Having your own eCommerce website can be wonderful supplemental income to your 9 – 5. Customers pay you in advance for items showcased on your site and you ship it to them at wholesale prices. It’s a lot of work for the initial setup but if you can get rolling with traffic and customers – or better yet repeat customers – then the process can be as simple as sending an email to your supplier. So what steps do I need to follow to create an eCommerce website with little money?
Order Your Domain Name
This is the www for your site and this will cost you annually. Typically .com’s are around $14.99 a year while newer extensions like .clothing or .shop will cost more. This will depend on what you want to call your website.
Order Your Website Hosting
Another cost but definitely necessary to have your website online. I’d recommend staying away from the ridiculously cheap hosting companies but let’s say you order one for about $10/month or $120 for the year. Many of the cPanel hosting companies include one click WordPress installation and email hosting so you don’t have to use your personal Gmail account when emailing customers.
Getting a SSL Certificate
A SSL Certificate is absolutely needed to process credit card payments online. Without this your customer’s credit card information can be easily seen. Some hosting companies, based on your plan, may include one to three certificates. If you’ve gone with one of these hosts then there is no additional cost.
Order SSLs also varies in price. Let’s say you order one domain SSL that works on www or without and has a $10,000 warranty. This would cost you around $30.00/year.
One thing to note when ordering a SSL is to ask if the certificate is SHA-1 (shaw one). SHA-1 are considered basic SSLs and companies like Google and Stripe (we’ll get to them in a minute) are requiring certificates with higher security.
Getting an eCommerce Theme
Your eCommerce theme will be the aesthetics and layout for your site. If you’re testing the waters and want to keep this side project inexpensive you can download free WooCommerce themes like Storefront or Mystile. Otherwise search for premium WooCommerce themes and you’ll find a number of sites that sell premium themes anywhere from $30 – $100.
For this example let’s say you choose the Storefront theme. Remember you can always update your theme at a later time.
Getting a Credit Card Gateway
Your credit card gateway is how your customers cards will be charged. New installations of WooCommerce come packaged with the option to include Stripe or PayPal powered by Braintree. I’ve used Stripe for a while and really like it so my recommendation is Stripe.
Stripe is a free setup and only charges you the industry standard 2.9% + $0.30 per successful card charged. All Stripe needs from you is a little bit of information and a bank account to send your profits.
Getting Your Wholesalers Account
Reputable wholesaler websites can be difficult to find. Try searching for brand + wholesale, brand + drop ship or product category + wholesale.
Wholesale suppliers require a bit of information from you and a credit card to keep on file.
There are a few, well-known, websites that charge a one-time fee for access to their drop shipping list. While I haven’t used them before they seem very reputable. Websites that require a monthly fee to have access to their drop shipping list may be middle men that just take your money each month.
Try to find suppliers and manufactures directly.
Setup and Launch Your eCommerce Website
The next steps can be tedious – as I mentioned earlier. Depending on how many products you have you may be importing products, images and descriptions for a while. WooCommerce has an product import method so you can upload a spreadsheet if you’d like to create that.
Adjust the WooCommerce settings based on what you’re selling, where you’ll ship to, and how you’d like the store to appear. Don’t forget to set your credit card gateway to live so you can collect payments and tell your friends so they can shop your inventory.
eCommerce Website Total Estimate: $135 – $216
Do you think a WordPress eCommerce website is for you? Do you already have one? Leave a comment on what you’d like to sell or already do.