Chapter 1Ecommerce Principles of Web Design
  • How to Start Your Own eCommerce Website
Chapter 2Choosing Domain Names
  • How to Start Your Own eCommerce Website
Chapter 3Choosing and Comparing Different eCommerce Platforms
  • How to Start Your Own eCommerce Website
Chapter 424 Ways to Make Your First Sale
  • How to Start Your Own eCommerce Website
Chapter 5Setting up and Managing Your Ecommerce Analytics
  • How to Start Your Own eCommerce Website
Chapter 6Shipping and Fulfillment 101
  • How to Start Your Own eCommerce Website
Chapter 7Other Web Resources
  • How to Start Your Own eCommerce Website

E-commerce has become a vital part of modern-day living. Being able to walk through countless products without leaving the comforts of your home or office, or while waiting in line or on a bus, makes e-commerce a truly convenient way to shop in a modern way.

Some retailers see e-commerce as a threat to brick and mortar stores. Smarter retailers learned to tap e-commerce and not fear it in order to boost sales.

New players in the retail industry also found it easier to find a spot in the highly-competitive arena thanks to e-commerce. It just goes to show that e-commerce truly is an integral part of what any retail business today.

We have come up with a detailed guide that can help you start your own e-commerce website – and not just any e-commerce website, but a functional one at that.

Parts of this guide:

  • Ecommerce Principles of Web Design
  • Choosing Domain Names
  • Choosing and Comparing Different eCommerce Platforms
  • 24 Ways to Make Your First Sale
  • Setting up and Managing Your Ecommerce Analytics
  • Shipping and Fulfillment 101
  • Other Web Resources

Chapter 1: Ecommerce Principles of Web Design

Ecommerce Principles of Web Design

In its simplest form, an e-commerce site is just like any other site – given a name, set up on a platform, filled with relevant content, and then made available to end users. What makes it unique is its purpose, and you will need to design it that way.

Here are 10 e-commerce design principles that will help your website become a full-fledged e-commerce site.

1. Come up with your own unique design

Giving your site its own unique personality will help set it apart from the competition. Of course, this should be done in a good and smart way. Think of your e-commerce site as a physical store. Give it a unique style that can entice your customers to come back again and again. Make visiting your e-commerce site an experience in itself.

2. Identify your target market and design for them

It is essential for businesses of any nature to identify their target market. That way, you can make your efforts for tailored-fit for them. Targeting multiple markets is also not advisable for businesses that just started.

So choose a target market first, ensure that your products are appealing to them, and design your site in ways that can attract them to it.

3. Ensure that your e-commerce site is user-friendly

Navigation is essential for e-commerce sites. Your site would likely contain tens to hundreds and even thousands of products that your possible buyers just don’t have the time to scroll all over through. Organize your products into categories, and provide a search function so the customers would be able to go straight to products that they want.

4. Ensure site security at all times

E-commerce sites are most commonly targeted by cyber-felons not only because of the money coming in but also with the customer information that these online felons wreak so much havoc with. It is your responsibility to include in your design the assurance that your customers are safe as they transact with you. And don’t just say it – do it!

5. Keep your e-commerce site light

Some people overdo their e-commerce sites. They fill it heavy objects, large-sized photos and flash files, which at one side makes their sites quite appealing, but in another side makes it slower, unresponsive, prone to crashes, and not friendly with mobile devices.

Aesthetics should never compromise the performance of your e-commerce site because it will just turn your customers away. So don’t get carried away with decorations, okay?

6. Consider minimalism

One way to help keep your ecommerce site light is by practicing minimalism. Always aim to be simple as to not overwhelm your customers. Remove redundant and unnecessary elements. Furthermore, don’t use too much variation of colors and fonts.

7. The Search option is really important

We mentioned the search function as part of improving user-friendliness but we would like to mention it again because its importance is worth reiterating. The search function can dramatically set apart your site from that do not have it.

8. Be serious with the product descriptions

The product description is one of the most undervalued elements of e-commerce sites. Unlike physical stores, e-commerce sites cannot provide the customers an on-hand experience of the products before buying. This is one of the downsides of e-commerce. Counter this by providing product descriptions that can give the customers the look and virtual feel of the products for sale. Your customers would truly appreciate sites that do this.

