Step By Step Guide To Becoming An E-commerce Seller

E-commerce website

If you’re considering starting your own eCommerce business, you should have a crystal clear and in-depth understanding of what it takes to be successful as an online seller. Only then can you hope to attain any measure of achievement. Continue reading to find out what you need to launch an online storefront before you go out and buy an array of inventory and a domain name.

Read THE step by step guide to becoming an e-commerce seller, and you will be on the road to online selling success…

Step 1: Your e-commerce niche

When it comes to online sales, the most successful businesses target tiny, niche markets. In online commerce, niche markets are those that don’t have any competing goods or services. If you can carve out a specialised market for your goods, you’ll face fewer rivals, increasing your odds of success. You should look for a market segment that is sizeable enough to support a substantial customer base yet limited in terms of competition. Starting with a product market and narrowing down from there is the best strategy for finding your niche. Finding your product’s ideal market is the first step towards honing in on a certain subset within that market. If your product sells well in its chosen subset of the market, you’ll be able to expand into more lucrative niches and hire additional people to help you out. Your ability to dominate a larger portion of the market increases as your business expands.

Step 2: Your shipping strategy

When it comes to selling online, it’s not just about the major retail chains anymore. Your decision about which eCommerce sales channel to use is crucial. One of these choices might work better for you than the others, depending on your circumstances:

Dropshipping: In the dropshipping eCommerce approach, you don’t keep any stock of the things you’re selling. When a customer places an order on your website, you communicate with the vendor to arrange shipment. Due to the low initial investment required, dropshipping has become a common method of doing business in the online retail industry.

Wholesale: The practice of selling in bulk to merchants using an online wholesale marketplace. The ability to buy things at wholesale prices and then resell them at a higher price while still making a profit is the main attraction of wholesaling. However, you’ll need to put up a lot of capital up front so that you can buy supplies in massive quantities.

Subscriptions: E-commerce stores that specialise in subscriptions typically offer a monthly delivery of a handpicked selection of products. Online courses and private clubs are two further examples of subscription-based enterprises.

Once a distribution method has been chosen, shipping details must be sorted out. Find out if your eCommerce website builder can print shipping labels and calculate delivery fees for your clients. Evaluate your own shipping expenses and determine whether or not certain destinations are out of your price range. Then do your research and find a local shipping company to partner with, that will ship to wherever on the globe your buyers live. This is one of the most important e-commerce business decisions you will make! No online customer will make a return visit to your store if their initial purchase is delivered late and/or damaged.

Step 3: Your business plan

Business plans are written after key decisions have been made, such as the target market and distribution approach. A business plan can be seen as a tool for refining your concepts into a coherent whole. It will determine how you allocate resources and how you approach expanding your consumer base. Financial forecasts (estimates of your price and sales strategy, profit goals, and any investor data), a roadmap, and a mission statement are the standard components of a business plan.

Step 4: Your online store

You’ve identified your target demographic, zeroed in on your specialty, and settled on a product; now it’s time to start manufacturing and selling. It’s time to pick a host and launch your online shop.

  • Choose an eCommerce platform

Those interested in opening an online shop have a wide variety of options to choose from. You can also sell your wares through several different marketplace channels, such as eBay, Amazon, etc, or a selling platform like Shopify or BigCommerce , without having to set up your own website.

  • Set up your own website

You can develop a whole website of your own with a typical website builder like Wix, Weebly, Squarespace, or WordPress; you just need a small section of the site to concentrate on your store’s features.

Step 5: Your marketing

Now that you have your online store up and running, you must devote your full attention to making it a huge success. You need to actively seek out, connect with, and ultimately persuade your ideal clientele. Your product does the heavy lifting of attracting buyers, but it’s your brand’s job to give your product a personality all its own. Branding helps you stand out from the crowd, even if your competitors all provide the same thing. Make sure the marketing materials, product names, and images all reflect what sets your product apart. Making a memorable brand is one way to gain customers without having to rely just on the quality of your offering. Once you’ve settled on a brand strategy, be sure to apply it consistently across the board.

Search engine optimization (SEO), paid search, social media, email marketing, and content marketing are all examples of inbound sales methods that aim to bring customers to you rather than the other way around. You will demonstrate your product’s value to customers by addressing their pain points and improving their daily routines across these platforms. Start documenting your routines and behind-the-scenes activities with regular photos and videos. That way, you’ll have content for your website and social media platforms on hand at all times. Working smarter, not harder, is key when it comes to marketing, maximise the impact of your content by recycling and repurposing where possible. Maintaining efficacy allows you to direct more resources toward developing and perfecting your company’s business plan.

And finally…

By automating the mundane tasks, you and your team will have more time to focus on growing your business, satisfying your customers, and achieving your ultimate goals—whether that’s entering a new market or launching an eCommerce site from scratch.

