Setting Up

This is an easy one for Wealthy Affiliate members. Most are using a WordPress based theme for their blogs and niche websites, so they can very quickly use some plugins I will discuss to have their shop up and running literally in minutes...

You have already completed all the setup procedures for your website, and using some special free plugins you can add the features of a shop to that website. It will do all the hard labor for you and track orders, customers, product, etc.

Of course there are other options that you can consider if you want to have a separate store apart from your affiliate marketing website, and I will cover briefly some options out there, but I want to focus for Wealthy Affiliate members on the easiest and fastest way to get their store up and running after I mention them here...

Hosted/Self Hosted Solutions

As a member of Wealthy Affiliate, you can set up your website right here and save additional costs that other store owners will have. This would be a self-hosted website/shop that is not using a framework from a service other than your host SiteRubix and WordPress.

If you decided to go with a hosted service, on the other hand, your shop will be stored on an external website other than your own. The domain may be yours or it may be a sub-domain the host provides you.

In reality this is kind of like adding a profile to a social media site. You will have less work to get it all stood up, but it also means you’ll have a little less flexibility and more expenses likely that will go up as you grow your store.

There is one more consideration about using a hosted service - you do not own the store. Anything could happen and you could lose your entire store in a minute. Using the solution I am going to recommend, you control the store and its data and products, and can back it up and restore it any time.

Here are some of the top hosted platforms:

Shopify

Shopify is by far one of the most popular ecommerce solutions around and is one that nearly everyone has heard of. Like WordPress, it comes with a huge amount of support, plugins and themes meaning that you can tailor it to your exact needs and meaning that there are plenty of ways you can boost your sales.

Some of these plugins let you do powerful things like tracking your visitors and integrating email marketing, or like selling digital products and delivering them automatically. They are handy and help you appear professional to the online shopper.

It does lack some of the customization of self-hosted solutions however. For example, there’s no option to create your own custom checkout page. These limitations may not be apparent at the start, and when they do pop up, you will have to decide if changing platforms is worth the effort...

In terms of products, Shopify can support up to 5,000 different items, which is more than enough for most purposes. The basic Shopify membership is free but you likely will need to pay as you upgrade to more advanced features that you will want. Also as your business grows, your costs will too. Still, it’s not prohibitive.

Bigcommerce

Bigcommerce is hosted much like Shopify and is also suitable for up to 5,000 products. It’s another solid choice but falls a little short of Shopify thanks to a higher price point. Moreover, Bigcommerce is less well-known than Shopify.

This means that it doesn’t have quite the same number of plugins or features. If you want to create a store that is in any way unusual, you should probably check first to make sure that Bigcommerce can support whatever it is that you’re planning on doing.

Bigcommerce has one big advantage though and that’s that it provides excellent support for international payments out of the box. This might be a big deal if you plan on selling to the US and the UK for example and don’t know whether to display your prices in dollars or GBP.

I have stores that sell globally and operate out of Europe and Asia, so it is very important that this feature is included for the shoppers. They may come from Germany (where our company is based) or Thailand (where the sister company is located) to anywhere else between...

There are also some self-hosted solutions other than Wordpress I will mention you could consider...

Magento

Magento is one of the best hosted solutions around in terms of its customization and features and is an excellent choice if you want to build something very unique with lots of power under the hood.

This is the option that the big businesses with lots of money and tons of stock will want to use. If you have aspirations of taking on Amazon (you’re mad), then Magento is the best non-custom-built option.

Magento supports up to 50,000 items and is installed independently from your WordPress site on your server (likely not possible from SiteRubix BTW)...

The downside of this platform is that it’s very fiddly and confusing if you’re a new user. In other words, unless you have a good development team behind you or you’re a developer yourself, you should probably stick with something easier at least to begin with.

And this is where I add a couple of points to ponder:

(1) When setting up your business always think about the ‘path of least resistance’. Don’t make extra work for yourself just because you want the pride of taking the less easy route – it’s not good business.

(2) Focus on keeping your overheads (time and money) low and getting quickly to the point where you can reliably start making money. Don’t let ego get in the way of good business sense!

Now...

That brings me to my recommended solution for Wealthy Affiliate members...