9. Put your brand to work

The purpose of your brand is to give identity to your business. Keep your brand visible on all pages, and keep your brand symbols consistent. This will help your customers recognize your brand from a pool of other brands. Build up your brand and make it work for you.

10. Use the power of Call to Action

You started your business in order to reap profits. Your site will have a lot of visitors, and a lot of these would look into your product offerings, but not all would eventually make a purchase.

One way to help you increase your conversion rate is by using a call to action. Call to action is a term which means to invite people to do an immediate response. In your case, these responses ultimately lead to a purchase.

Of course, saying “Buy Now” won’t exactly work as is so you can make use of other means like “Claim this Exclusive Discount”.

Always remember these steps when designing your e-commerce site and you are sure to be able to come up with a brilliantly-designed site.

Chapter 1: Choosing Domain Names

choosing domain name

Choosing a name is always a difficult task to accomplish may it be naming an offspring, a pet, a car, a character in a game, an organization, and in the case of e-commerce sites, your domain name. You really just can’t recklessly come up with a name especially when you know that this would be permanent.By the time that you are setting up your e-commerce site, we presume that you already know the kinds of products that you will sell, as well as an idea of what your business will be called. We’ll focus on choosing your domain name.

By the time that you are setting up your e-commerce site, we presume that you already know the kinds of products that you will sell, as well as an idea of what your business will be called. We’ll focus on choosing your domain name.Your platform would most likely offer you a domain name that includes the platform name, or yourstorename.yourchosenplatform.com. You also have the option buy a domain name that does not include your platform and goes directly

Your platform would most likely offer you a domain name that includes the platform name, or yourstorename.yourchosenplatform.com. You also have the option buy a domain name that does not include your platform and goes directly as yourstorename.com.

When coming up with a domain name, you should consider the following reasons why it is important to think it thoroughly:

1. Your domain name is your permanent online address

Your domain name is your permanent address in the vast world wide web. This is what your customers would have to search in order to get to you and your products. You can do a lot with your site in as much as you can do a lot with your house, but the address remains the same. So think of an online address that you are willing to carry in the long run.

2. Your domain name can help in increasing your brand awareness

Your store name is the biggest chunk of your domain name. Again, you can choose to buy a domain name as to not include your platform and this can further increase your brand awareness. We suggest that you spend the extra investment because if you do include your platform, you would share the limelight with it, and you are helping advertise it for free.

3. Your domain name can help earn your customers’ trust

Having your own domain name helps assure customers that you are a legitimate business. Spending a little bit more can help fortify your credibility so why not, right?

We hope that we were able to convince you to really take that extra step to get your own domain name – the one that does not include your platform – because it truly is worth it.

Now, here are some things to remember when coming up with a domain name for your e-commerce site:

1. Make it short and catchy

Make sure that your domain name is short, easy to spell, easy to pronounce, and catchy enough to be remembered.

2. Play with words to come up with a unique domain name

One way to come up with a domain name that is uniquely yours, and at the same time, catchy and memorable. Think of how YouTube and Facebook are such unique names. Hopefully, you too will be able to come up with a domain name that will one day be as popular as these two are.

3. Choose a top-level domain that works best for you

Usually, sites go with “.com” top-level domain but you may consider country-specific domains if you intend to keep your business in a specific country.

4. Choose a domain name that you can grow with

Your products may be limited at the moment but this is because you are just starting. You should choose a domain name that
will still be able to represent products that you might want to add to your offerings in the future.Better yet, don’t use domain names that are too restrictive so if you do add products, your domain name won’t make your customers think that you do not offer such products.

5. Keep it legal

Ensure that your domain name is not too close with a competitor and that you do not violate anyone’s trademark.

6. Seek the help of name generators

There is a bunch of tools out there that can help you come up with possible names for your business, which in turn will help you come up with a domain name. Use name generators to help you brainstorm but it would still be best if you can devise a domain name that is uniquely yours.

Your products may be limited at the moment but this is because you are just starting. You should choose a domain name that will still be able to represent products that you might want to add to your offerings in the future.