Posted in Small Business Tips | Comments Off on Step By Step Guide To Becoming An E-commerce Seller

Guide To Creating Packaging For Your E-commerce Products

The closest your company will get to giving your customers a personalised touch is through eCommerce packaging. The best eCommerce packaging combines the appropriate box and infill for the finest unboxing experience. These minor adjustments transform the packaging of your product from a standard delivery to a totally unique one. BUT you need to remember that your shipping and production expenses will be impacted by the eCommerce packaging you use. Weight and price are crucial factors to take into account since when boxes get bigger or the infill gets heavier, the cost of shipping a product can go up. Returns are another way that packaging and filling can affect your bottom line. A well-packed order will arrive undamaged. Damaged products and dissatisfied customers will result from eCommerce packing that can’t withstand the delivery process.

The following is our guide to creating packaging for your e-commerce products…

Bag or Box?

The box or bag that will be used to pack all of your products comes first on the list. When your client opens their mailbox, it will be the first thing they see. If branded packaging produces a memorable experience, it can be worth the cost (especially because some consumers reuse their boxes). Packaging options have expanded along with the quantity and variety of goods supplied via eCommerce.

Cardboard Boxes

For the majority of the business, corrugated cardboard boxes continue to be the preferred packaging for eCommerce. Cardboard is strong, doesn’t significantly increase the weight of your product, and is recyclable. Double-walled cardboard adds an additional layer of strength and protection for items that are extremely fragile or heavy. Sometimes a product is packaged in a shipping-friendly box of its own. But occasionally it makes sense to cap it off with a simple brown cardboard box.

Wallets and Bags

A plastic shipping bag is a wonderful option if you offer lightweight, non-fragile items. Bags and envelopes are compact, self-sealing, sturdy, and lightweight. For sending minor apparel orders, they are effective. Instead of over-boxing a tiny item, you can place it inside an envelope or bag. These mailers have the added virtue of being waterproof.

Padded Envelopes

An effective delivery method for tiny or flat objects is a padded envelope. Some are easier to recycle because they are cushioned with shredded paper. Although less environmentally friendly, padded envelopes filled with bubble wrap are quite protective.

Successful Ecommerce Packaging Relies on Infill:

In order to prevent your products from shifting during delivery, you almost always need to add infill to the boxes you ship them in. Infill provides additional stability and padding to guarantee that your items arrive intact. There are numerous infill options available. One of the biggest shippers in the world, Amazon, combines brown paper and air-filled cushions. There isn’t a single, perfect solution for infill. You’ll need to plan according to your particular merchandise and shipping.

Kraft Paper

One of the most adaptable and flexible materials for package infill is brown kraft (brown) paper. It is simple to crumple it to fit any infill requirement or easily rip it into sheets of any size you require. The fact that Kraft paper may be recycled endlessly is another advantage. Kraft paper requires less chemical input than items made from bleached white paper. You can also find kraft that is manufactured from recycled paper.

Air Pillows

The plastic sacs filled with air known as “air pillows” are becoming a more popular sort of infill. One of the lightest filler materials for eCommerce packaging, they are. Air pillows may be the least expensive option if you’re worried about the weight of your delivery and require a lot of filler. Although they can sometimes be recycled, it’s a sure bet that the majority of them end up in landfill.

Packing Peanuts

The traditional filler, packing peanuts, can be messy and annoying to work with or receive. This can lead to issues with packing and unpacking, and as Styrofoam cannot be recycled, there may also be issues. However, packing peanuts manufactured from corn flour are much easier to discard and far more environmentally beneficial.

Bubble Wrap

The best protection for delicate items is bubble wrap. The bubbles are enjoyable to pop too! Customers can view the bubble wrap infill as more than just packing and more of a bonus. You might want to let your consumers know that many locations that now accept plastic bag recycling will also accept bubble wrap, allowing them to enjoy their popping in a secure, environmentally friendly manner.

Shredded cardboard

Infill made of shredded cardboard is a fantastic way to recycle while wrapping. All you need is a machine that transforms used cardboard into sheets that can be folded into an accordion. These sheets can be used to safely wrap fragile items during delivery. It’s also simple for customers to remove and recycle at the other end.

Finishing Touches for your eCommerce packaging:

Packaging for online sales involves more than just the supplies you employ to deliver products to clients securely. In addition to the contents, what you place inside the box can have a significant impact. Consider it the tangible representation of your brand voice.

Put The Receipt In

Surprisingly, the receipt plays a significant role in the packaging process. Although it frequently goes unremembered, your customers anticipate an itemised receipt for the order. Don’t just attach a receipt; make it stand out. Ensure that it enhances and supports your entire branding. Your receipt can enhance your order with a little imagination.

Apply stickers

Stickers are perhaps one of the simplest and least expensive methods for in-box branding. They can be used to embellish the outside of the box or the carrying bag or to hold down tissue paper around the product. A few extra stickers can be added as a freebie. You will receive free promotion as a result.

Eco-Friendly eCommerce Packaging:

The consumer of today has a wide range of eCommerce possibilities. They want to make purchases from people who share their ideals. Eco-friendly packaging can frequently assist you in demonstrating that common value and culture. But not everybody will be aware of what can be recycled. Include a remark on your label explaining how to properly dispose of the materials if you utilise compostable fillers or components, such as bags made of vegetable starches.

Keep in mind that your packaging and infill are not static. Keep refining your packing methods and supplies. You might wish to update the design and feel of your eCommerce orders as your business develops. You will also have access to newer, greener, and more appealing packaging and infill alternatives as packaging materials and methods advance.