WooCommerce

WooCommerce is the self-hosted option that I would recommend for you. What makes this such a great choice is that it is actually a WordPress theme if you chose to create a totally different website. You just install the free WooCommerce base theme as you would do any other WordPress theme and from there, you’ll have your store!

If you did choose to move to this theme, the store that is created will ‘replace’ the website you already have. You might want to use a subdomain or a separate secondary domain for your shop and create a separate website, then link the two together rather then install the entire theme on your current blog website. Note that even if you do replace your site theme you can still have a blog on the store too.

Like WordPress and like Shopify, WooCommerce has tons of support and an endless number of themes and plugins. This will make running your store significantly easier and makes it another great choice from a business perspective. There are many features you can add to your store using plugins to make your store look professional and unique.

One limitation of WooCommerce has though is that it can only stock 500 items max as of this tutorial and from my understanding. This won’t be a problem for most of you starting out but if you have plans to expand over time it’s something you certainly might want to consider.

In my case, with our stores we are focusing by region so do not envision going over the 500 product threshold in the forseeable future. It is something that I and my partner discussed as we were planning our e-commerce business...

Other Options To Look At...

Volusion

Volusion is a WordPress plugin but I’s also somewhat unique in a number of ways. That’s because it isn’t just an ecommerce but is also an email autoresponder and more. Volusion lets you track our visitors and your leads and see who is looking at your products and who is reading your emails.

Volusion is something that many internet marketer types might feel quite at home with but note that it’s not particularly powerful or feature packed when compared with other ecommerce solutions and is really only suitable for small numbers of products.

MY NUMBER ONE CHOICE FOR WEALTHY AFFILIATE MEMBERS - THE WOO-COMMERCE PLUGIN

On many themes you can simply add the free woo-commerce plugin and using it create store pages on your current website quickly. It is best to check prior to installing and activating the plugin to make sure that you will not break your site.

That plugin will take you through a set up process and within 5 monutes you can have the pages automatically created and added to your website, and then add in your products and payment service (i..e. PayPal)...

For most Wealthy Affiliate members this is the ultimate option I would recommend. It is fast, easy, simple to use and understand, and it plain works (and again, it's free)...




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Recent messages
karden Premium
Dave,

Thanks for taking the time to create this training, you did an amazing job.

I do have a question, maybe you can help. I already have a Paypal account that was previously setup for personal use. Can I use the same account or do I have to create a Business Paypal Account?

Does it cost anything to setup Paypal Business Account?

I am also not sure if I have to setup a Braintree account also?

Sorry for all the questions.

Thanks for all your help it's much appreciated. :)

Ann & Alex
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Labman Premium
You can convert your personal Pay Pal to a business account easily.
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karden Premium
So I do need to have a Paypal Business Account. Correct?
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Labman Premium
Yes, I would recommend that you do that.
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DaveSw Premium
Yes, that is correct...Easy to change over....
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karden Premium
Ok Thanks :)
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DaveSw Premium
Hi Folks! No probs at all, I am glad this may have helped...E-Commerce works, so many are doing it these days, me too! Cheers! Dave : )
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Sophie5391 Premium
Hi Dave, thank you for making this tutorial. i just added the woocommerce plug in, because of my theme it is active as a link, but is very easy to access from my web page. this may seem like a silly question but how do i verify where the funds go, once a client makes a purchase? i found the wording in the setting options a bit confusing, so i wanted to be sure before i added product.... thank you for your help:)
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DaveSw Premium
Hi, Sophie...

When you set up your payment routing system you should be able to check it out to make sure it is working properly. PayPal has a sandbox tool where you can test everything to make sure it is working properly...

If you are using another payment system, I would make a test order just to make sure it all is working OK...Maybe have a friend make the order, reimburse them, and you will know...

We used the second method when testing the Thailand operation out, but for Germany, we used the sandbox testing...Both worked well and we had the peace of mind that all was OK...

When you do this testing, you will also see that the email series is working properly (i,e, thank you and order confirmation, shipping confirmation, update messages, support, etc)...

It is all about the customer experience, and this is an important piece of that...We have also added a checkout process plugin, so the clients can see their progress as they go through checkout (we have to activate this after switching themes)...