Better yet, don’t use domain names that are too restrictive so if you do add products, your domain name won’t make your customers think that you do not offer such products.

Chapter 3: Choosing and Comparing Different eCommerce Platforms

choosing-online-platforms

The easiest way to set up an e-commerce site is through the help of e-commerce platforms. This is a lot more convenient, and much less expensive and less time consuming than having to get the services of a professional web developer to come up with a site from scratch.

Many players of the e-commerce industry, especially the newer and smaller ones, would really opt to use commercial platforms so they can focus their time and resources on other aspects of the business.

There are a number of e-commerce platforms out there but here are some of the most popular:

Shopify

Shopify is considered to be the leading platform for setting up an e-commerce site. It caters to over 120,000 store owners. It is lauded for its community support that will help you pre- and post-setup. Plans come as low as $14 a month up and as high as $79 a month.

Shopify is considered to be the best choice for selling clothes, furniture, and digital books.

BigCommerce

Another preferred all-in-one hosted e-commerce platform is Bigcommerce. If you’re looking to scale up your online store, then Bigcommerce is the perfect choice.

Bigcommerce has you covered from start to finish; from creating and managing your ecommerce store to managing your content online with its built-in content management system, you can easily start your own online store in one sitting!

No need to look for a hosting provider, as Bigcommerce will host your ecommerce store as well as its security. Just sit back and relax as its platform can handle surges of traffic coming to your website, as well as its top of the line security protecting your website from the first visit until your customer checks out. With its clear and intuitive interface, you can go big with your ecommerce site with Bigcommerce!

Volusion

Volusion is said to be a good choice for home furniture, equipment, and outdoor stuff. It caters to more than 50,000 store owners, including Motorola and Disney.

Volusion will help you from merchandising your product, designing your site, optimizing searches, marketing, and processing orders. It also provides services for the domain name, credit card processing, and fraud protection.

Volusion also offers unique features such as mCommerce, Social Store Builder, loyalty rewards program, and affiliate marketing.

WooCommerce

The WooCommerce plugin for WordPress is free but is not for everyone. WooCommerce is the choice for online business owners who are a little brave enough to want to set up an e-commerce site with your own personal touch.

WooCommerce would require your time, patience, and dedication to learn how to set it up and turn it to a site that you can proudly call your own. Also, additional plugins can help make your site even better but these ones would now come with additional costs as well.

Magento 2.0

The original Magento was available in 2008, sold to eBay, and then spun off. Magento 2.0 was released in November of 2017 and aims to help its more than 200,000 store owners to improve user engagement, smoothen site navigation, and increase conversion rates.

One of the best features of Magento is that it is really flexible and that its developers are ready to extend functionalities to fit your specific needs.

There is a number of other e-commerce platforms out there but we’d leave you to check on the others if you think even one of the four mentioned above is not for you. But now that you are aware of at least four e-commerce platforms, we’ll let you in on some factors to considering on choosing which to choose for your e-commerce site.

In deciding which e-commerce platform to use, here are 10 factors that you should consider:

1. Think of your goals.
Think of how you anticipate your business to grow and choose a platform that you know could cater to your growing business and its requirements.
2. Consider integration
One of the advantages of ready-built platforms is that a lot allow integration to other technologies, as well as with social media sites. This will help increase your customer base, and ultimately, increasing your sales as well.
3. Choose what’s best for your products
Some platforms have features that are best for specific products. If your offerings are limited to a specific type, you may want to consider a platform that works best for your product type.
4. Check the competition
Investigate your direct competitor and check what platforms they are using. Check what’s good and what’s bad with their e-commerce sites. This will help you decide whether to use the same platform or use a different one.Your budget matters.
5. Your budget matters
Setting up an e-commerce site will undeniably entail costs. Choosing a platform, themes, plugins, and value-added services further add up to your bill. Ensure you choose a platform that you can afford even on months when your sales may not be as
good.
6. Weigh hosting options
Another consideration is whether you’d go hosted or self-hosted. Would it be okay for you to manage your own infrastructure as with Magento and WooCommerce? Or would you prefer to go with a hosted option such as Shopify and Volusion?
7. Don’t forget about backend features
Features on the forefront are important but so are those at the backend. Ensure that features on the backend are okay because you will be spending your time here.
8. Consider compatible payment and shipping options
Not all platforms allow third-party payment processors. It is best to be able to provide customers with as much payment options possible to enable them to pay in the manner they wish.Also, consider what shipping methods are native to your platform. Customers would also appreciate fast and affordable shipping options for their purchases.
9. Support is essential
Not all platforms provide as much support to store owners as the others. Especially if you are new to the online retail business, support is a necessary service from a platform.
10. Never forget about security
Security is really important for your e-commerce site. The platform you’ll choose should provide you with ways to help keep your site’s security intact at all times.

