E-commerce’s rise in popularity has made a lot of dreams come true. It’s also created a bevy of learning resources aimed at helping aspiring owners get started. But there’s no need to be overwhelmed by the wealth of information. Just keep it simple and make sure you’re powering your ecommerce learning spurt with the right advice.
Here are three resources to get started with e-commerce.
Given the internet affords us helpful blogs on niches as obscure as Twitter typos, you can imagine how many solid blogs focus on e-commerce. From social media and customer service to analytics and SEO, success in e-commerce marketing entails an understanding of several nuanced topics.
A Better Lemonade Stand - As A Better Lemonade Stand’s ‘About’ page states, “A business is nothing other than the sum of thousands of tiny decisions, and each one of those decisions is critical to the success of your online business.” The blog more than holds up, offering original, in-depth, quality write-ups on topics that run the e-commerce gamut.
Buffer Blog - Social media is a key component of any e-commerce marketing strategy and there isn’t a better place to learn about all-things social media than the Buffer blog. Don’t expect most of Buffer’s posts to be geared toward e-commerce, but staying abreast with their content will make you a more competent social media marketer.
Zendesk Blog - If you can’t deliver excellent customer experiences you won’t get far in e-commerce. Zendesk is nearly synonymous with customer service and is used by companies around the world. The blog’s content will give you a consistently fresh perspective on consumer psychology, best practices for customer service and plenty of other topics spanning customer service operations.
Moz Blog - Some would say the holy grail of all things search engine optimization, Moz has built a large dedicated following through engaging blog content and industry-leading research reports. If there’s a question you have about SEO, chances are Moz has a post about it. Make sure you also look at the comments following each article. Many experienced SEOs chime in with their own perspectives, providing more food for thought in a realm that rarely has one straightforward answer.
KissMetrics Blog - E-commerce marketing is all about experimentation, measuring efforts, analyzing findings and making improvements. KissMetrics certainly fits the bill, with a header that says: “A blog about analytics, marketing, and testing.” From articles about user engagement, A/B testing, conversion tracking, and anything else marketing, KissMetrics excels at discussing complex topics through digestible language, visuals, and research-driven findings.
One beautiful aspect of the internet is its ability to enable anyone to learn about nearly anything at any time. And as online consumers, our job is made even easier by companies creating high-quality educational videos on wide-ranging topics. Here are three great online learning platforms to leverage in your learning efforts:
Udemy Courses - If you’re determined to start an e-commerce business, but don’t know how to start, Udemy offers a wide range of e-commerce videos, from dropshipping courses to operating on specific e-commerce platforms, all for just $10/month.
Lynda - If you want a deeper dive into e-commerce and don’t mind paying for it, you can sign-up for Lynda.com, which has a great reputation for providing thorough but accessible videos across a deep library. At the time of this writing, over 900 e-commerce videos existed across 29 different courses. Lynda definitely isn’t a free resource ($300/year or 29.99/month), but they do offer one-month free trials to get your feet wet.
Skillshare - Skillshare doesn’t yet have the following of Udemy or Lynda, but they’re quickly becoming an authority in the online-learning space. On Skillshare, you’ll find a nice mix of extremely specific e-commerce videos, such as “How to Sell on Teespring without Paid Ads,” alongside general topics like “Email Marketing: Automate E-Commerce Sales.” Skillshare charges $99 for a yearly membership, which is well worth it if you’ll use the platform.
Many people want to get into ecommerce, but don’t want to go through the long process of designing and coding their own independent sites. For these people, e-commerce platforms have become an incredibly convenient means of ramping up a business operation quickly.
These four top ecommerce platforms provide considerable value to users.
Shopify - Shopify is known for having one of the best e-commerce blogs in the industry, but they don’t disappoint in their plugin options, SEO capabilities or website themes, either. When doing a Shopify review, one additional area where it shines is in offering customized tools for owners to make sites more aesthetically appealing. From conversion marketing options like customized buy buttons to logo branding tools, Shopify allows ecommerce owners to cut a lot of corners without sacrificing brand or design quality.
Magento - Another heavy hitter among e-commerce platform providers, Magento, like Shopify, offers several different pricing packages depending upon a business’ size and needs. While Magento is praised for its intuitive interface and offering the lowest price package of any ecommerce provider with their “Go” plan, they don’t host blogs and only offer SEO capabilities for advanced plans. But from a learning perspective, they run an informative, active blog with plenty of customer case studies, community-driven content and longer-form resources on the latest e-commerce happenings.
BigCommerce - BigCommerce is praised for its drag-and-drop, easy-to-use design settings and inventory management. The platform also makes SEO tasks simple. BigCommmerce, like Magento doesn’t offer blog hosting, but they do run a pretty great one of their own, regularly detailing their own research findings and posting other engaging long-form pieces you’ll often see at the top of the SERPs. BigCommerce has other specific features that are analyzed in this BigCommerce review. With BigCommerce, you can also leverage one of their many third-party apps to add additional functionality like subscriptions, with simple installation.
ShopBase - Asia’s leading e-commerce platform that provides everything needed for making money from selling products online. Merchants using ShopBase website builder tool are able to create their own e-commerce website in only 1 hour and advertise products effectively through the #1 automatic marketing tool Beeketing. What differentiates ShopBase from other e-commerce marketplaces like Amazon is its focus on dropshipping and print on demand sectors, in which sellers acquire traffic by themselves and have orders fulfilled by a third-party company. ShopBase is praised for its affordable pricing plans compared to its rivals like Shopify and BigCommerce.
After recommending these various ecommerce learning resources, I’m also compelled to say that no blog, how-to guide or ecommerce training course will give you all the tools you’ll need to be successful. Why? E-commerce strategies and expertise vary on a store’s niche and business model. There are simply too many variables at play for general advice to translate into your specific success.
The only true way to succeed in ecommerce is to be resilient, learn from your mistakes and diligently research workarounds each time you encounter a roadblock. It’s that behavior that’ll have you being an e-commerce expert about your business, which is all that really matters at the end of the day.
But when you’re starting out, you won’t know anything, which makes these three types of resources an effective way to get started with ecommerce.
These are the core e-commerce tools but there are a host of other tools that can be valuable as you get started. For example, do you need a custom logo? A logo maker tool can be a real asset and can be done cost effectively these days.
Another resource post is by WPBeginner.com that covers a load of details about using woocommerce and dropshipping.