Best of luck!
Cheers!
Dave : )
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Sophie5391 Premium
Hi Dave, thankyou for the detailed feedback, I will go through it all again to check it and then test it. That's a great idea... I appreciate you taking the time to respond to my questions.
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DaveSw Premium
Not a problem at all Sophie!! : )
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jvranjes Premium
Dave, a few questions, again. I shall definitely use WooCommerce, so just trying to find a way.

Would it make sense using WooCommerce for selling Amazon stuff (as a start, for one site)? This means I would not need its all features, only some of them. Is there possibility to show updated price?

Product descriptions in such sites are usually short, so can one really rank with it? Earlier you replied to me by saying this was the usual SEO.

Are those pages or posts? If pages, there is a limit of pages in ordinary WP site menu (it is 80, know it for sure, I reached the limit once and could not continue, had to convert pages to posts). How is it with WC site?

Thank you in advance. Jovo
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DaveSw Premium
Hi, Jovo...

Sorry so long to get back to you on your questions, I missed the notification I guess on my email....

I have not tried selling Amazon products using WooCommerce, but I do not see why not...

Here is an article that will give you some insight on options...

https://shopitpress.com/blog/woocommerce-setup/top-3-ways-to-integrate-your-woocommerce-store-with-ebay-and-amazon/

There are add-on plugins that will help you import the data I do know that...I just have not used them (I do not like the commission rates, I know they do build over time and can be significant, but...).

Regarding SEO, yes e-commerce stores typically have short descriptions and the keywords are in the title, the meta description, maybe the tags, and maybe the image information...

Maybe try to link a review article to the WooCommerce product page (not sure if this makes sense over sending directly to Amazon product page), maybe do some testing to see which works better?

On page limits so far no issue at all...We have 140 product pages and these have between a simple product with one item all the way up to 6/7 variations (size or color differences)...

We are in the process of adding an additional 160 items and some of these also have variations (i.e. T-Shirts) so at the end of the day, we will have almost 500 line items...

The other factor with this scenario is that we are adding German translation pages for each item too...That is a work in progress and each dau we are doing 4-5 pages...

With the auto translation tools such as Google Translate that the Chrome browser has, I am not sure this is worth the effort as of now - we will see (we are doing manually ourselves inhouse, after 4 external "experts" screwed the pooch badly for us)...

The WooCommerce product pages are also separate from the normal pages on the theme we use (all we have used to now too), and you manage these separately...There may also be a limit, but so far we have not run up against that (I believe I read somewhere that 500 was the magic number but not positive that is correct)...

I hope this is not too late to make any difference Jovo, and apologize again for taking so long to get back to you!

Cheers!
Dave : )
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jvranjes Premium
Many thanks Dave, no need to apologize.
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DaveSw Premium
Cheers Jovo! : )
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docub Premium
You are 100% correct in your assessment of the potential financial
impact eCommerce is and will have over the next 10 years! If people haven't jumped on the bandwagon already, they soon will and IF they don't, they will be left behind in the dust I'm afraid.

Whether it's Amazon, Shopify, Teespring or an multitude of others. Great training which should open some eyes. Thanks for sharing your thoughts for the community.

To Your Success,
Brian
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DaveSw Premium
Thanks much Brian and I also appreciate you jumping in on some of the questions, no doubt there is a lot to learn from each other...So glad we have an active forum to have this happen with Wealthy Affiliate!

Cheers!
Dave : )
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jvranjes Premium
Dave this is fundamental, many thanks, I did not know anything about e-commerce although this term is around all the time. Have to read again, slowly. Not sure about products, the item 5 above, and also on page 5, Affiliate Products. How does this work?

Who is in charge of shipping? Am I supposed to advertise somebody's stuff and then shipping is their duty?

So this part is definitely not clear to me. What is the difference between Amazon affiliate marketing and this thing? Who gives so huge rates? This is only for digital I assume.
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docub Premium
In one scenario, generally the products are dropped shipped OR the product creator/owner/manufacturer will be in charge of fulfillment (warehousing, shipping, returns, etc).

When the product is purchased form "you", the manufacturer is notified by seller (you) and then packages and ships the items to the customer as directed.

This works well with manufacturers in China and keeps the costs way down..

Brian
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jvranjes Premium
Thank you Brian.

Here are 3 more if I can: a) how do you find product owners/manufacturers, b) how the price is created if you have such a manufacturer, and c) how do you drive traffic to your e-commerce site?
Thanks a lot!
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DaveSw Premium
Hi, Jovo....

