ecommerce-150x150Online transactions are the preferred shopping method of today as this generation spends most of its time online. The prevalence of smart phones has only increased this phenomenon. In the past few years mobile payment services have become a norm increasing the already high volume of online sales. FastPivot Ecommerce states that online purchases from mobile devices increased from 2% to 8% within a two year period. According to, there is a steady, annual increase in online sales with time saving as the number one reason consumers choose to shop online. 83% of internet users have purchased one or more items online in 2012! So how can you cash in?

Having an online store you will guarantee that you reach a much wider and varied clientele. A recent survey by Lab42 Market Research revealed that:

  • 73% of online shoppers do at least half of their shopping online.
  • 66% prefer online shopping to store shopping.
  • 4 out of 5 online shoppers feel they have access to a broader selection of items online.
  • 45% of shoppers bought items online that they would not have bought in person.

If you have competitors (who doesn’t?), odds are that they already have an online presence. If you find them on Google your potential customers can find them as well. Make sure that your business turns up and stands out online. It’s relatively easy, inexpensive and quick to set up a basic fully functioning e-commerce site. The top e-commerce software packages come with all the features you need to set up an online store with a mobile version to boot and various options to help spread your online presence with social media. So if you are technically proficient, you can probably set up an e-commerce site on your own. If not, you will probably need a web developer to get your online store up and running.

What do you need?

A domain & Hosting Plan
The domain name should be as similar to your store as possible. Domains usually cost between $10 and $15 a year and can be purchased from several online registrars. Hosting plans generally cost between $4 and $6 a month. There are hundreds of hosting companies. Choose one with good customer service and you’re in good hands.

Shopping Cart Software
There are dozens of free shopping cart software packages. The packages that are most commonly used have the most features, better online assistance and helpful user forums. Magento, OS Commerce and Open Cart are just a few examples of widely used e-commerce platforms. E-commerce platforms also have a built-in option to hook up to various payment gateways. Most small businesses start off with PayPal as it is the simplest and safest payment method. Once your site reaches a high rate of sales you might want to consider other payment options such as direct credit card payments.


Once your system is ready, you will need to insert images of all your products – with a digital camera or smartphone this should be a breeze.


Content is King
You want potential customers to find you by searching online for products that you can provide them with. Search engines like websites with compelling and relevant content so it is well worth your time to write good descriptions of your store and your products. The content you write must be authentic and not copied from a similar website. In order to stay on top of search engines, your website has to constantly be updated with new content. The best practice for writing about your store items is to use a short yet catchy headline in order to capture the attention of the reader. After that, use a professional yet conversational tone to further describe your product using as many key words as possible. There are professional content writers and bloggers who can be hired to perform this task. As we mentioned in the first section, online shoppers often end up buying products they hadn’t intended on. Good content and exciting images are the best way to draw shoppers to new and unexpected products.

Social media
Once you have customers, they can help promote you by liking a Facebook page dedicated to your store and by clicking on share, tweet and other share buttons that you can easily display on your site. Your Facebook page can contain coupons and information on new products that will encourage customers to visit and revisit your site.

In this day and age e-commerce sites are a must, especially for small businesses. As long as you put together a quality, customer friendly site you are guaranteeing an additional source of monthly income. If you already have a site, make sure to keep it up to date and interesting as well as offering the same kinds of promotions you would in your brick and mortar site.