Chapter 4: 24 Ways to Make Your First Sale

Now that you’ve set up your ecommerce website, what’s the next step you need to take? Of course, it’s time to make some sales! If you’re clueless on how to start raking in sales, we’ve come up with 40 ways on how to make that first sale!

Make Your First Sale via Social Media

1. Market yourself on Facebook

Facebook is a goldmine of visitors waiting for your next big idea. You can choose to market your products or services through Facebook, but you can also choose to promote your business for a free. Through Facebook advertisements, you can segment data according to your needs; if you’re looking for people living in Toronto to sell your local product, you can do so. On the other hand, you can even select your target market by demographics or by interest — the possibilities are endless.

2. Business-to-business ecommerce? Go LinkedIn!

If you’re looking to connect with people interested in your business, LinkedIn is the best platform to market your services. Effectively build connections through LinkedIn and reach out to potential customers to sell your product.

3. Harness the power of video marketing

Video is an effective medium, especially for products. You can create a YouTube channel that’s dedicated to doing reviews or unboxing your products. It is effective since people can see the actual product; unboxing videos have already generated 11.3 billion views, an indicator that people are interested in these kinds of videos. A better way to unbox your product is to ask an influencer on your niche.

5. Pin it!

Do not underestimate the power of Pinterest! Pinterest has been a successful marketing tool that helps different kinds of enthusiasts to connect, and even purchase your product online. This has become especially effective with hobbyists and moms; create amazing images and videos that will touch their interests, then pitch your product/service.

6. Satisfy that Insta-itch

Instagram has been an effective tool to market products online, especially with its lightweight platform and easy to use interface. Some small-time business owners have already set up their stores in Instagram. It’s easy to get found on Instagram with its hashtags. Don’t forget to hashtag your posts for easy discoverability!

Making your Website Search-Friendly

7. Put your business on Google

Google My Business is an effective tool to put your physical store on the map. Contrary to popular belief, some consumers still prefer brick and mortar stores or even patronize both. Don’t miss the opportunity to leverage your sales online and offline.

8. Search engine optimization (SEO)

Some say that SEO isn’t a good idea because it’s spammy in nature, but SEO is necessary. To properly implement SEO changes to your website, you should understand that SEO is a technique to make a website properly appear in the search engine results page for the appropriate keyword search. It helps your website “catch” the right audience for your website.

9. Study how to use Ecommerce Web Analytics

Net sale isn’t just the only metric that you want to track. You would want to understand which marketing channel works the best to promote your products. You would want to check which days in a week should you brace yourself for orders, or which days need bumping. When you learn to understand your site’s analytics, you will begin to understand your buyer’s behavior and make changes accordingly.

10. Create a mobile-friendly website

Google, as a major search engine website, has announced that they will prioritize those websites that fare well on mobile content before considering a website’s desktop version. Aside from this development, one thing that you should consider is that more people are browsing and searching through their mobile phones. A mobile-friendly website is a necessity for a website now more than ever.

11. Start Blogging!

Blogging is another tool to use for your marketing efforts. It’s a great way to attract visitors organically. With blogging, you can target user queries and answer those questions that can even lead to a sale. Come up with articles that solve a problem using your product or service, or write to demonstrate mastery on a specific topic.

12. Include Email Marketing in Your Strategy

Email marketing has a lot of potential to generate sales, yet some companies do not tap and often times neglect this channel. A study conducted by the Data & Marketing Association placed email with the highest conversion rate of 66% against the other marketing channels.