I see Brian has already replied, (sleeping here) but let me also throw my two cents in on your questions...

Drop shipping is a term that can be a training class (or course) all on its own.

It involves physical products that you offer on your store...

Essentially you advertise these products in the store and when customers buy, you, in turn, place the order with the wholesale shipper.

The drop shipper takes care of shipping for you from their warehouse. They will ship directly to the buyer that placed the order on your site.

Generally, these companies know that they are fulfilling orders for drop shippers, so will not add in invoices or other advertising to the package...

The advantage of drop shipping is that you do not have to purchase the product, have it shipped to you, receive and store that product, pull it and package any orders, or ship it. It cuts your costs way down...

Also, the buy price you have from the wholesaler is quite a bit less than what you are charging the customer. After expenses, the difference is your profit.

Here is an example of a variation on drop shipping (this is not EXACTLY the same but close)...

I have a friend and soon business partner here in Dubai that has two physical stores that both sell musical equipment and supplies to a hungry audience of musicians, hobbyists, students, hotels, etc.

He also has a department in his operation that handles online sales through their own online store, where they ship or deliver their items to buyers all over the Middle East and North Africa.

That department also adds items for sale on a site similar to Amazon called Souq dot com...This is where the drop shipping similarity comes in...

This online store allows sellers to add their products in one common store site (one store per country I believe), and when purchases take place, orders for his products are submitted to his staff.

Souq dot com does no warehousing, preparing orders for shipment at all...The product owners do this...

My friend's staff packs the Souq order using packing provided by Souq as well as adds in an invoice from Souq (no hint that the product is coming from his store anywhere)...

Souq then has that order picked up and delivers the package using yet another company that specializes in deliveries...

The drop shipping steps are kind of split in this case, but both sides win (also the buyer wins, generally they get some great deals on Souq dot com)...

My friend does a huge markup for the products he offers through that site - I am talking over double what he charges in the store! Not only that, he sells items in packs (bulk) when he does this, so currently he is selling 4 times as much online for double the price!

Note he does have to pay a commission or fee to Souq dot com, but even after this expense, he makes a lot more with his online sales than with his in-line store for the same product.

Now back to regular drop shipping...'

Regular drop shipping is similar except you do not have to worry about packing nor shipping...But that packing and shipping is a very crucial part of the business of course.

You want to deal with companies that know what they are doing and have a great reputation so you can minimize any problems you may have in fulfilling orders from your customers...

Also in my case, shipping times are important, because these days customers are used to getting their orders within a short time, but will understand the longer ship times if the price is right...

In selecting products for my stores, I will see what is selling well on Shopify, Amazon, or eBay and then see if I can source the same product or a similar product using a supplier that will do the shipping and handling for me...

So who do I use for sourcing my products?

I use Ali-Express or Alibaba, but as was pointed out to me by Robert in a comment reply and in training he has on one of his sites, there are also wholesalers outside of China that you can use in addition to the two I mention (on these sites there are mostly Chinese companies)...

Highly recommend that everyone interested in drop shipping have a look his articles on the subject you can find on his website....Robert provides some excellent guidance...

Affiliate marketing of digital products generally provides a high commission, up to 50%.

You can sell them on your store and provide a link to an external sales page or set up a buy button directly on the sales page...

In this case, the developer or author of the product has the delivery system in place, and you get paid after successful purchase and sometimes a waiting period...

Similar to Amazon but better commissions - and you can find decent products to sell using JVZoo or a similar affiliate platform...

Hope this clarifies a bit, please ask away if you need more!

Cheers!
Dave : )
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DaveSw Premium
Hi, Jovo...

Here are some more thoughts in regards to your second set of questions...

a) As mentioned in my first answer, I use AliExpress or Alibaba, and now am looking into USA based wholesalers for the products I see that are selling well on Amazon, eBay, etc.

b) I look at the price offered by such sites compared to the price as indicated on Amazon and see the margin, then make a decision on whether to add it to the store...

c) Driving traffic is done through the tools I mention in the training, i.e. SEO, content, social media sites, and paid advertising...

