? Subscription services? Are you going to just collect donations? Are you going to offer services like home cleaning, fixing their website? There's all kinds of services you can offer online also. Whatever you offer to sell make sure you know why people will want to buy that. What will they use it for? Once you've figured out what you're going to sell start getting some great graphics for that product. The images that you show people provoke a feeling for them. It's going to make them want to buy it or not, so make sure they're awesome images. If you're going to sell multiple products you need to consider the categories. How are you going to divide things up and organize it? Think of your categories as departments. Say you've got the clothing department, the shoes department. And also, you need to look at options for your products. Are you going to offer that product in multiple colors, sizes, et cetera. The next thing you need to figure out, and very important, is figure out how are people going to pay for your product. We can offer credit and debit options, of course. Do you want them to snail mail a check to you still? Now, PayPal is a very popular option because they make it simple. They've done everything for you. You just have to simply copy and paste that button or code onto your site and you're done. PayPal does all the processing, they take care of all the security for you. You could set up something also like Google Checkout. That's another place that can take care of all that extra stuff. Or maybe you want to accept credit cards directly. That's a Merchant Account. Rather than going through a service like PayPal, you set up your merchant account. It lets you take those credit card payments and all the processing goes through and then it will add that money to your bank account. And the third thing you need to start thinking about is how you're going to get that product to your customer. Are you going to have shipping and are you going to charge for those shipping costs? Are you going to offer maybe free shipping if they purchase a certain amount? Now some examples of shipping places, of course, are the USPS, you've got UPS, you've got FedEx Ð there's all kinds of shipping options. Now many store set-ups or something like eBay, they give you a list of set options and they make it really easy. Another thing you want to think about, are you going to let users track their package so they know when it's going to get there? People get excited to get their product. Now when you figure out your shipping or your delivery of your product, choose something that's convenient not only for your customer but for you. You might even consider what's called Drop Shipping. Drop shipping is when you sell products from this wholesaler, but the wholesaler actually ships the items to the buyers, you don't even have to have any stock on hand. The other thing you have to think about is digital items. How are you going to deliver those? Are you going to allow immediate download? People expect that. But how are you going to secure those downloads? Now those are the main areas you need to think about. But you can also start thinking about extra stuff like are you going to need reports, statistics? Does your E-commerce store need to link somehow to another system in your business? Do you want to offer special discounts or coupons? So what I would do right now is get this filled out, start solidifying it. Every day I would look back at it and add your new ideas. And then, I would start gathering pictures of your products or services. Those are so important. And start writing the descriptions for each of those items. You've got to have excellent information for people to buy your product or service. So go ahead and get started on your plan.
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