Posted in Small Business Tips | Comments Off on Guide To Creating Packaging For Your E-commerce Products

Things to do for Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day 2023 - Where to go?

Valentine’s Day 2023 is just around the corner! And, there’s still that niggling thought on many people’s minds, “where to go on Valentine’s Day?”

Whether you choose to spend Valentine’s Day with your partner, close friends and family, or just enjoying your own company, we’ve got some ideas for what you can get up to. If it’s a meal in a nice restaurant, an overnight stay, or simply to get outdoors, we’ve got all angles covered.

Things to do for Valentine’s Day

We’re so fortunate to have a great selection of hotels right across the country, and so many of them are ideal to celebrate Valentine’s day. Whether it’s for a romantic getaway, something authentic, or a weekend of luxury, our top 5 picks will have something for you! From the picturesque Lough Eske Castle tucked away from the hustle and bustle, or the Castlemartyr Resort providing a luxurious, relaxing and romantic retreat. For something intimate the elegant Mount Juliet Estate is ideal, or just to unwind and take in the beautiful scenery of the River Shannon, it has to be The Lakeside Hotel & Leisure Centre! Regardless of which one you choose, they’re all sure to leave a lasting impression.

Things to do for Valentine’s Day

For an unforgettable Valentine’s Day meal, one of our top 5 picks should be to your taste! The Dax Restaurant in Dublin is a Michelin-starred restaurant that is ideal if you’re wanting something luxurious and a little special. O’Grady’s on the Pier in Galway is a wonderful option, beautifully positioned with stunning views of the harbour and of course the delicious seafood dishes. For Irish Cuisine with a modern twist, the Lemon Tree in Letterkenny is a great choice. And the Red Bank Restaurant in Carrick-on-Shannon is a cozy spot with a fantastic menu and a warm, friendly atmosphere. Finally, for those wanting a unique dining experience it has to be Paradiso in Cork, offering a fabulous variety of vegetable cuisines.

Things to do for Valentine’s Day

For a romantic and unique escape, why not consider visiting one of the stunning locations around Ireland. There’s so many choices from the breathtaking Cliffs of Moher, to the majestic Rock of Cashel, there is something special waiting to be explored. For a more adventurous outing, you can also explore the Gap of Dunloe or take a trip to Connemara National Park. Each of these stunning locations are just as good as the next, it’s a difficult choice we know!

Whatever you get up to this Valentine’s Day, we hope it’s a great one!

Posted in Ireland | Comments Off on Things to do for Valentine’s Day

6 Things To Look For When Choosing A Courier For Your Shipping

Courier with van

There are lots of businesses that rely on couriers and delivery services to keep their business afloat. Whether they’re delivering to consumers or even other businesses, this requires a timely and reliable courier service provider that will ensure they get their goods in one piece.

But how do you go about choosing the right courier service in the first place?

Well, whether you’re just starting out on your business venture or you’re scaling up and need a better provider, there are certain aspects you should look out for in an excellent courier service.

We’re now going to share these with your below, so you can take these important factors into consideration when setting up your shipping strategy.

Read on to find out more.

1. The services they offer

First and foremost, when choosing a courier for your business, you need to look at the services they offer and whether or not they’re gonna be able to tick all the right boxes. For example, if you need to track all your deliveries, then you need to make sure this is a service that they offer. Otherwise, they are not the provider for you.

There are lots of other services you might require, and in most cases, these will be listed on the company website. But if you’re ever in doubt, it’s best to get in touch with the sales or customer service team to check if they offer all the features you need.

At this stage, you might also wish to determine what is going to be absolutely essential for your business and if there are certain services you could live without. This might factor in later when you are trying to find the right provider for the right price. But we will discuss this in more detail next.

2. Prices

There are loads of costs associated with running a business, so it stands to reason that you want to keep these to a minimum wherever possible. Therefore, when choosing a courier service to ship your goods, you need to choose wisely and ensure that you pick the most budget-friendly provider; without compromising on service, of course.

So as you begin narrowing down the service providers, it’s important to look out for their prices and weigh this up against what they are offering.

Some providers might include prices on their website, while others may require you to speak to a sales representative for a tailored quote. Whatever the case may be, don’t rush this decision and spend some time comparing the different providers until you find the right one for the right price.

3. Speed of delivery

Something else that is going to largely affect the services you choose and also the service you can offer your customers is the speed of delivery.

Today’s consumers are far less patient, and in the era of Amazon Prime, they expect to get their goods quickly. In fact, only one in three (32%) consumers would be willing to wait more than two days for a parcel.

Therefore you need to account for customer demands and make sure you’re offering the quickest possible delivery times in order to keep your customers satisfied.

Of course, there will always be exceptions where rapid delivery is not possible, but it’s a good idea to do some research and find out what the average delivery speeds are and whether they offer any special services, such as same day, next day or overnight delivery.

4. Reviews and testimonials

You might have looked at a courier’s website and been happy with everything you’ve seen online. However, you can’t be sure that they’re going to deliver on promises until you begin using the services.

That’s where reviews and testimonials come in. By looking at feedback from other businesses that have used their services before, you can begin to gauge just how reliable these providers will really be.

