Guide and Advice on DIY Ecommerce

DIY Ecommerce Pretty Klicks

Selling online is big business and thanks to lots of nice developers building the perfect free ecommerce solution it’s now very easy to set up your own free online ecommerce shop. The ecommerce industry as a whole is huge, as I’m sure you already know! A very good example to start with is Amazon. How often when buying something do you use Amazon as a price or review reference and then end up buying on Amazon anyway? You may not be shooting to take on the king of online shops, but even trying to get a tiny slice of their pie is very worth your time, who knows they may even buy you out to avoid your direct competition.

To begin the process: Starting your online shop the right way and picking the right free ecommerce solution can be key to your success, being inundated with orders and no proper system to deal with it could lead to some not so pleasant customers complaints and few pulled hairs. Making sure the shop is built properly, security and search engine friendly is also key, you don’t want to be putting in all that hard work for someone to steal it all or be unable to find your products online. Any out of the box solution that you find online should be the real deal, always cross check online by searching for the solution name and review. Maybe ask around to see what others are using in your industry or use builthwith.com to determine what the competition is using, here is an example, Harvey Nichols use the Magento platform.

Pretty Klicks - Harvey Nichols

Products, products and more products, not all solutions support a Harvey Nichols size of product range that makes it easy for a visitor to search a find relevant products. Correctly categorising and sorting a range and having the right system to do so can be important, but only if you have a large range and planned future growth is expected to be vast. Reason being is this could lead to scaling issues further down the line. If you are expecting to only have less than 100 products then it should be no issue. I have went into more detail below and split up what ecommerce solution is suitable for which range size.

After you have decided on your product range you can’t always say for certain say what sales volume you are expecting, but having an indication of what you are expecting is vital, “fail to plan, plan to fail”, as they say. Now that you have your figures it’s time to think about features, be it a sale functionality, newsletter sign ups or changing the layout. Making a list of the features you want and cross checking them with the different ecommerce solutions to find an ideal partner will avoid any unexpected expenditure in the future when you realise that oh, they don’t have that feature I was wanting to use. Not all ecommerce solutions and not all free ones will have the exact functionality you may require, especially if it’s something custom or unique. You may have to sacrifice a feature here or there to find the perfect solution, or potentially fork over a little cash to get the best out of a solution, but only pay when you absolutely need what you are paying for, until then utilise and make the most of being on the free package.

Ok, so as I said above picking the right free solution is in most part down to the size of sales volume and your products range, I have detailed below the best solutions to go for based on product range sizes because if you have more products surely you will be expecting a higher sales volume.

1. 100 or less products is usually ok for a DIY solution
2. 100+ we recommend clients look at Shopify solutions or themes.
3. 1000+ is professional territory and any agency may point you in the direction of Magento. Used by very big ecommerce businesses, the nature of Magento is for big ecommerce shops and can handle large volumes of orders.

Very DIY:

BigCartel:

  • I have had some experience with BigCartel myself and it was incredibly easy to set up, especially because it was at a time when I had little or no web experience.
  • The editor can simply lead you through some basic colour changes and add in a few images to personalise your site.
  • Managing heavy order loads would be difficult, why only selling a dozen or so items a week would I recommend using it.
  • Check in the url to see if a competitor is using bigcartel, for example: “prettyklicks.bigcartel.com”

Weebly:

  • Shockingly simple to use and navigate the choice of themes are clean and simple with good guidance on how to make the site look professional.
  • You can easily connect your own domain name to add that little bit extra to make sure the site appears professional.

More Comprehensive:

Shopify:

  • In house we use Shopify for all of our bespoke ecommerce solutions, whilst guiding clients to Magento if Shopify isn’t the right solution.
  • Shopify has a great reputation, hosting products and the shops internally adds that extra level of security.
  • They have a great selection of themes which you can buy and edit to style to fit your brand.

Spree Commerce:

  • All of their code is open sourced which means anyone can help edit the code, which is great for security and keeping your site up to date.
  • Potentially you would need a little help from a developer to get you going but if you want to stay ahead and not get bogged down with a very DIY solution, Spree Commerce could be the right choice to future-proof your ecommerce site.

I hope this and the DIY website post has helped you out and if you have any questions, email us or drop a comment below.

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