In recent years, e-commerce has seen a significant rise in popularity. This fame is likely due to the convenience it offers consumers: the ability to make purchases from the comfort of their homes without having to leave the house or wait in line. In addition, online shoppers can take advantage of a more comprehensive selection of products and lower prices than they would find in traditional retail stores.
To get an idea of just how popular e-commerce has become, consider these statistics:
- In 2016, global e-commerce sales reached $2.3 trillion and were projected to reach $4.5 trillion by 2021.
- The United States accounts for most of the global e-commerce sales, with revenues totaling $1.3 trillion in 2016.
- E-commerce is growing faster than traditional retail: while brick-and-mortar stores are expected to grow by 2% annually through 2020, online sales are forecast to grow by 16%.
E-commerce is booming and will only continue to grow in popularity in the years ahead. If you’re thinking about venturing into this space, partnering with a reputable e-commerce provider who can help you set up and manage your online store is essential. However, there are more services to consider. Here are a few essential e-commerce services to get you started:
Perhaps the most important service you’ll need is an e-commerce platform. This software will power your online store, allowing you to manage inventory, process payments, and track shipping. Some popular e-commerce platforms include Shopify, BigCommerce, and WooCommerce. Selecting the right platform for your business will take some time, so be sure to research and compare features before making a decision.
Partnering with an e-commerce provider will give you access to a team of experts who can help you select the right platform and set it up quickly and easily. However, you’ll have to pay a monthly fee for their services. If you’re working with a limited budget, consider going the DIY route and setting up your store yourself. While it will take more time and effort, you can find free e-commerce platforms with meager monthly fees.
Another vital service to consider is hosting. Your e-commerce site will need to get hosted on a server, which is a computer that stores all the files for your website. When someone types in your URL, they’ll get directed to this server, and your website will load. Selecting the right hosting solution is essential for the success of your online store: if your site is slow or down frequently, shoppers are likely to go elsewhere.
You can start by looking into shared hosting, the most affordable option. With this type of hosting, your website will share a server with other websites. While this can lead to slower speeds, it’s a good option for businesses on a tight budget. If you have the cash to invest, consider getting a dedicated server, which will give your site space on a server and provide faster speeds.
Your domain name is your website’s address online. It will be what shoppers will type into their browser to find your store. When selecting a domain name, keep it short, memorable, and relevant to your brand. You can register a domain name through various providers, such as GoDaddy or Google Domains. Once you’ve selected and registered your domain name, it’s time to connect it to your hosting account.
To take payments on your website, you’ll need a payment processor. This service will handle the transaction between you and your customer, ensuring that the funds get transferred from the shopper’s bank account to yours. Some standard payment processors that e-commerce businesses use are PayPal, Stripe, and Square.
When selecting a payment processor, be sure to compare fees and features. You’ll also want to consider which types of payments you wish to accept. For example, some businesses only take credit card payments, while others allow customers to pay with cash or check.
You may need specific licenses and permits to operate your online store, depending on your location and the products you sell. Check with your local government to see what compliance regulations apply to your business.
You’ll also need to collect sales tax from customers in some states. To do this, you’ll need to register for a sales tax permit and set up a system for collecting and remitting taxes. You can get business compliance review services to help you ensure you’re meeting all the legal requirements for your e-commerce business.
While there are many services to consider when launching an e-commerce business, these are a few essentials. You can set up a successful online store by partnering with the right providers and getting the necessary licenses and permits. These services will help you get your business up and running quickly and smoothly.