There are several places you can look for this information. Specific review sites like Trustpilot and Google reviews make this much easier. You can also check out the courier’s website and social media profiles. This is where people are most likely to share their opinions and experiences with that courier.

Make sure to read a good number of reviews and testimonials before making your mind up. Weigh these up against each other to determine what the pain points are and what the benefits are of using that company.

You should then be able to determine whether this service provider is going to be right for you and your company.

5. Location

If you are running an online search for couriers in a specific area, then it’s likely that Google will only show you relevant results. However, if you make the mistake of being too broad, you might be presented with hundreds of options, but that doesn’t mean they’re all accessible to your business.

So before you spend ages reading up on a great provider, looking at testimonials and deciding if they’re right for you, be sure to check the location and radius they cover with their deliveries.

The last thing you want to do is find the perfect service provider, only to be let down at the last minute when you realise they don’t deliver in your area.

6. Flexibility and scalability

Finally, delivery needs can change at different points throughout the year. For example, it’s very common to get busy over periods like Christmas, and you might find you are sending out a lot more deliveries.

However, there might be other times of the year when you find yourself fulfilling fewer orders and therefore needing less from your courier service provider.

Of course, this is something you can discuss when setting an account and agreeing on a price, but it’s always good to look out for those who offer more flexibility and scalability.

You want them to reflect your business needs so you aren’t spending unnecessary money on a courier service you’re not using, but you’re also not going to find yourself with hundreds of orders that you’re unable to ship out to your customers in the agreed timeframe.

Posted in Small Business Tips | Comments Off on 6 Things To Look For When Choosing A Courier For Your Shipping

Guide To Shipping Unusual Items

Whether you run a business or you’re simply selling belongings that you no longer need, there might be times when you’re required to ship unusual items. These could be large, heavy, oddly-shaped or very fragile, but whatever the case may be, you need to prepare these correctly.

Essentially, you need to make sure that you protect and package your goods carefully. You must also know the correct weight and dimensions of your goods and ensure that they are labelled properly.

This makes it easier for courier services to know what to expect and for their team to manage and handle your packages accordingly. This way, they can make sure your goods reach their destination in one piece.

But if you’re not sure where to start with sending your goods, then this guide is for you.

Below, we’ll offer some top tips and techniques from an expert shipping provider so that you can pack and send your usual items with peace of mind.

Carefully choose the right packaging material

One of the most important parts of shipping unusual items is choosing the right packaging in the first place. There are several things you need to consider at this stage; for example, will you need to use a box, bag or crate as the primary packaging for your items?

Whatever you choose, you need to make sure that your packaging is going to be plenty big enough for your item(s). It’s vital that you don’t cram these in and potentially damage your goods before you even begin.

However, you also need to make sure that the box or bag isn’t so big that your item is not going to slide or rattle around during transit, as this can also lead to damage.

Once you’ve chosen your primary package, you will then need to decide if you’re going to need additional protection, depending on the unusual item you are shipping. Some of the most common and useful materials for protecting your goods include:

  • Packing peanuts
  • Bubble wrap
  • Crumpled paper
  • Corrugated card
  • Foam sheets

These will ensure that your unusual goods sit securely within their box or bag and will add an additional layer of protection for the journey. This is going to be key if you’re shipping something that is fragile or has small, fragile elements to it.

So, the first thing you need to do is determine which primary packaging and additional protection are going to be best suited to the items you are sending.

Always test your packaging

But before you load up your packaging and stick the label on, it’s important to test that it’s going to be strong enough to make the journey in one piece. Therefore, it’s a good idea to always test the strength of your box or bag right away, particularly if you’re sending heavier items (more on this next).

You don’t have to test this with the item you’re shipping if you’re worried this could cause damage. Simply find something of a similar shape or weight and pop this inside the box or bag instead to make sure that it is going to hold out and protect your items during transit.

After all, the last thing you need is for the bottom of your box to give way and your goods to drop to the floor and break before they’ve even reached the courier.

If you’re concerned about the strength of your chosen packaging, you might wish to reinforce this with items such as corrugated card or choose a bigger, stronger box even if this costs a little more to ship.

Packing different items

There are lots of reasons that you might not be able to simply put your item in a standard box or padded bag and send it off.

These items might be deemed unusual and need a little extra care because of their shape, size, weight or fragility. Below, we’re going to look at how to deal with a few specific examples to give you a better idea of how to package your unusual goods. These include:

Oddly-shaped items

If you’re packing an oddly-shaped item, you might find that you’ve had to place it in a box that is much larger than the item itself just because of certain elements on it. For example, if you’re shipping a musical instrument or piece of furniture like a chair.

In these cases, you may need to use padding and additional packaging to fill in the gaps and pad out any additional space within the box. This will help to protect and steady your item during transit.

Heavy items

If you’re packing a heavier item like building materials, stone items or something made of metal, a reinforced cardboard box might not be enough, particularly if these are large items.

In this scenario, it might be worth placing the item on a wooden pallet even if you then put this inside a box. Be sure to strap the item down or tie it to the pallet in some way to stop it from moving around. Alternatively, you could use a wooden crate for packaging heavier items.

It might also be worth adding an additional label to let the courier know quickly that this is a weighty item that requires extra attention.

