If you are planning to open an eCommerce store, please consider to think small.

Why?

First, let me tell my story. I am embarrassed to say that I have started an eCommerce store before, and I failed.

Why I failed? Because I took ‘think big’ principle a bit too far.

I open an online natural remedy store on my own – I use Joomla! CMS, I buy a professional template, I buy a premium shopping cart script, I partner with a dropshipping company, and I purchase SSL to secure transaction. I do SEO, marketing, promotional campaigns myself.

All is text-book, what-should-be-done, and best practices. I think big – I envision my eCommerce store to run, grow and make me some money online.

I turned out wrong – my hosting company performance is lackluster, and the SSL I bought is collecting dust. In fact the whole website and business concepts I have are collecting dust!

I have invested thousands of dollars, and I can never be able to recover my investment. I learned the hard way that start small, simple and ‘light’ are the best way to ace in eCommerce.

Think small, act big with hosted eCommerce

One of the small, simple and ‘light’ steps that I should have taken that day is having my eCommerce store hosted by a professional eCommerce hosting service provider.

A hosted eCommerce service provider is a company offering you the ability to host your online retail store, as well as the tools to manage your back-end operation.

I found that Shopify is one of the better hosted eCommerce services on the Net.

For a small sum of money per month, even for free, you can host your eCommerce store at Shopify, and stop worrying about SEO, web hosting, bandwidth and security issues. you can start focusing on your business – something that I failed to do before.

You might think, “monthly fee? I don’t like it. I’ll start on my own, on a tight budget, immediately!” – I recommend you to rethink your online business strategy and highly consider the overheads, in term of money and time, to run on your own. Especially if you are not an experienced eTailer or programmer/designer.

Shopify offer you a simple and fast process, from sign-up to up-and-running eCommerce store. Ready made templates, loaded shop features and store management help you to start your business immediately.

Even if you don’t like the ready made design, you can always hire a designer that Shopify can recommend, or go DIY. In my opinion, the stock designs that Shopify include to each store is better than most eCommerce store design on the Net.

If you are interested in offering the hosted eCommerce service to your clients or collegues, Shopify Affiliate Program allows you to do just that. Shopify offers you 20% revenue share for all eCommerce systems created.

And no, I’m not their affiliate – so you can trust me on this :)

How to make more money online with hosted ecommerce

To help you start your hosted ecommerce store with the right tools and the right mindset, I offer you the following tips:

  • Don’t DIY your design
    No matter how good you are at designing, unless you really know what you are doing, it is better that you hire a designer. Your website is your store front – you could design beautifully, but can you balance usability and accessibility well?
  • Secure your transaction and customer information
    Securing transaction and customer info are tough tasks. You need all the help offered, but you must consider your resources. A good protection, like HackerSafe, can cost you thousands of dollar. I suggest you to start small with an SSL.
  • Start small and build gradually
    Take the free or basic plan first. After you gain enough visitors and customer base, consider going to a more advanced plan, that offer more options and power to your store.
  • Focus your effort on product management
    Don’t let your customer visits your website just to know that the product they are looking for is out of stock. I think it’s better to have your out of stock products unlisted, and relisted later on when the stock is available.
  • Look for strong customer support
    Have your eCommerce store hosted means you have no control to any problems related to server and security. Choose hosted eCommerce service provider that offer you outstanding customer support to help you tackle your problems.

Final words – don’t let your inexperience overshadow your passion. Learn well and let the available tools, such as hosted eCommerce, make your life easier.

Ivan Widjaya
Think small, act big