Beginner's Guide to Ecommerce, WordPress-Style

A beginner’s guide to ecommerce, WordPress-style

Whether you’re a professional photographer, amateur baker or aspiring florist, ecommerce is a great thing to get into—especially right now. Statistics continue to document the supersonic growth of ecommerce, and full-featured platforms like Shopify and Bigcommerce have eliminated many of the technical barriers to entry, opening the door to virtually anyone with a product to sell.

Attractive as these dedicated options may be, breaking into ecommerce on a new and unfamiliar platform can seem intimidating. While there’s something to be said for getting out of your comfort zone every now and then, if you’re already running a site on WordPress—dare we say the most powerful, flexible platform of all—why change? With Zillacommerce, you can start selling online without the hassle of switching platforms or giving up the familiarity, flexibility or awesomeness of WordPress.

With that, today we thought we’d introduce you to a few essentials that will help make your first foray into ecommerce a success. There’s a ton of information out there on everything from mobile selling to content marketing to SEO, but we’re going to start by drilling down to what’s really necessary for you to make your first sales. If you’re running on WordPress, all you need is a Zillacommerce theme—it’s not too late to snag this stunner for free—a $9/month Shopify Lite account, and something to sell.

Ready? Let’s get started.

Figure out what you’re going to sell

This might sound obvious, but one of the first and biggest challenges aspiring sellers face is deciding what product to offer. Our best advice? Start small. A store that sells just one product is still a store, and if you’re going to be handling the production, fulfillment and support yourself, you’d be wise to keep your product line simple. You can always expand once you’ve got some sales and experience under your belt.

Pick something you’re passionate about, but also be pragmatic about what people are going to buy. Do some market research. Think about your ability to consistently produce quality product at scale. Spend some time thinking about who your target customer is and how you might position your product toward them.

Take some photos—good ones

If you’ve been running a blog, portfolio or website for any length of time, then you should already understand the importance of good imagery. It’s even more crucial in ecommerce, where customers base their purchasing decisions primarily and sometimes exclusively on how a product looks.

When it comes to product photography, low-resolution, poorly-lit images aren’t going to cut it. Though you still can’t allow customers to touch and scrutinize products online, you can approximate the experience of real-world shopping by including a variety of shots that show your product in all its glorious detail. Consider hiring a professional photographer for a few hours, or brush up on your DIY photography skills before shooting them yourself.

Write some compelling product descriptions

Good product photography will go a long way towards netting your first sales, but there’s no substitute for original, engaging product descriptions. Your descriptions should sell the benefits of your product while accurately detailing its features. Remember that people only read about 20 percent of the words on a webpage, so it’s important to be concise while at the same time telling a “story” about your product. Here are some tips for crafting compelling copy for absolutely anything—even tube socks.

Nail down a fulfillment strategy

You are not Amazon. You do not have 250 fulfillment centres and a quarter million workers to help you get your product to your customer. Chances are, what you have is a corner of your studio with some boxes and old newspapers piled high. And that’s okay! But if you’re serious about becoming an ecommerce entrepreneur, you’d do well to devote a bit of time to considering your fulfilment strategy.

With Zillacommerce and Shopify’s online order management system, you’ll be notified via email when someone makes a purchase, and your Shopify admin will update to show your number of pending orders. You take it from there. How are you going to package your product? What shipping options will you offer? Do you really have the time and desire to handle everything on your own, or do you want to bring on some extra help?

Get ready to floor customers with top-notch support

You may not be bagging groceries or working at a department store, but that doesn’t mean you can ignore the importance of good customer service. From responding to initial pre-sale questions to filling orders to dealing with complaints, your number-one priority should be making your customer feel satisfied. That doesn’t mean you have to be available 24/7 and solve every every conceivable problem instantly, but by being responsive and genuine in your communications, you’ll be well on your way to building customer loyalty and finding success in today’s competitive ecommerce market.

PSA: As of Sept. 29, 2017, you can no longer purchase themes from this website. We will continue to provide limited support, including bug fixes and security updates, until March 31, 2018. Thank you for everything. We'll miss you dearly.