Basic Information you need to know as an Online Store Owner
SEO-optimized product description – what is there to consider?
If you have an online store, up to 100% of your revenue comes from your product pages! Reason enough to invest a lot of effort in an SEO-optimized product description!
The important thing here is that you look at each product page individually. Even if many products are similar, with copy and change two, three words you will not succeed.
Sell products and services on the Internet via your own online store
Surely each of you has heard success stories of people selling products online and thus boosting sales strongly. This is actually possible and doesn’t have to be much more complicated than creating your own website.
Here too, as in the last article on the CMS-Systems also again a lot of choices. If we leave out the big marketplaces like Amazon, EBay, Etsy, and others, there are again two options for your own online store:
- Install and host yourself
- Select a Software as a Service provider and sell through their platform
Install and Host Online Store Yourself
If you already run a website with WordPress, then you have already created the best conditions to sell products through it as well.
The e-commerce plugin with the most installation for WordPress is called WooCommerce and currently, in early 2020, has a Market share of just under 29%, making it the top online store system available worldwide.
With a few clicks, it is installed and you have an online store, fully functional with inventory, product images, product lists, sorting and filtering functions, shipping rules, variations, and much more.
Especially if you have only a few products and the data for your products do not yet exist somewhere like a database, the beginning is easy. WooCommerce offers the possibility to offer your products for sale over the Internet with very little effort. The fact that the processes are similar to those for putting content or articles online on your website keeps the learning curve flat.
Getting started with your own online store is easy
It is best to start with a rough concept since you know your products and product lines very well. Important at the beginning are the categories: Here you can divide products into logical groups. Mostly, these categories will be used later in the online store as navigation.
If you offer variants, such as clothing sizes or colors, then you can also prepare these variants. This has the advantage that you can then fall back on the variants when creating the products.
Then it’s on to the products themselves. You can easily create products just like you created a blog article or a page for your website. Enter the title, description, and images and upload. Then enter the price, you don’t need much more.
Besides WooCommerce, as with content management systems, there are various options available to you.
If you already have a website based on Joomla, Drupal, or Typo3 you can simply install the best plug-in for your purposes. The vast majority of plug-ins here work similarly to the CMS itself: Products is a kind of special content type that you can manage.
In the case of e-commerce, this content is organized into different product categories. The content itself is a special case, as products need to support functionalities such as price, inventory, variations, etc.
Besides e-commerce plugins for content management systems, there are still store systems that follow the following approach: First and foremost, the system is developed for e-commerce merchants and products. The sale of the products is in the foreground.
Which Online Store Systems are Available?
Notable software packages here are for example Magento with a market share of just under 4%, and OpenCart and PrestaShop both of which have a market share of just over 1%.
These e-commerce platforms were created at a time when content marketing was not as important as it is today. As already mentioned, they focus on products and e-commerce.
Content marketing will be discussed in more detail in another article. For most platforms, there are now plug-ins to offer blogs, videos, and other functions. Overall, they are not as easy to use and offer fewer features and integrations than WordPress with WooCommerce.
I will go into more detail on the topic of integration in a later article, so I will only briefly touch on the subject here. More complex store systems like Magento are perfectly suited for integration with inventory management systems and ERP systems. This allows the inventory to be automatically adjusted online in the store. This is particularly interesting when selling through multiple channels.
Legally compliant Online Store in the D-A-CH region
An important criterion for the use of an e-commerce store is the adaptation for the German market. In any case, make sure that there is a plug-in or configuration to make the sale of products legally secure in Europe and in Germany. With the e-commerce solutions mentioned here, there is always either a plug-in or some kind of configuration package that brings along the requirements for a legally compliant store.
The important thing here is that it is only a matter of functionality, such as the explicit declaration of consent to the GTC before the actual purchase. What content you need to include in the imprint and elsewhere depends on your company.
Online Store and Software as a Service
As already mentioned in the last article on Websites and WebApps, there are various providers in the e-commerce sector who will take care of installation, hosting, and maintenance for you. You can thus concentrate on selling online.
The largest and fastest-growing provider here is Shopify. With a market share of about 11%, the Shopify platform is the largest pure e-commerce platform that is growing in popularity. Functionality is similar and comparable to most store systems.
Advantages and disadvantages are here again similar to the last Article on CMS:
If you host the store yourself, you have full control over your data, all functionalities, and any plug-ins you may need.
An example here from a customer comes from the car and motorcycle parts area: Due to a large number of brands, models, and years of manufacture, many parts only fit some models. Visitors to the store like to search based on their model. For many e-commerce platforms, there is a corresponding plug-in that was developed specifically for the needs of the industry.
An example for another customer was the following requirement: In a B2B store for promotional items, the shipping costs for shipping by pallets were to be calculated directly based on product packaging size and weight.
Such and all other ideas and requirements that go beyond selling standard products can be difficult to realize on SaaS solutions.
The advantage of an online store SaaS solution is mainly the reduction of IT effort. With WordPress + WooCommerce Shop, most of the technical details can still be handled by the CEO and employees with some internet and IT affinity alone.
However, if more complex systems are used, such as Magento, the IT effort should not be underestimated. This is where Shopify and similar solutions score, as they can be scaled as desired without you having to worry about IT.