Fragile items

If you’ve got to send something that is fragile, for example, something ceramic or made of glass, you’re going to need lots of extra packaging elements such as bubble wrap or packing peanuts.

Find a box or bag that the item fits in snuggly but without being forced, and fill the additional space with the aforementioned protective packaging. Be sure to add a label that says fragile to let the courier know that they need to take extra care when handling your parcel.

Dismantle your items where possible

Finally, if you’re able to dismantle your unusual item and package each element separately, this can drastically increase the level of protection during transit. This is particularly important if you’re shipping larger items or those with lots of different parts.

Let’s say, for example, you’re shipping a drum kit. If you send this in one piece, you increase the risk of damage, plus you’ll need a much bigger container to fit in. Alternatively, you can take this apart and wrap each individual element, giving them more protection.

Of course, your ability to take the item apart will completely depend on what it is you’re sending and whether this is practical.

Posted in Small Business Tips | Comments Off on Guide To Shipping Unusual Items

8 Reasons To Choose Irish Parcels

8 reasons to choose Irish Parcels

At Irish Parcels, we provide a fast, reliable and affordable parcel delivery service.

We strive to simplify the shipping process, resulting in both businesses & individuals saving valuable time and money. Whether you’re sending a gift to loved ones or a package to a customer, our service is perfect.

Listed below are the 8 reasons why you should choose Irish Parcels:

1 – Competitive Prices

Offering you competitive prices by comparing multiple couriers. 

Competitive Prices | Irish Parcels

2 – Local & Worldwide Shipping

Whether you’re shipping from Sligo to Sydney, or somewhere in between, we ship to over 200 countries worldwide.

Local & Worldwide Shipping | Irish Parcels

3 – Quote & Book Online

Our website allows you to Quote & Book instantly 24 hours a day,  7 days a week.

Quote & Book Online | Irish Parcels

4 – Pay-as-you-go service

For your convenience, we’re a pay-as-you-go service. Our secure online payment system allows you to pay by credit/debit card with no additional billing or invoicing required.

Pay-as-you-go | NI Parcels

5 – Door to Door Service

Once you book, we’ll collect your parcel and deliver it. Providing an estimated delivery time frame.

Door to Door Delivery Service | NI Parcels

6 – Full Online Tracking

You can monitor the progress of your parcel with our full online tracking.

Full Online Tracking | NI Parcels

7 – Irish Customer Support

As well as our extensive support section online, our Irish customer support team is available should you require assistance. You can contact us via phone, email or online chat.

Irish Customer Support | Irish Parcels

8 – A brand you can trust

At Irish Parcels, we’ve been trusted by thousands of businesses and individuals across Ireland, and currently, we are rated EXCELLENT 4.8 out of 5 with

A brand you can trust | NI Parcels

Get an instant quote here.

Posted in Ireland, Irish Parcels News | Comments Off on 8 Reasons To Choose Irish Parcels

4 Payment Processing Options For Online Businesses

There are lots of reasons to start and run an online business. It can help to eliminate some of the costs associated with having a brick-and-mortar business, it opens you up to a much larger customer base, or you could just use this to support sales alongside a brick-and-mortar shop.

Of course, there are lots of important aspects to consider when setting up an online business, such as web design, branding, how to market your products or services and shipping options. However, arguably one of the most important things is getting the right payment solutions in place so you can actually take payments.

After all, without this, how are you going to make any money?

Not only this, but today’s consumers are used to having multiple options when it comes to payment. They like to pay quickly through online portals without having to search for their card in their bag. They also like options such as buy now, pay later or the ability to pay in monthly instalments.

However, it’s worth noting that not all payment processing platforms were created equally, and they often serve different purposes. Therefore, you need to choose the option that is going to be best for your business and your customers.

If you’re not sure where to start or how to meet customer demands, you’ve come to the right place.

In this guide, we are going to look at four top payment processing options you could choose for your online business, weighing up the pros and cons of each to help you make an informed decision.

Let’s get started!

1. Square

Square is one of the easiest out-of-the-box payment solutions you can use. It is also one of the most complete, offering a huge range of online payment tools for free. That is if you don’t want to upgrade to the paid plan.

And even if you do decide to upgrade to the paid plan to access the extra features, you are not tied in by a contract, which is great news.

Some of the key features of this platform include a payment gateway, links, buy buttons, click and collect options, invoicing and recurring payments. Best of all, you can integrate Square with lots of other partner apps, such as accounting software or takeaway platforms, depending on the needs of your business.

In terms of cost, debit and credit card transactions have a fixed rate of 1.9% per online transaction, which is pretty reasonable. Though for non-European cards, these charges are slightly higher at 2.9% per transaction.

The slight downside is that these fees are non-negotiable unless your business is turning over more than £250k a year -which is a lot of money! Not only this, but customer support is only available on weekdays, which can be problematic if you get into a spot of bother over the weekend. After all, most online businesses are available 24/7; they don’t shut down at the weekend.

2. PayPal

PayPal is probably one of the better-known payment processing platforms out there, as it was one of the earliest innovators in this field. Often, the familiarity of the brand can be reassuring to customers, and they feel safe making an online payment in this way. Not to mention that most people already have a PayPal account set up, making it very convenient.

