Frequently Asked Questions;
- How can I grow my online retail business affordably and cheaply?
- How do I find a shopping cart website?
- Should I outsource overseas development of my website cheaper?
- Should I use a sell my products online using Amazon or eBay?
- Do I need my own Ecommerce website as well as Amazon?
- How can I get more impressions and conversions on our products?
These questions are the same questions we have asked ourselves and have had asked to us.
If you want to understand more about our Droppable Data Website technology, please make a start here.
If you want to understand more about the technology and vision on how we develop Ecommerce ready solutions far quicker than the competition - take a read here.
How to create an online catalogue for your business at a much lower cost
About this article
The aim of this article is to help businesses looking to sell products online do this affordably and optimally. We will introduce our own Web Data Platform later in the article, but this will help many businesses think about how they can avoid the many mistakes when putting websites online to sell products.
"Necessity is the mother of invention", and this explains how we enhanced our website technology to make our website much more product focused.
Ecommerce solutions that makes sense for your business - simple strategies
If you are a new business
Just get a really simple website online first. It is better to put articles on your website which can draw in traffic over time. Don't focus on spending significant amounts of money on the website. Work on the content can be over many months, part time. Once you are happy with your product catalogue which you are hosting on a reseller platform, then look at enhancing your website.
Payment Gateway Providers
You may have to think about Payment Gateway providers rather than a Merchant Account. Definitely research their terms and conditions, considering penalty fees. One reason to use Payment Gateways is because they are the trusted party in respect of protecting the customer in terms of Payment Card Industry (PCI) standards.
Do we think we can build our own shopping cart, getting more website traffic than the top platforms? Maybe we can, it seems most likely that you will have to host your products on an online shopping platform first. We cannot recommend which ones to use, but common ones are; Shopify, Amazon, PayPal, eBay.
If your business is predominantly selling your products online, you definitely should use a Shopping Cart website BUT be extremely mindful you aren't simply duplicating effort. At Info Rhino, we know how to integrate systems to reduce
Understand the importance of having content online early for SEO purposes
This is perhaps the most under-appreciated facet of using websites for ecommerce purposes, or websites to gain traffic. You must put content online early to give search engines the time to index them. Not only to let search engines index them but to also link to them from different blogging websites and blogging platforms. This will hopefully gain traffic whilst you focus on the storefront/ecommerce platform.
It does not matter about the look too much. Instead a website which contains the correct titles, page links, and content related to the titles will help your website gain authority.
Make sure your website URLs can be mirrored for newer websites - 301 redirects
When you write articles try to use hackable urls. An example is this. somewhere.com/articles/this-is-a-hackable-url. When you integrate a Data Driven website, you may want to redirect old links to the new website page.
Avoid duplication of effort
One of our most common software project tasks is integrating systems. Integrating systems is undertaken when data is held across different applications and databases. The business and customers demands this information is connected and made available. Often this information is combined to enrich the information, other times this is stored in Data Warehouses and made available through dashboards and reports.
Smaller companies may find a lot of their time being spent manually transferring information between systems. An Estate Agent may have to maintain their online property catalogue on multiple applications as the systems haven't been automated.
Minimise Manual Intervention but decide if it is acceptable
Our own Info Rhino website can be manually maintained. We don't have that many products and services, we don't expect millions of customers (would be nice obviously), and we don't expect our content to be constantly updating. Indeed, part of our content marketing strategy is to put articles on websites other than Info Rhino.
Our findigl platform though - absolutely needs automation. The amount of data we handle and process is significant. We will need to monitor content and traffic using analytics to understand this.
How we integrated our services and product catalogue into our Web Data Platform
This is a non-technical description of how we made our website data-ready for products. The key features are to;
- Allow the product list to be saved to the website automatically
- Avoid developing significant code to move data between your Electronic Purchase Order System (EPOS)
- Avoid developing significant code on the website to display products and packages
- Avoid being too dependent on external stock control systems
- Allow our Packages and their products to appear on different parts of the website which are relevant. An example is our "Articles Directory", we can configure our website to include the Articles Package Products on the Articles Directory because it is relevant. Just as we can include our Reports Products on the Reports page.
- Avoid the need to manually add our product list to a custom Page within our Website CMS.
The Middleware focus
Middleware can be thought of as being something between two other things. In technology terms it is an application or process which takes an input and gives an output. A great example would be if you stored your products on Amazon, the middleware would take your products from their API (Amazon Web Service) and save them to your website.
Now, saving your product list from Amazon to your website can involve a lot of steps - some of them completely unnecessary. Indeed, we only really need a few of them. The reason is simple. The website does a bit more work to get the data it expects to receive, and so the need for extra middleware development is reduced. This comparison may help;
- Connect to Amazon API
- Retrieve Products
- Get Packages Data from separate area
- Combine them
- Connect to your website Web API with security token
- Translate the products into the API expected format
- Push the products to the website API
The Middleware approach benefits
In many ways, the middleware approach is almost identical to the traditional non-middleware approach aside from some key vital differences;
- No additional code is needed on our Web Data Platform
- The data is available on disk and can be used by many different applications. Nothing stops you creating an application to publish this to Twitter or Facebook or many other platforms.
- The risk of the website API changing is unlikely to break this feed
- You won't have to pay software developers significant sums of money to integrate different EPOS systems. It simply becomes about connecting to the various EPOS, get the data, transform it, save it to disk
Lowering the cost of ownership with Droppable Data Technology
This is perhaps the most remarkable feature of our Web Data Platform - businesses which are both non-technical and technical can dramatically reduce their cost of ownership using our platform. We have devised an approach to allowing data to be delivered to physical folders, at which point the website will then interpret that data. If the data matches the format expected for products, the website will periodically onboard this information automatically. Extra categorisation can be set up using "Packages" and these packages can be set to appear on specific website pages at the beginning or end of the pages.
The reason this reduces cost of ownership for many reasons;
- Less website skills are needed
- Less data is manually added into the website content management system
- Less development is needed to publish product catalogues to your Ecommerce website
- Your products can feature throughout the website rather than just on a products directory page with minimal effort
- The data can be reused elsewhere
- Engaging expensive software consultancies may still be required but significantly less than for a full Ecommerce platform
- Your main sales platform can be the Ecommerce/Reseller platform and you can focus less on your own website because it represents your product lines
Info Rhino can help integrate your Ecommerce product catalogue with your website
We are experts in connecting systems and their data for reporting and operational reasons. We can write simple applications to get data from different store applications such as Amazon, PayPal, and the like. We can deliver this data in the expected format to ensure it can appear within our Web Data Platform if you choose to use our platform.
Even where you may not choose to use our platform, do consider this approach and we will be happy to help.
If you want to find out more, get in touch with us at https://www.inforhino.co.uk/contact