13. Jumpstart Sales with Google AdWords

If you want to gain instant exposure without the grueling work and wait for SEO, then AdWords is your best bet. Be prepared because it’s still a paid marketing tool; keyword bids can still vary depending on how competitive your niche is. Bidding on the right keywords will yield great results as it can pull in leads for your business at a fraction of the cost.

14. Join Online Forums

Forums were a thing of the past, but it has always been around to use as a tool to get right in front of your audience. Even though most of the groups migrated to Facebook already, there are some communities that stuck around — and that’s where you would want to be. Forums are usually grouped by interest; this can help you target the right audience for your product.

15. Try Affiliate Marketing

A commission based marketing channel can also be beneficial for your business. The success of the campaign can be attributed to your product, and how well you pay for your affiliates. Attract affiliate marketers that have a big influence online to maximize the ROI from your budget.

16. Go Global

Once you’re ready to set foot on another country, it’s time to consider how your website will go against those in native languages. You can set up and optimize your site for local efforts by targeting and bringing in content made in different languages. Go global!

Going Beyond the Barriers of Your Website

17. Ask for product reviews

Getting your products to be reviewed is the online guerrilla marketing method of PR. You can target ultra-niche websites to get way more bang from your efforts.

18. Get Featured in a Press Release

A good press release about your ecommerce site can help get the word that your shop is up and running. While it is old-fashioned in nature, press releases are written similar to a news item — which sets a serious, professional tone for your brand. As long as you don’t overdo publishing press releases, it wouldn’t impact your site in a negative way. Have a press release written and submitted to other websites for the purpose of promotion, not to spam them for links or another malicious purpose.

19. Make Your Product Sell Itself

Why did Joy Mangano’s Miracle Mop worked and generated a million-dollar sale? Because it was unique because it was newsworthy. Being able to reinvent the conventional mop makes it easy for you to clean your home is something customers would want.

20. Do Wholesale Selling to other Retailers

Again, business-to-business opportunities are something you should consider in selling your products or services. If you offer products and services that can help other retailers, you can easily start moving your products and even do wholesaling.

21. Build a Sales Team

As a business owner, you can’t do it all. Eventually, you will need to create a team that will help you drive in the sales to your company. Your sales team will help you get the revenue and catch up on missed opportunities that can be turned around.

22. Give Coupons for Perks and Discounts

Everyone loves discounts, so coupon codes are something they often watch out; if you can provide coupon codes without affecting the image of your brand, you can proceed so. There are some brands that cater to different levels of household income, so giving away too many discounts may be counter-productive for some websites.

23. Be in Good Terms with your Suppliers

Online stores rely heavily on their good relationships with suppliers, especially during the peak of the shopping season. A recent study conducted by Planning Perspectives Inc. (PPI), found out that “Ford, General Motors, FCA US and Nissan collectively would have earned $2 billion more in operating profit last year had their supplier relations improved as much as Toyota’s and Honda’s did during the year.” Building healthy relationships with your suppliers help in maintaining the supply to keep up with the demand of your customers.

24. Prioritize Trust and Security

This does not only encompass personal information security, but this also reminds you that your actions reflect on the image of the company. Make your way to the top of the competition using clean tactics to attract customers, and you will gain your own followers in time. Brand image is important, after all.

Chapter 4: Setting up and Managing Your Ecommerce Analytics

ecommerce-analytics

You have a smartly-designed e-commerce site running on your chosen platform, and with a brilliant domain name at that. Now what’s next?

It is crucial that you integrate analytics in your e-commerce site. Analytics help you get a grasp of what your customers are like, what products are best for them, and how you can improve your e-commerce site – and these are all from a bunch of data that do not, in its face, answer these questions at all.

Your site will acquire tons of customer data. Names, addresses, purchases, payment methods, and many other more data, can be acquired from all the transactions in your e-commerce site. Analytics can help you make sense out of these data and turn them into actions and decisions that can help your business grow. Players in the e-commerce industry make use of analytics for two serious tasks: checking customer acquisition efficiency and scaling out growth. You would want to determine how successful your efforts are in acquiring customers, as well as in growing your sales.

Analytics can specifically help you with the following examples of data:

Time on site:
The average amount of time your visitors spend on your site.
Pages per visit:
Number of pages navigated by customers per visit.
Unique visitors:
Number of visitors that visit your site for the first time.
Returning visitors:
Percentage of visitors that re-visit your site.
Conversion rate:
Percentage of visitors of a certain page that make a purchase.
Bounce rate:
Percentage of visitors that visit a certain page but leave with no purchase.
Customer lifetime value:
The profit that you get from a customer throughout the period for which they remain as your customers.
Customer acquisition cost:
The amount of money you have spent before having made a sale.

Understanding values can help you determine if there’s something wrong with your product, your page, of your site, and how you can address these. For example, if you have high bounce rate, your product on that page be priced too high. On the other hand, if you have high conversion rate on a specific product, you might want to stock up on it as you might run out of such product. Another example is that you might have high customer acquisition cost that in the end might mean that you are spending more than you are profiting, putting in you at risk of bankruptcy.

Analytics can really help you make smart decisions for your business. Make sure that you tap into it in order to maximize the benefits and reduce the risks of your growing business.

Chapter 6: Shipping and Fulfillment 101

shipping fulfillment 101

One of the toughest challenges in building an ecommerce business is managing shipping and fulfillment for your products. It gets tougher as the demand for your business begins to grow. As you begin to understand how shipping and fulfillment work, you can adjust your options and choose the best one for your business.

Once you have orders rolling in, choose the best shipping model to match the demand for your ecommerce site:

Self-Shipping Service: This is where it all begins. You do all the manual labor from packing the product to bringing it to your local carrier. They ship your packages and you wait until it arrives at your recipient. As you grow your customer base, you can build a partnership with the courier as they pick up the products from your place. Consider deviating from this kind of shipping model once you’re capable of upgrading your shipping services.

Third Party Fulfillment & Shipping: Orders are received automatically and these are shipped from a fulfillment warehouse of your choice. Your fulfillment center is responsible for all picking, packing, shipping, storage, and product return operations, but you still own the inventory.

Dropshipping: If you want to free yourself from purchasing inventory or keeping tabs of inventory, this is your choice. They automatically receive your orders and your dropshipping partner delivers this on your behalf. You can read more about getting started with a dropshipping business here.

Charging your Customers for Shipping

This seems to be the game changer for ecommerce stores — a customer places an order on your website, then suddenly thinks twice once they notice that they have to pay for shipping their purchase. Did you know that asking for shipping fees is the reason why 55% of shoppers abandon their carts?

There are three ways to deal with abandoned shopping carts due to shipping charges:

Free Shipping: This may look counterproductive, but encourage your customers to spend more to get free shipping. The Walker Sands Future of Retail 2016 study found out that nine out of 10 of the survey participants said free shipping was the No. 1 reason why they shop more often. There are different ways on how to offer free shipping:

  • Adding more items/specific promo items to qualify for free shipping – this is the most favorable approach, a win-win situation for both consumers and businesses.
  • Online promo codes to avail free shipping – oftentimes found on affiliate sites; a good approach to reach out and encourage people to purchase goods through your website.
  • Enable the shoppers to select the slowest time of transit for their goods.

Charge customers for exact shipping costs: If you’d rather be upfront with the shipping costs, you can charge them for exact costs. You can help your customers decide on which shipping option they would prefer through shipping calculators. Visit our Dimensional Weight Calculator and check if it’s a great option for your website. Red Stag clients receive substantial shipping discounts off the FedEx and UPS Base Rates.

Offer Flat Rate Shipping: This is perhaps the safest option if your customers prefer to check out their purchase without accruing additional expenses just to avail the free shipping option. Pro tip: assess your cart abandonment rates, and define obstacles that hinder your customers to buy from your website. Offer the best of both worlds — free shipping for an X amount, or charge flat rates for other types of purchases.

Packaging your Products for Shipping

If you plan to take care of packaging your products out for distribution, you should consider the following aspects for packaging:

Check the type of product you’re shipping: You should consider the product’s weight, cost, fragility, and other regulations in selecting the best packaging for your product. There are some shipping companies that do not allow batteries to be transported, and others have special restrictions or qualifications needed to ship such items.