Cheers!
Dave : )
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jvranjes Premium
Thank you Dave. To c) again. usually I do not see any texts in those e-commerce sites, only pictures. So how do you implement SEO? There is no content. I cannot understand how those sites are ranked.
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jvranjes Premium
Many thanks Dave. Grateful.
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GautamWorld Premium
Learned a lot from this chain of discussion. Thank you!
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DaveSw Premium
Hi, Jovo...

There are some ways to get some SEO juice, i.e. product descriptions (on the product pages, along with a relevant video on the product page, plus making sure titles are annotated correctly (H1 or H2) and images (proper annotation and keywords in the description and alternate title) - all this can be used for the SEO angle...

On the social side we also are linking our Facebook fan pages to the websites and standing up stores on Facebook (also starting groups focusing on the subject/products)...More natural links external to the website from people that have shown an interest...

Add in a blog or review piece on your website, again with SEO focus, start posting articles directly to Facebook, later maybe even do some live streaming, and with all of this, you can attract organic traffic/people doing searches to your site/stores...

Side point...

One of the things we are doing also is promoting offline the site and brand by sponsoring events. Right now our first big event is coming on 4 Feb....

We are providing some sample product and a LOT of beer to a regional professional hockey team in Bayern. In return for the beer, product, and giveaways, we get images, video, and testimonials...

They are going to post the images and videos on their team site (Facebook), while we will post to YouTube and on our fan pages...Win-win for both sides, and this is free publicity essentially...

Based on the fan base, we can expect 5000 to 8000 shares out of the gate, with much more over time...The total cost to us is minimal, we are using in-house assets for the photo and video shoot, our own products we have in hand, and no actors, etc....

Of course, we will also post a blog entry on this event as well, and use SEO while writing it that will attract more folks that are interested in the niche...

Two niche areas we are selling products within our online stores have an almost cult-like following, and I am sure that this will help...

Going back to that sponsored event, it will be repeated on a regular basis with other professional teams in Germany We are hoping that it will be like "Our turn, no, our turn", "Wait, it is our turn," etc...

Cheers!
Dave : )
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DaveSw Premium
Great, Gautam...That is what this place is all about...I learn every day here, sometimes a lot and sometimes a little...Thanks for the words of encouragement! Cheers! Dave : )
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DaveSw Premium
Not a problem at all Jovo, I actually am pretty pumped about e-commerce and I do not mind sharing, and with the discussion I also pick things up I can use as I hope others do... : )
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DaveSw Premium
Hi Brian,

There are so many directions to take this e-commerce thing. In one of my comments to Jovo, I mentioned a friend and soon partner here in Dubai that is selling his products on an online store in a version of drop shipping adapted a bit...

Well, that friend's brother is doing something even cooler...

They have their own complete full-on recording studio in Florida (St. Petersburg near Tampa) where they do live streaming of shows that present new products and ideas...I am talking about a three angle camera capability, high-end microphones, and a beautiful set...

They have a complete staff to man and record their shows, edit and publish (or stream live as may be the case)...

Their shows are also presented in a podcast format and they have a rather large following. They also are working with the television shopping networks HSN, QVC, and I am not sure what others...

They have a website as well and sell the products they present to their following (remember all of the streams of marketing they are using, so it is huge!) through that website, via Facebook, and via the TV shopping networks...

In this scenario, in return for featuring the product and often the developer of the product on their shows, they get a good commission on any sales that result from their clients/followers...

Over time, as you can see they have developed a complete system with multiple ways to get the word out on their own products (yes they also have some brands and sell a bunch of their own stuff too) and on the featured products...

By them appearing on TV regularly on the shopping networks, their brand, reputation, and products get more and more exposure, increasing sales and profits at the end of the day...

On top of everything else, they are nice guys and you can tell in listening to them and watching them...Excellent personalities for this kind of sales...

They are so good that they are now traveling to England, Germany, and Italy to present shows on the shopping networks there...

So my friend's brother? Well, he has built a lifestyle where he is traveling to Europe regularly in first class, owns a horse farm, and lives directly on the Gulf waterfront, and has a beautiful sailboat tied up to his dock!

This, of course, was not an easy task - it took years of work to get where he and his partner are...BUT that is the potential and not only that you can have fun as you create your business...

Cheers!
Dave : )
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jvranjes Premium
Thank you.
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