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With COVID19 we have entered uncharted territory within our business and our personal lives. This period is affecting everyone and anyone. I’ve been speaking to clients that have had to do the unimaginable – close all retail stores and brace for, what can potentially be, bankruptcy. I did, however, see that with every client they now truly understand how important eCommerce is.

I’ve been preaching to my clients since forever to not rely only on one or two channels to make up the most of their sales. Those channels normally are Amazon, eBay, Walmart, and, last but not least, their brick-n-mortar stores.

If you’re a business owner that had to shut everything down and are looking into going online, finally ready to take the plunge read the following! It will save you a lot of time and a lot of money!

Whether you have an ugly, old, buggy, site or you are just thinking about your first ever e-store you need to take the plunge.

Your worries are “it’s going to cost a small fortune” and “I don’t have enough knowledge, they can sell me anything“. These are very valid concerns and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve talked and worked with clients that got literally burned – having non-functional websites YEARS in the making with fortunes spent on them (I call these rescue missions). Let’s address these concerns.

 

1. How much does a new website cost?

You have requested quotes from several development companies or just heard from associates that websites cost tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars

Websites cost money, that is correct! But if your budget is limited you can move forward in 2-3 stages and it will all work out even better for you!

Stage 1 – get live as quickly as possible with the least amount of cost (2 cases described below)

Stage 2 – POS (integration)

Stage 3 – UX & Automation Improvements

This is the best possible way in which you can get started online because you won’t need to quote everything from the beginning and pick the least expensive developers (you know, if it’s too good to be true…), you will have time to work on the most important integration (POS), and you will be able to work on UX after you already have some data about existing visitors.

Starting up a Shopify store, or even getting your very own Magento 2 site is easier than you read online. I’m going to go through what you need to do to get going as quickly as possible.

Low Budget Shopify Quick Start

A reasonable, modern, fast and user-friendly Shopify site can be built with anything between $1,000-$5,000 – forget about the dev companies out there asking for +$100K! Do you really need all the customization? No, you do not!

Breakdown:

Shopify Plan – $29, $79, or $299/month after a certain volume the latter is the best option due to lower transaction commissions but you can sure start with the $29 while building and ramping up.

Shopify Themes (affiliate link) – top 4 Shopify themes cost $33 to $89. I’ve worked with all 4 (Wokiee, Ella, Fastor, and Shella) and I can say that you do not need to be tech-savvy to install them or for basic configuration but you will need to either go through the documentation and reach out to their support in order to get any theme to work and play how you need it. Use this as an opportunity to get some work to your, potentially unemployed, team. Give them something to do, research, play with.

If you do decide to get some help don’t get developers, get a Shopify expert, a consultant. Truth is, you don’ need developers at this early stage and they will do more harm than good. Your target is to get the site live and going. Then you will invest more resources into automation and processes.

Book a 30 minutes slot, let’s get on a call and I’ll help you do the first part. To get you started on the right path – free of charge.

Added bonus – The first 30 clients that reach out will get a Free Shopify account set up and Shopify theme install!

Low Budget Magento Quick Start

Magento 2 is the go-to if you’re serious about eCommerce. If you have made a solid commitment and consider that your company’s future is online then look no further, Magento will deliver.

If you already reached out to development companies you will know that getting $25-125K quotes is normal prices in the industry. What you do not know is that you can get a Magento 2 site for much cheaper and much faster – you just need to have the right guidance.

Breakdown:

Deploying a clean Magento 2 site on your hosting server – shouldn’t cost you more than $100

Getting a clean theme – shouldn’t cost you more than $100-200 – a personal favorite is the Porto theme (affiliate link)

Getting extensions – themes usually come with built-in functionality that takes care of basic needs but you will need a few extensions. The biggest advice I can give you right now is to pick one extension developer and buy all themes from them. My personal favorite is Amasty (affiliate link). Clients usually spend $2,500 on extensions. If it’s a free Magento 2 site, with an OK theme, like the one I recommended above, Amasty will install and support all their extensions.

This means you can get your Magento 2 site, with loads of functionality, for under $5K. You cannot beat this.

I’m happy to help you get started on the right path. Book a 30 minutes slot and let’s talk about what you need and what I think your next steps should be.

Added bonus – The first 30 clients that book the 30 minutes calls about Magento get to have a second call!

2. How to protect yourself from bad development companies?

There’s no secret formula here but there are a few things you can do to ensure the partner you’re about to choose or have already chosen is the right one for the trip.

1. Before signing the contract share all the details of everything you want to do and include 1-2 ridiculous functionalities.

A correct partner will try to understand and quote everything you need to do and also they should try to recommend less expensive or fewer custom alternatives.

 

2. Ask for a list of all extensions they want to install.

The golden rule with Magento will always be to use as many extensions as possible, ideally from one extension developer VERSUS developers building your functionality from scratch. If they recommend extensions from 3 or more sources start having big question marks. If they say they will custom build everything RUN.

 

3. Hire help

Getting an inhouse eCommerce Manager to see this project through might seem like a good idea but it’s a huge gamble and a big expense. If your new hire is no good and you’ve signed a 2 year, $90K contract for a site that was not planned for correctly and you have a new hire that you have to pay monthly you are in a bad position.

True help is getting an external consultant that can help you get started correctly on this process.

It’s in the consultant’s interest to do a great job, help you launch and secure future work and contracts.

If you read this article, you are on the right path for sure. It’s important to take action and not let this sit. This pandemic is creating a lot of grief, but it’s an opportunity for businesses to grow as well. In the end, what really matters is who’s guiding you in this process. If you’re thinking about learning from mistakes, this is going to be a lengthy and expensive process. Time and money have never been more scarce. I’m giving my time away short term because I know you will see the value medium to long term. Use the form below and let’s talk.

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