White Paper Abstracts
Following are some selective abstracts for the white paper on a few select topics:

Site Design

Another important factor to take into consideration is how you are going to design your site. This can add to your costs and time to go live. Most platforms come with ready-made themes that you can choose from.

Unless you have very specific design requirements, it is recommended that you pick a platform that has a ready-made theme that you can use as “straight out of the box” as possible. If you still have to pay a designer to design a custom theme for you, this is going to add weeks and thousands of rands on to your set up costs. Furthermore, this is something that you can always change / enhance at a later stage i.e. rather get your store up and running ASAP, prove the viability of your business and then once you have some sales history, invest time in making your site look exactly how you want it to look. Therefore when you choose a platform make sure there is an existing theme that you can use, ideally with minimal changes. Normally if you are comfortable with the general layout of the theme, it is relatively easy to add your logo and change the colour scheme.

Third Party Plugins/Apps

Once your store is set up, often you will want to add additional functionality that does not come standard with your store. This could be to add customised invoicing, to get your products listed on a price comparison site or a tighter integration with your accounting system. Probably one of the most important categories of plugins or apps to look at is tools that will allow you to market your store.

It is good to have an idea of what enhancements you may want for your store upfront so you can select a platform that best caters for these requirements.

Payment Gateways

Payment gateways come in many different types. Broadly speaking there are two different types – onsite and offsite. Onsite payment gateways are where the buyer never leaves your site in order to make payment. Offsite payment gateways require the buyer to be passed over to the payment gateway’s website, they complete payment and are then passed back to your online store. There are pros and cons to both approaches ...

Logistics

One of the reasons why Amazon.com is so successful is because of their relentless focus on fulfillment and logistics. If you are to have a successful eCommerce operation, you need to ensure that your logistics are handled professionally and efficiently. One of the most important aspects to this is communication, communication, communication. You need to ensure that your customers are kept up to date with the status of their order (rather over communicate than under communicate). If the status of a customer’s order changes, notify them by email and/or sms.

Marketing

Once you have chosen your platform, figured out what payment gateway you are going to use, set up your logistics / fulfillment, loaded all your products and launched your web site, you could have the best solution in the world but now your real challenge starts – you need to market your site and get customers to it that are likely to convert to buyers.

Some things to take into consideration that can also affect the platform you choose to go with are:
  • Ability to integrate with other marketing platforms such as price comparison sites and online marketplaces.
  • Search Engine Optimisation capabilities.
  • Analytics tools to manage PPC campaigns using marketing platforms such as Google Adwords and Facebook.
  • To get a full copy of the white paper make a request from the home page.