Select the most appropriate packaging material to protect your products: We recommend that you should use high-quality corrugated cardboard boxes for parcels. Never use or reuse old boxes for shipping as it may have lost some of its rigidity. If you are in doubt of your packaging’s specifications like its recommended weight and size of shipment, check with your box supplier for more information.

Protect your parcel with a good seal: Use pressure sensitive tape in sealing your parcels. Make sure that you secure each seam with H-taping.

Put a label on it: This is where the details of your parcel can be found. Affix the label on the shipment on the top surface of the box so your package stays upright during transit.

Scaling your Shipping Strategy

As your ecommerce business grows, self-shipping won’t be sufficient to handle your shipping demands. To take your shipping strategy to the next level, it’s time to consider ecommerce fulfillment and drop-shipping options.Red Stag Fulfillment has properly defined what a fulfillment center’s duty is:

Red Stag Fulfillment has properly defined what a fulfillment center’s duty is: When an order comes in, your fulfillment warehouse will pick the right items to put in the box, pack them carefully, and ship them to your customer. When an order comes in, your fulfillment warehouse will pick the right items to put in the box, pack them carefully, and ship them to your customer.

On the other hand, here’s how drop-shipping works: Drop shipping is a fulfillment service where your business doesn’t actually own the physical product you’re selling.

“You are essentially acting as a middleman, where customers visit your store, catalog or website and place an order. After the order is placed, you pay a third-party (your drop ship fulfillment or manufacturing company) to ship the item directly to your customer. Your profit is the difference between the price you sell the item for and what you pay for it wholesale plus shipping.”

To put it simply, order fulfillment is how you get your products to your customers. Drop-shipping is just one an example of order fulfillment.

How is ecommerce fulfillment different from drop-shipping?

These two models are vastly different from each other. Red Stag Fulfillment’s Ecommerce Fulfillment v. Drop-Shipping information video can help clear up the confusion!

Again, there are some considerations between fulfillment and drop-shipping that you have to weigh in. Do you have enough budget for an initial investment? Are you ready for unforeseeable events that may require your attention to act as a middleman between your fulfillment center and the buyer? Is your business prepared for a thinner profit margin since you have to pay for extra costs?

When you think your shipping strategy needs to level up, consider which option is best for your status quo. Do not rush into scaling up your shipping strategy as it can affect your business once you’re not prepared for the extra demand in resources.

Chapter 7: Other Web Resources

Starting an ecommerce business isn’t easy, but we collected numerous in-depth guides that can help you more in building a website and opening your online store, more on shipping and fulfillment, and the legal side of managing an ecommerce business:

Building a Website and Opening an Online Store

How to Start an Online Store in 2017 (Step by Step) – http://www.wpbeginner.com/wp-tutorials/how-to-start-an-online-store/

Ecommerce Business Blueprint: How To Build, Launch And Grow A Profitable Online Store – https://www.shopify.com/blog/14459769-ecommerce-business-blueprint-how-to-build-launch-and-grow-a-profitable-online-store/

An E-commerce Guide for Small Businesses – http://www.commerce.gov.bb/website/images/e-commerce-guide-for-small-businesses—1b.pdf

Benefits of Selling from an Online Store – https://founderu.selz.com/7-benefits-selling-independent-online-store/

SEO for Ecommerce – https://www.bigcommerce.com/blog/ecommerce-seo/

Shipping and Fulfillment

Ecommerce Fulfillment versus Drop-Shipping – http://redstagfulfillment.com/ecommerce-fulfillment/#ecommerce-fulfillment-versus-dropshipping

ECommerce Fulfillment Definition, Process & Resources – http://redstagfulfillment.com/ecommerce-fulfillment-definition-process-resources/

Understanding DIM Weight Pricing – http://redstagfulfillment.com/d-m-weight-pricing-explained/

The Legal Side of Ecommerce

A Legal Guide to Ecommerce – https://www.shopify.com/guides/legal/

Ecommerce Legals and Law – https://ecommerceguide.com/guides/ecommerce-legals/

Stay legally compliant – https://www.sba.gov/business-guide/manage/stay-legally-compliant-business-laws/