You have questions about eCommerce, we have answers. 

Whether you’re a newbie or veteran to online selling, here is what you need to know to successfully navigate the changing eCommerce landscape. 

We will be updating this blog with more information as things continue to evolve. Additionally, ShipperHQ will be hosting a live Twitter Q&A session for merchants on Monday, March 23rd at 2pm.

Watch our handle @shipperhq for more details!

I’m new to eCommerce but want to get an online store up ASAP. What do I need to do?

1. Search for your domain name

Make sure it matches your company name as much as possible. Before you purchase it, double check that the eCommerce platform you work on doesn’t automatically give you the option to buy and configure your domain for you.

2. Select an eCommerce platform

This is how you build out your website and manage your store’s information and pages. For the quickest turnaround possible, we recommend BigCommerce, Shopify or WooCommerce.  

3. Choose a website theme

This will determine how your store will look. You can either work with a free theme on your site, pick a paid theme or develop your own. Working with one of the pre-built themes from your platform is the fastest option. 

4. Create product pages

This is where you’ll spend most of your time. You need to pick product names, write product descriptions and shoot professional product photos to entice your customers.

5. Build company pages

Highlight a few of your most popular products on the homepage along with a call to action above the fold. Write a compelling About Us page that includes your company values and milestones you’ve achieved. Make sure to also add a Contact Us page with your phone number, address and a contact form. 

6. Determine your shipping strategy

Figure out how much you want to charge for shipping on a product level, geographic level and even customer level. You also need to determine what type of delivery (ground, two-day) and carrier options (UPS, FedEx) that you want to offer at checkout. If you want a more custom configuration outside of what your platform provides, shipping management software like ShipperHQ can help.

7. Pick a payment gateway

This is how you will get paid. You will need to edit the payment settings on your account, including banking account information and the name that appears on a customer’s billing statement. We also recommend setting up Paypal as another payment option since not all customers want to enter their credit card information all the time (especially on mobile) 

8. Set the right product prices

Your customer wants to know they are getting the best deal. Compare prices with your competitors just to make sure you’re charging a fair price point. You might be able to stretch a bit if you’re delivering something of higher value. 

9. Get your SSL Certificate

This allows you to say your site is extra secure and is now standard for anyone who handles private information like email addresses. Depending on what platform you work with, this might be pre-built with your store. 

I don’t want to build out a site myself. What web developers / design agencies do you recommend using?

We partner with quite a few agencies that specialize in building out websites for merchants. You can browse through our agency partner list via the ShipperHQ Marketplace.

Amazon recently announced a suspension of inbound deliveries on non-essential items. What tips do you have for future and existing shipments?

Your best bet is to start fulfilling items yourself, if you sell items outside the following categories: baby products, health & household, beauty & personal care, grocery, industrial & scientific and pet supplies. You will also want to switch your status in Seller Central in Amazon from FBA to FBM (Fulfilled by Merchant) to do this properly. 

Batch shipping is the biggest time-saver here, which allows you to print multiple labels at once. It’s also important to set up alerts that let you know an order is created or ready to be shipped out to a customer. 

What delivery options should I provide at this time?

Outside of standard shipping from carriers like UPS, USPS or FedEx, we recommend also setting up curbside / store pickup, local delivery and same day delivery to service customers in your own area. 

For more information on all these options, particularly how to set them up in ShipperHQ in less than five minutes, you can check out our guide here.

What are the shipping speeds of the most commonly used domestic services?

  • FedEx Ground and UPS Ground – 1-6 business days for contiguous US, 3-7 business days for Hawaii or Alaska
  • UPS 2nd Day Air and FedEx 2Day – 2 shipping days, but no guarantee outside of this
  • FedEx 2Day AM and UPS 2nd Day Air AM – 2 day delivery before noon on the second shipping day
  • Media Mail (USPS) – 2-13 days depending on the shipping zone
  • First Class Mail and Priority Mail (USPS) – 2-3 business days, depending on the shipping zone
  • Priority Mail Express (USPS) – 2-3 business days, depending on the shipping zone

What should I consider when setting up curbside delivery or store pickup for the first time?

You need to create realistic pickup time frames, taking into account manufacturing or production time if necessary. Additionally, you want to make sure you’re always up to date on your inventory so customers don’t place orders for goods that aren’t actually available. 

This might sound obvious, but you need to make sure pickup instructions are clear – through your communications with customers post-purchase and when they arrive at your store. 

You might even want to create a makeshift pickup counter outside of your doors if you don’t have space inside.

For more tips about curbside pickup, read our blog on transitioning to store pickup

I’m currently using ShipperHQ. How can I get store pickup added to my account?

For those of you looking for a quick solution, we are offering current ShipperHQ customers not already using Store Pickup FREE access to the feature for 3 months. No plan upgrades or additional fees required. 

We’ve helped several companies, including Gertrude Hawk Chocolates and Seybert’s Billiard, get store pickup added to their checkout in less than 48 hours. We’re happy to do the same with your business, if you’re interested. 

Contact our sales team for adding Store Pickup or more information.