It’s free to sign up to PayPal as a business, and there are some features that are free to use without upgrading your account. These include an integrated checkout, payment links, buy buttons, QR codes and email invoices.

However, this is not the cheapest platform when compared to others on the list. For advanced features such as virtual terminal and advanced checkout solutions, it’s a monthly fee of £20 a month. Plus, transaction fees for the standard features are set at 2.9% + 30p. Cross-border fees include an additional 1.29%-1.99%. Those with a monthly turnover above £50k can negotiate to get better fees.

As this is an online portal rather than a bank account, money is paid into your PayPal account when someone buys through your site. This can then be transferred across to your bank account in just a day or two.

3. Worldpay

Worldpay is a solid payment processor that has been trusted by thousands of businesses for decades. In fact, as much as 40% of all card payments made in the UK go through this processor, making it the industry leader.

One of the biggest selling points here is that in order to sign up, you must have a conversation with a Worldpay representative. They will tailor your quote based on your sales volumes and the type of business you have. This is ideal for getting personalised rates rather than generic monthly fees and saving your business money.

There are two different types of contracts available, either long-term or 30-day rolling and businesses are given their own merchant account. This means that Worldpay is regarded as more reliable than some of the other platforms on this list.

Transaction fees are competitive, though a continued online turnover of at least £2,000 a month is required. This can be trickier for smaller businesses just starting out. As such, this is often a better platform for more established brands.

4. Stripe

Last but not least, we have Stripe. This is a huge international platform which is popular with businesses of all sizes, from startups to high-growth organisations. Stripe accounts are really easy to set up online without any fees, and you are not tied into any contracts. It also integrates well with other popular e-commerce platforms, such as Squarespace.

Some of the key features include a payment gateway, payment links, buy buttons and virtual terminals. Through Stripe, you also have the option to use payment solutions such as subscriptions.

Stripe’s payment system is scalable, which is great for growing business, and it offers effective sales reporting and fraud prevention tools. Another key selling point is the competitive card transaction fees, starting as low as 1.4% + 20p depending on which version of the payment processing system you use.

The downside? Stripe can be pretty tricky to set up if you’re not a web developer.

Posted in Small Business Tips | Comments Off on 4 Payment Processing Options For Online Businesses

A Guide To Commercial Liability Insurance For E-commerce Stores

Whether you’ve opened up a restaurant, set up an accounting firm, or you’re a freelance photographer, getting the right insurance in place should be a top priority for any business owner. This means sorting out commercial liability insurance to help protect the key aspects of your business, such as your property, products, employees and customers.

However, when you run an online store, especially a small one, it can feel like perhaps this insurance is less of a priority. After all, your business is just out there in cyberspace, there isn’t always a huge amount of physical space involved, and you don’t interact with your customers in person.

So do you still need commercial liability insurance?

The simple answer is, yes, you do. There are still important aspects of your business that you need to protect; therefore, getting the right policy in place is a must.

If you’re confused by the complex insurance landscape and subsequent jargon, we’re here to help. Below, we’ve created a guide to commercial liability insurance, what this means for your e-commerce store and how to find the right provider.

So let’s dive in.

What is commercial liability insurance?

Commercial liability insurance is not just one thing. In fact, it is the general term used to cover multiple different types of insurance policies, all aimed at protecting you and your business. These different types of insurance might include public, employee and product liability insurance.

The idea behind these policies is that they protect you from potentially damaging issues that might arise, such as loss, injury, damage or theft, in different situations. These might also cover claims made by your business, an employee, a customer or even a member of the general public.

Who needs commercial liability insurance?

Now, you might be thinking, a lot of this sounds like something you need if you have a physical workplace with a lot of foot traffic – but what about an e-commerce store? Particularly those that are smaller and run by just one or two people.

Well, it is advised that every business gets commercial liability insurance in one way or another.

For online retailers, whether selling goods locally or shipping internationally, there are still lots of risks that you need to consider. And this is true whether you make and sell your own products or use sites like eBay or Amazon to advertise your goods.

Getting commercial liability insurance that is tailored to your e-commerce store can help you feel safe in the knowledge that you’re protected. Which, ultimately, is what every business wants.

What are the risks for e-commerce businesses?

If you’re still not sure why your e-commerce business needs commercial liability insurance, let us help. Below, we’ve pulled together a list of the potential risks you face that could end in an expensive compensation claim or disruptions to trading. These include:

  • A customer making a claim if they are accidentally injured by one of your products
  • Technical issues cause your website to crash, so you can’t make any sales
  • A shipping of your products gets lost, damaged or stolen
  • Stock issues mean you have to turn customers away
  • Your e-commerce store is hacked or tampered with, possibly even leading to a data breach

These are just a few potential issues you might run into, but by having the right insurance, you can protect your stock, avoid losing income, deal with claims and stop the need to pay any unnecessary legal fees. That way, you can run your business with peace of mind and without worry.

What types of commercial liability insurance do e-commerce stores need?

As we said, commercial liability insurance is actually the name given to the different policies required to cover your business. The type of policy you choose in the end may vary, but you should certainly consider the following:

Products liability insurance

This protects you should one of your products harm someone or do damage to their property/belongings in any way. This policy ensures your legal fees and any compensation are covered, so you don’t end up out of pocket.

