The hardest thing about a new e-commerce website is nearly always about calculating shipping charges. computerjazz.net has been building e-commerce websites since the dawn of on-line selling in the 1990s and shipping always ends up being the main drag.
Having said that there are literally hundreds of thousands of e-commerce websites that are doing a roaring trade so shipping can obviously be done correctly with some forward thinking.
When it comes to shipping there are a few things to consider:
1. You will need to be prepared to win some/lose some on shipping as it is close to impossible to weigh and measure every single product plus packaging in advance especially as many products you may not keep in stock and will order from your supplier after receiving an on-line order.
2. Prepare to adjust shipping across the board. i.e. after one month of trading you can work out if you are ahead or losing money with regards total shipping charges - you can then adjust shipping costs across the board to balance things out in the next month.
3. There are measures to learn and practices to employ to minimise the risk of fraudulent orders i.e. orders from stolen credit cards.
4. Even when practising extreme diligence there is always a chance of a charge back. You can reduce charge backs dramatically through a variety of practises, but when a charge back does come, and one will come in eventually, the on-line retailer has to take it on the chin, think of it in the same way retailers deal with shop lifting, and then further tighten up the processing of orders.
5. There are measures one can employ to reduce fraudulent orders - one is that if there is a suspect order for any substantial amount from someone who has never ordered before - you can always contact the buyer and advise them an EFT is required due to policy on new orders above a particular amount because of a recent spate of bad credit card orders.
6. There are specific ways of identifying fraudulent orders and mitigating them in a customer friendly manner. computerjazz.net works directly with our on-line store clients to help them fine tune these processes to keep charge backs to a minimum while still maintaining friendly customer care and service. The idea is to retain buyers for the long term so that they have confidence in your outlet - return customers are what we are driving for.
These points are important to digest and consider before launching a new on-line store.
If you think that you are not ready for on-line sales WooCommerce, for example, can be launched in "Catalogue Only Mode". This way you are advertising all of your stock, including pricing, but the "Buy Now" buttons are disabled. People will have to call, email or come in to your location to make a purchase. This may be annoying for the "I want it now" crowd but it still advertises your range and then when you have enough stock displaying on your website and are ready with your shipping pricing, logistics and order processing "Catalog Only Mode" can be turned off and you can launch taking on-line orders.
If you have read this far then you can understand that pre-planning is needed specifically for: Shipping Costs and Order Processing.
As far as the cost of launching a WooCommerce wesbite it will depend on a number of factors, i.e. whether you go with on-line ordering or catalog only to start with as there is considerable time in setting up shipping and payment options. (This can be done later if you go with catalog only)
Installing WooCommerce can be done in a few minutes however what takes time are things like:
- Add brands and brand logos.
- Setting up product categories and sub-categories.
- Setting up side columns - related items, product search filters etc
- Adding the actual products (lots of copying and pasting and Excel file importing routines)
- Adding product options i.e. - Colours: Black, red, etc Sizes: s, m, l, xl,xxl etc (Once setup they can be applied to many products)
- Adding pricing where options change the cost i.e. where selecting Silver Platig increases the price above nickel plating.
For ideas on pricing check out these WooCommerce packages on the computerjazz.net website: