Is your business prepared for the holiday season? Are you offering convenient, easy ways for potential customers to quickly buy your products or services? E-commerce is becoming a crucial component for any retail or service provider’s business. Being able to offer your customers the convenience of being able to purchase products online adds another way to generate revenue, and its importance is only becoming greater. In the United States, the share of e-commerce in total retail sales rose from 11.8% to 16.1% between Q1 and Q2 2020, and e-commerce is projected to steadily grow through the pandemic recovery. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, customers have been more likely to make purchases online rather than in-person. Adding an e-commerce component to your website might seem like a complicated task with many variables and moving parts, but when implemented properly, it can add a valuable component for driving revenue. Take a look at how we added an e-commerce component to the website for the EMMY® Award winning short film Saving Amelia below. This e-commerce portal was integrated to sell merchandise related to the short film, including t-shirts, posters, and other promotional materials.
Setting Up WordPress and WooCommerce
WordPress is one of the most used website hosting platforms, since it allows for a wide variety of customizations, themes, and plugins. The most common e-commerce plugin is WooCommerce, which allows website admins to list products, manage inventory, add payment methods, and more. In this case, we created listings for promotional t-shirts that included variables such as sizes and additional bundled products. At this stage, keeping track of inventory is essential so that you know how much stock you have, and when to order more.
Set Up Credit Card Processing
Stripe is one of the most widely used credit card processing softwares since it offers flexibility when it comes to online payment options. Stripe allows the addition of ApplePay and Google Pay options for customers. If desired, PayPal can also be integrated as well. Best of all, Stripe is a secure payment method. We do not store any credit card information from Stripe.
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Set Up Shipping
WooCommerce allows connection with almost any shipper. We chose USPS to ship within the lower 48 United States. This saves 50% on shipping costs and allows you to print a label right within your store. WooCommerce will also create a tracking number, which can then be sent to the customer so that they can track the status of their order. Shipping can be set up with UPS, FedEx, or nearly any other shipping carrier.
Keeping Track of Accounting Information
If you make the decision to set up an e-commerce store on your business website, you will want to be sure you have a method to keep track of all the financial components, including sales, sales tax, shipping income and credit card processing fees for accounting purposes. By using Zapier workflow automation software, you can connect your online store to QuickBooks so that every order placed in WooCommerce will automatically generate a sales receipt that separates out shipping charges, sales tax collected, and updates the basic customer information. Additionally, the connection creates an expense for the credit card processing fee so you can easily identify the amount paid in credit card fees, print out your sales tax report, and have an accurate account of your income.
E-Commerce Success Stories
No matter what types of goods or services your business offers, you will benefit from an e-commerce component on your website.
We created a store for the Westmoreland Ballet company to sell DVDs of the Nutcracker film we produced for them last year. This was incredibly successful and allowed them to sell and ship copies of the film to friends, family, and anyone who was interested in watching the film anywhere in the country.
Last year we created a complex, custom store for Melone Advertising Client Alla Famiglia, a Pittsburgh-based Italian restaurant. Each year, they sell specialized gift boxes of their sauces, olive oils and other yummy treats. We moved their entire manual order process to an online store and set up a custom integration that allows one customer to order and ship gift boxes to multiple recipients, without needing to create a new order for each recipient. This allows them to input up to ten addresses and ship their orders to all those addresses. Because of this e-commerce integration, Alla Famiglia was able to save hundreds of hours of time during their busiest season and increase their sales. Now, they simply place a label on each box and put it in the mail. Customers ordering online can even add a personalized gift message to each box.
With the right partner, adding an e-commerce component is a simple yet effective way to drive traffic to your website and increase sales. With the upward trend in e-commerce integration, you will want to be sure you are prepared to offer a convenient way for customers to purchase and handle sales increases. Partnering with a digital marketing agency will give you access to a wide range of e-commerce tools and resources to make your business grow.