Employers’ liability insurance

If you employ multiple people to help run your e-commerce store, you might need employee liability insurance in case one of them becomes injured as a result of their work. Again, this covers you for legal fees and compensation.

Stock and property insurance

If you’ve got a lot of stock and possibly even a shop or warehouse, you need to protect these too. Stock and property policies can help to replace any damaged, lost or stolen stock. It can also be used if your property becomes damaged and anything that is stored at the property, such as products or devices like computers.

Business interruption insurance

If you are unable to trade as normal due to technical issues or perhaps issues beyond your control, such as a power cut, business interruption insurance ensures you don’t lose out on your earnings.

Cyber and data insurance

Something hugely important when you run an e-commerce store is cyber and data insurance. Firstly, it helps to get your business back up and running again if you’re hacked. It can also cover compensation and legal fees if a customer makes a claim due to loss or theft of their data.

Public liability insurance

You may or may not need public liability insurance depending on whether you have a physical store as well as an e-commerce one, or perhaps you take part in pop-up events. In this case, dealing with members of the public has potential risks, and you want to be covered against any claims they could make.

How to get the right insurance policy for your business

There are lots of providers out there offering differing levels of cover for your e-commerce business, so how do you know which policy to choose? Well, in this final section, we have put together some top tips to help you out:

  • Always shop around for insurance policies; never settle on the first one you find
  • Make the most of the internet to help you find policies
  • Use comparison sites as well as your own research to find and compare policies
  • If you are concerned or looking for advice, consider working with an insurance broker instead

Follow these tips, and you’ll be able to find the right policy for you in no time.

Posted in Small Business Tips | Comments Off on A Guide To Commercial Liability Insurance For E-commerce Stores

How To Set Up Buy Now, Pay Later On Your Online Shop

Buy now, pay later

Does your online shop offer a buy now, pay later (BNPL) option yet?

If not, why not? You could be missing out on a lot of sales!

These are services that allow customers to order what they want and pay for it in instalments – usually around four to six instalments – rather than in one lump sum. This can be great news for both parties!

But if you’ve decided you want to offer a buy now, pay later service to your customers, you might be wondering how you go about adding this payment option to your website, which is why we’ve created this guide.

Below, we’ll look at some of the benefits of BNPL services for your customers before looking at the different platforms and how you can set these up on your site.

Why is buy now, pay later so beneficial?

There are serval reasons why BNPL schemes are great for your customers, and some of the key benefits include:

  • They don’t have to find the full sum of money right away
  • They can still buy the things they want and pay smaller monthly instalments, which is particularly great for large, expensive items
  • They don’t have to pay interest as they would on a credit card – providing they make their payments on time
  • Those who don’t have a credit card can pay off their items slowly

Of course, providing a better experience to your customers also has a very positive impact on your business and some of the key benefits of BNPL for your business include:

  • Securing customers that might not have otherwise been able to afford your goods right now
  • You get paid upfront by the BNPL service provider, reducing the risk of fraudulent payments to your business
  • You can use this as a marketing opportunity to attract more customers
  • It improves the customer experience and gives them more options, which means they’re more likely to a become loyal and returning customer

But who offers these buy now, pay later services? Well, with lots of companies starting to see the benefits, there are more and more providers emerging all the time. That said, some of the top BNPL service providers include PayPal Pay in 4, Klarna, Afterpay and Affirm.

How to set up buy now, pay later on your store

Although it might seem like it’s going to be a long and complicated process, setting up a new payment option through your website doesn’t have to be. To set this up, you need to:

1. Decide which provider you want to use

First and foremost, you need to decide which service provider is going to be best for your business.   When doing this, there are several key things you need to take into consideration, and these are:

  • The cost of their services – you need to find the most budget-friendly option
  • Whether they offer additional features such as pay-in-30 or six-month financing
  • How easy it is to integrate the new service with your online site
  • Whether they assume fraud and credit risks for all purchases

Once you’ve done your research and decided on your provider, you can begin the technical part of setting this up on your website.

2. Back up your website

Before you begin installing your new payment option, you need to protect yourself just in case something doesn’t quite go to plan. So, as you should do before you make any changes to your online store, you need to back it up. This way, if something goes wrong, you can return your site to its original working state.

3. Add a buy now pay later option at checkout

Now for the technical part of getting your BNPL systems in place. The strategy you use will depend slightly on the provider you’re using, as well as the platform you use to host your online store. Below, we’re going to cover some of the most common platforms, therefore, the most common ways to add this payment option to your website.

If you run a WooCommerce store through WordPress, it can be fairly simple to install your new payment gateway. Once you’ve selected your provider, let’s say, for example, Afterpay, you then need to download the Afterpay Gateway WooCommerce payment plugin.

Most of the big providers will have these plugins available, and they will be easy enough to find and download, then activate on your site. For some service providers, you’ll have to download a Zip folder, upload this to the Plugins section of your WordPress admin dashboard, before installing and activating.

