Working from home has its benefits; going to work in your PJs, eating whenever (and whatever) you like and a shorter commute, to name a few. But if you’re used to selling products from a brick and mortar store, there’s not much work you can do from home unless you have an online store that would allow all the other people stuck working from home to buy from you.
I know the idea of setting up an online store from scratch can be a bit daunting, both for you and possibly your budget, but have no fear, there are easy-ish ways to get your inventory online and ready to sell without having to mortgage your oldest child.
The first step to getting a store up online is to get organized. Here’s a short list of things you should get ready:
- Logo file(s)
- Brand colors (for use in customizing your shop theme)
- Misc image files (banner images, etc…)
- Social media account URLs
- Product list
- Weight (required if item can be shipped)
- Stock (optional)
- Category/collection name (optional)
- Variant info (e.g. shirt sizes/colors)
- Boilerplate (at minimum: image and “who we are” content)
- Featured products (pick 3)
Pick A Shop Platform
The easiest, and probably quickest way, to get up and running is to use Shopify. Shopify is an all-in-one solution for e-commerce. It handles all the technical aspects of having an online store like hosting, sales tax calculation, secure payments and even shipping costs, so you can focus on selling things. SiteCrafting is an authorized Shopify associate, which means we can build and customize your shop for you. If you want to go this route and would like some help, let us know.
If you have a WordPress site another option is WooCommerce, a suite of plug-ins that integrates a store right into your existing website. WooCommerce has a lot of features built in and can be expanded readily with a whole ecosystem of plug-ins that work with it. It claims to be the most customizable e-commerce plug-in on earth, and that might be right. While a basic install of WooCommerce is pretty simple, it can get complicated pretty quickly. SiteCrafting has extensive experience working with and customizing WooCommerce. If this is the solution you’d like to integrate, we’d love to help you build it into your system.
Thelia & Sylius
While the previous two options have been more in the “set it and forget it” realm, Thelia and Sylius require a good deal of technical expertise to set up. Both systems are built on top of the popular Symfony framework, which is robust and powerful but also has a steep learning curve. That being said, both systems are incredibly powerful and flexible. If you decide to go this route you’ll need a designer to create a theme for you and you’ll need to set up hosting. Once that is done you’ll have a solid store able to manage pretty much anything you throw at it. As with the previous options, SiteCrafting can help you get this kind of store set up.
The last thing to do is create your workflow to manage orders as they start coming in. You’ll want to set up a process for getting products packed up and shipped as well as getting your accounting lined up. Keeping yourself organized will help you be a better seller in the long run.
There is a bit of a sticky wicket here in that you may not be able to get to the warehouse to ship things. This could make all your preparations seem a little premature. This is an opportunity in disguise, get creative and see if you can find other things to market that don’t require you to ship anything at all. Are there digital assets (like PDFs or videos), consulting services or premium content that you can sell? The sky’s the limit with what you can sell. The more creative you are the more potential sales you can get. Later when you can start shipping physical things, you can add those things to your store as well.
No matter which platform and products you decide upon, having an e-commerce presence will help you to continue making money during the stay at home order while also giving you an additional sales pipeline once things return to normal.
Do you have questions about getting your online store set up? Let us know how we can help.