We have to face reality – so many businesses are being forced to consider taking their product offering online. The recent global crisis caused by the lockdown of countries due to the Covid-19 virus has forced many businesses to consider going online. Stores that only deal with customers face-to-face have now had to adapt to the new restrictive environment. While for some this may not be an option, the following article is a guide to getting online and trading quickly. I have helped customers get online and trading within 10 days, where they had all their product information ready.
If you are asking “How do I get my local store trading online?” and want to fast-track the process, I recommend using a WooCommerce store built on the back of WordPress with a professional template. This is by far the most effective solution out there and will handle most scenarios or business models. If you only have a few products, or only sell digital products, you could look at other hosted services. These will be even quicker to get you online. I’m making the assumption that you have several products that you will ship to your customers.
Here are the 10 steps to get your store online and trading.
- Register a domain name and arrange a WordPress website hosting service. If you are looking to manage your own hosting. I offer managed hosting and handle the technical and security details for you.
- Buy your SSL certificate and a professional WordPress template that caters for WooCommerce.
- Set up and configure your WordPress Website, Plugins, Security and WooCommerce settings.
- Add your site pages, contact details and don’t forget your Terms and Conditions, Privacy and other legal requirements.
- Arrange how your deliveries will be handled. There are several plugins for WooCommerce to work with drop-shipping or other couriers.
- Put together your Online Product Price List with images, shipping details, product information and pricing.
- Set up your products and pricing in WooCommerce.
- You will need to use a payment gateway to process credit cards or online payments. These vary from country to country, but Stripe or PayPal are common options that are easy to set up.
- Test your Store, the workflow and any 3rd party integration, then Go-Live once happy with the testing.
- Train your employees (including your accounting team) on how to adapt to the new workflow and customer service requirements.
If you have a large product range, this will potentially take longer to set up and test, even if you import the product details. For a business with around 50 products and variations and with good planning, it is possible to get up and trading fairly quickly – 1 to 2 weeks. I have found the biggest snag or delay in this process, has been getting product price lists together with shipping details and images. For businesses with a large number of products, I suggest getting the products live in batches so that you can get trading on some items while preparing the rest of the items behind the scenes.