If you’re using platforms like Shopify for your online store, the process is pretty similar. Go to the app store and find the relevant plugin or extension. For example, when using PayPal Pay in 4, you need to go to the WooCommerce + PayPal page and click Get PayPal Checkout to download the relevant extension. You can then install this before going to your settings to activate it on your site.

Finally, if you or someone else has built the website for you, then you might require a few lines of code to add this payment option to your store. The good news is big BNPL providers like Klarna make this simple enough to find; they even have online guides on how to copy the Javascript Library you need and add this to your HTML file.

That being said, if you’re not confident in your coding abilities, it might be better to seek professional help rather than messing about with the HTML, as this could essentially break your whole website.

4. Don’t forget to market your new BNPL options

Finally, your work isn’t done just because you’ve got the plugin or code in place – you still need to make customers aware of your new BNPL functionality. So, once everything is up and running and you’ve made sure to test the integration, you should create some advertising or content that lets customers know they can buy now and pay later.

You might wish to run some adverts on Google or social media or simply create some engaging posts to share across your channels to let everyone know. You can also ad banners to your web pages, create landing pages and run an email campaign for those already on your mailing list.

This way, you can attract both new and existing customers, letting them know that you’re finding different ways to make their experience even better when shopping with your brand.

Posted in Small Business Tips | Comments Off on How To Set Up Buy Now, Pay Later On Your Online Shop

6 Things To Look For When Sourcing Wholesalers


Whether you want to switch from your existing supplier or find you’re trying to find a wholesaler for your new business, this is one of the most important decisions you can make as a business owner. After all, you want a supplier that you can form a good relationship with and that offers a greats service and equally impressive products.

But how do you go about finding the right supplier?

Well, the good news is there are several things you can look out for when choosing a wholesaler, and we’ve pulled these together in a list below.

So, before you settle on a supplier, be sure to look out for these six important aspects.

1. The cost of goods

When looking for a new wholesaler, it’s likely that one of the first things you will look at is the price. After all, this is going to have the biggest impact on your profit margins.

But you need to consider cost carefully when choosing a supplier.

This is because prices between wholesalers might vary, and you want to find the best price for the best product, as well as ensuring that the prices aren’t so low that they’re too good to be true.

As such, it’s important that you shop around a bit. This will give you a good idea of industry average prices and any places in particular that are offering a good deal. This way, you can make sure that you’ve weighed up all the options when it comes to costs and choose the supplier that is best for you.

2. The quality of the products

There is often a correlation between the cost and quality of the products from a wholesaler. Therefore, quality is another important thing you need to look out for. In many cases, if a wholesaler is a lot cheaper than their competitors, this could be a sign that their products aren’t of the same quality.

An important step when choosing a supplier is to weigh up cost and quality. Would you be willing to pay more in order to offer your customers a better product? Or are you looking for products with the biggest possible profit margin?

You need to think about this and weigh up your options carefully before choosing a supplier. You could even order some samples from them beforehand to get a feel for the quality of their goods.

3. A reliable service

When you partner with a wholesaler, you’ll be forming a long-term relationship with them. Therefore, you want to choose a supplier that offers a consistently reliable service, so this is something you should look out for during the selection process.

To do this, be sure to look for testimonials from other businesses that use them or perhaps look at review sites like Trustpilot and social media comments. This should help you to get a clearer picture of the service they offer and whether other businesses are happy with the treatment they have received.

After all, the last thing you want is to let your own customers down either through the shipping process or with poor/damaged products because your supplier is not reliable. This can cost you loyal customers and ultimately, cost you money.

Plus, customers will be unaware that the supplier is the problem and will leave poor reviews or comments for your business. This can have a negative impact on your reputation even though it might be out of your control.

4. Delivery times and options

If you go through a lot of goods or materials, you’re going to need a supplier that can get these to you in good time. As such, you need to make sure you find out about delivery and lead times. You may need a cheap courier in Ireland to help with the shipments.

To do this, speak to the supplier and find out what the average delivery time is, but also how often they experience delays or issues with their delivery. This is because you don’t want to find yourself short of products and unable to get any more in a hurry.

It’s also a good idea to choose a wholesaler that offers tracked delivery so you can keep an eye on your goods in realtime where needed.

5. The location of the supplier

Something you might not have put too much thought into is the location of your supplier. Of course, there are so many shipping options and couriers out there nowadays that you can get products sent quite some distance.

However, if you’re a local business, you might prefer to use local suppliers or those near your area. This is particularly true if you’ve built your reputation as an expert in your area and one that hopes to support other local businesses.

What’s more, if you are hoping to ship internationally, you might want to look for a supplier that is based further afield and can supply different areas of the business. Ultimately, you need to consider the location of the wholesaler before settling on any one particular supplier.

6. The scalability of the supplier

Finally, if you’re thinking of growing your business in the future, you want to choose a wholesaler that can scale up to accommodate your needs. The last thing you want is to sign up with a supplier, only to find you quickly grow beyond their capabilities, and you have to start all over again finding another wholesaler.

Especially if you come to love their goods and services and then have to give these up as they cannot scale up to meet your demands, so, it always pays to choose a supplier that can offer a lot more than you currently need. This way, they can grow with you and help to meet the changing demands of your business.

Posted in Small Business Tips | Comments Off on 6 Things To Look For When Sourcing Wholesalers