Many of my Functional Medicine customers sell supplements in their online store, with degrees of success from zero sales to tens of thousands of dollars per month, after all these years, it is easier for me to understand what sells and what doesn’t. However, if you have a Medical or Dental Practice, this can be a great source of revenue. If done right! Functional Medicine Practitioners either sell 3rd party products or have their own branded supplements and products.
There are a few choices out there for the e-Commerce plugin you will need. However, there is now really only one choice – and that is WooCommerce. Since Automattic (the same people who control WordPress) purchased Woo a few years ago, the software has gone from strength to strength. Although WooCommerce is free, it makes its money with add-ons, and nearly every site will need a few. Add-ons are great, but they come at an upfront and annual cost. You might want to integrate Quick-Books or Xero Accounting; you might want additional marketing for after sales, cross-sells, etc., you might want a logistics company like ShipStation to handle shipping. There is an add-on for almost anything. You just have to be sure that you are buying a well-supported add-on as out of date add-ons can render your store useless.
Setting Up an Online Store
Firstly you will need a payment gateway. Many clients use just the essential PayPal to accept PayPal Payments, Credit Cards, etc., but others like Stripe and most of the major banks can be integrated at an extra cost.
These will need to be configured correctly as well. Usually, you need to complete some steps correctly to connect your Gateway through things like API’s
Setting Up Shipping on your Online Store
As you may start off shipping yourself, you need to setup Shipping. Are you going to offer FREE shipping if the cart has a certain amount? This is all done in the settings of WooCommerce. You can buy add-ons that can change pretty much everything, from shipping price per category, weight, etc.
You can also setup shipping through add-ons like USPS, UPS, FedEx, etc. which can give live rates. If you are not shipping or packing yourself, you can setup ShipStation, and every order gets sent to them for processing. The systems talk to each other.
My advice is, if you are shipping yourself – keep it simple, cart shock is one of the biggest reasons people abandon a product in the cart once they get to the checkout. If you have your own branded label, you can build in the shipping price.
Adding your Products to your Online Store
Here is where so many fall away. For each product, you want to (must) have an image that has the same dimensions as every other product. This way your store can look beautiful and clean. Otherwise, you look like some cheap corner dollar store with junk piled up high.
Each Product Must have the Following;
- SKU (Product Identification Number)
- Feature Image (all the same dimensions)
- Product Type (Simple, Digital, Variable, Affiliate)
- Product Title (name of the product)
- Product Marketing Description. (short marketing catchy informative marketing description)
- Product Full Description (full details, nutritional information, etc.)
- Product Price (the Price you are selling the product for)
- Product Category (Possibly Sub Category as well)
- Product Dimensions and Weight) if using live rates shipping from USPS, UPS, FedEx, etc.)
Pricing and Variations
Variable Products are best explained by an example. Let’s say you are selling ‘Aspirin’ in Variations of 30,60, 90 Count Bottles. This would then be a variable product. Each variation will have a different price. 30 counts might be $5, 60 counts $9 and 90 counts $12. This can apply to colors, sizes, pretty much anything. These are called Variable Products.
Laying out Your Online Store
If you have the right systems in place, you can layout your store in a variety of ways. Feature Products, Grouped products, Slideshows, etc. Talk to your developer about your options. WooCommerce comes with a bunch of shortcodes which many systems take advantage of. So your store can pretty much look like anything.
You want a store that will be simple to navigate, be laid out in a way that works on all devices, and makes the shopping experience a breeze for users.
Product Categories for your Online Store
Build out product Categories that will make sense to your user and to search engines. Each Product Category will contain products from that category. But you can have featured products from that category as well.
Product Search Options for your Online Store
When you have more than 50 products in your store, then I will advise a search option. You can add-ons that expand the search capability of WooCommerce. One such option would be an AJAX Type Search. This would give near real-time search results based on the keywords entered.
Promotions and Marketing
WooCommerce has some great add-ons for Cross Selling and Promotions and Remarketing. As an example, you may want to promote some products when a user puts a product in their cart. So when the user views their cart, you might want to incentivize them to add further products to the cart or perhaps even create an AutoShip offer where if they get products delivered at defined intervals and automatically billed each month.
A Great idea is to bundle products into a package. As an example a grouped product package that is perfect for people with Type 2 Diabetes or IBS.
Shipping Advice for your Online Store
As mentioned previously, if you have your own branded product line, increase your prices to cover shipping costs and advertise FREE nationwide shipping. Some products and orders you may lose a dollar or two, but it will be made up by an increase in orders as many people leave shopping carts if they don’t like additional costs.
F.A.Q. for your Online Store
Create an F.A.Q. That covers all of the questions people would ask before making a purchase. This gives users everything they need to know before making a purchase.
Returns Policy for your Online Store
It is essential to have a clear and concise Returns Policy.
Terms & Conditions of your Online Store
Make sure you define what your terms and conditions are for your store.
An Online Store takes time to set up, it also takes time to maintain. You want to make sure that you allocate the resources necessary to run manage a store, ensure questions are answered immediately and have good shipping procedures in place.