Turning your ideas into a real business is the quintessential dream. One day you’re doing the standard 9-5; the next day you’re your own boss. You’re the master of your own destiny, setting your own fate.
Put it like that and it still is more dream than reality. Building a business is hard work, perhaps harder than your old 9-5. And while the internet has shrunk the globe and made it possible to sell to anyone, anywhere, it hasn’t yet simplified business law and angry customers.
It takes more than just a dream to start a store. It takes a plan, some tools, startup capital, and the skills to juggle half a dozen hats.
Which is why we wrote The Ultimate Guide to eCommerce Software.
eCommerce seems like it takes the hardest work out of starting a store. Instead of renting a storefront, with a few online accounts and perhaps $20 you can start selling stuff online.
Yet it’s not quite that easy. You’ll still have to actually start a business, then choose how to sell your products, and pick the tools you’ll use to list products, accept payments, manage shipping, and more.
We’ve done the research for you. In The Ultimate Guide to eCommerce Software, you’ll find a step-by-step guide to starting a business, opening an online store, accepting payments, managing your orders, and much more. It’s the reference guide you need to start your first online store—or take your existing eBay and Etsy shop to the next level. And it’s free!
Here’s what you’ll find in the book:
How to Start Your Own Business
First things first: you need a business. Even if you’re selling online, you still need a company name, some capital to get started, and will likely want to form an actual legal business.
This is perhaps the most tricky part, far more complex than just signing up for another app. That’s why we take you through it step by step. You’ll go through the questions you need to ask yourself before starting a business and learn the most common types of small businesses. You’ll learn what you can do yourself—and where you should get help.
It’s your first stop on the road to running your own business.
→ Read Chapter 1: 3 Things You Need to Know Before You Start Your Own Business
Choose Where to Sell Your Products Online
With that out of the way, it’s time to put this new business on the web. But where will you sell your products?
See, you don’t have to open your own online store. You could instead list your products on a marketplace like Amazon or eBay, for an easy way to market to an existing customer base. And even if you do open your own store site, there are a wide range of eCommerce platforms–from simple tools for selling a couple items all the way to self-hosted eCommerce platforms where you can customize everything.
Chapter 3 will help you decide which is best for your business.
→ Read Chapter 3: How to Sell Stuff Online: The 7 Best Places to Start Your Online Store
Open Your Online Store
Decided that you do want your own store? You’re in the right place. Chapter 4 dives right into everything you need to setup your store. It goes step by step through starting a store with Shopify and WooCommerce, the most popular hosted and self-hosted eCommerce platforms on Zapier. And it’ll only take an hour or less.
Want a different app for your store, perhaps a simpler tool or something that fits into your existing website more easily? Chapter 5 gives you the pros and cons of the 20 best eCommerce apps, so you can pick the best option for your store. There’s an eCommerce platform that fits every need—and you’ll likely find the perfect tool with the features you want.
→ Read Chapter 5: The 20 Best eCommerce Platforms to Start an Online Store
Decide How to Get Paid
There’s only one more thing you need to start your store: a payment gateway. It’s impossible to accept cash on your online store, but that doesn’t mean you have to only accept basic credit cards. With the payment gateways you’ll find in chapter 6, you can accept payment almost any way you want: via bank transfer, Bitcoin, credit card, and even from mini-marts, transit cards, and other localized payment options. It’s the best way to make your store friendly to customers around the world.
Build Workflows and Find Tools to Streamline Your Store
Setting up your store is only the beginning. You’ll still need to list your products, ship orders to customers, manage inventory, and resolve issues whenever your customers have trouble. And you’ll want to keep your store looking bright and fresh to keep people interested in your products.
For that and more, chapter 7 lists the resources you need to use daily, weekly, and monthly to keep your store running. It teaches you how to manage orders and support your customers, and this chapter also lists where to find themes and add-ons for each of the eCommerce apps listed in chapter 5. It also shows how to build your own automated workflows, so your software can do more of the work and you can spend more time building great products and taking care of your customers.
→ Read Chapter 7: How to Run a Successful Online Store
With those tutorials and the extra resources you’ll find in them, The Ultimate Guide to eCommerce Software gives you everything you need to make your first online store a success. No matter which eCommerce platform you plan to use and what you want to sell, it’s a reference guide you’ll find handy whenever you need to customize anything on your store.
Learn More from Zapier’s Other Books
Don’t stop there. Zapier has free eBooks that can help take your business to the next level, whether you’re running an online store or working in any other business. Here are some great ones to start with:
- Want to build a custom tool for your team or just need to crunch some numbers? The Ultimate Guide to Google Sheets gives you a crash course into getting the most out of spreadsheets.
- Need help taking care of your customers? The Ultimate Guide to Customer Support teaches you how to handle the most difficult customer situations and gives you the apps to make customer support a bit easier.
- Trying to spread the word about your products? The Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing Apps details the best practices for sending out email newsletters and drip messages and helps you find the best format for your emails.
And on the Zapier Blog you’ll find new articles each week about the best apps, productivity tips, workflows, and more. They’re the tools you need to take your work to the next level.