A Beginner’s Guide To Commerce In The 21st Century

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Person handing credit card to merchant (caption: Commerce for Businesses)When you’re trying to get your retail or service-oriented business up and running or streamline your existing practices, there are a ton of details to iron out — and an overwhelming number of options to consider. Have you found the most efficient way to track your inventory? What cost-effective ways can you process and manage your customers’ payments?  What do you need to know about running an online store? We have some ideal solutions to help you run your small business as smoothly as possible.

Article Overview

Launching An Online Business?

e-commerce iconThere’s no question that having an online store or service-oriented business can be a highly profitable venture. Retail e-commerce sales in the U.S. alone are projected to grow at a fast pace, from $505 billion in 2018 to over $735 billion in 2023.1

Don’t know where to start? Use our e-commerce guide to help you launch your online business. We define industry-specific terms you’ll need to know and include in-depth reviews of the top e-commerce platforms and plugins to get your company up and running online in no time.

The best e-commerce platforms can save you a ton of time, money and headaches because they can sync with all or most of the other software that you’re using to run your business, including your accounting and CRM (customer relationship management) software, POS system, inventory management tools and much more.

Keep Those Customer Transactions Coming: POS Systems

POS iconIf you’re launching a brick-and-mortar business, have you thought about what you’ll use as a “cash register”? Or perhaps you just need to upgrade your current antiquated system. Today’s POS (point of sale) systems, like ShopKeep, give you the ability to do much more than just record customer transactions and produce receipts. And you can find a wide range of affordable equipment and software or more sophisticated systems to sync multiple stores.

Our article on the best POS systems give you details to help you understand how these systems work, components you’ll need to consider and reviews of some of the most popular systems for small business owners, including retailers and restauranteurs.

Do you need a simple way to accept credit card payments on-the-go? Mobile POS systems give you the ability to use an app on your smartphone and a connectable mobile card reader to conduct customer transactions no matter where you are. Learn more about these systems and your best options in our mobile POS system reviews.

Picking A Proven Merchant Account Provider

Some POS systems provide their own merchant accounts, but many give you options to choose your own. There’s no shortage of merchant account providers out there begging for your business. But with so many options, how do you decide? It can be tricky to find a trustworthy, reliable service that won’t break your budget with high or hidden fees — or place you under weighty restrictions. See our tips on how to choose the best merchant account provider so your customer transactions don’t tank.

So Much Inventory, So Little Time

Inventory iconThanks to online inventory software, the days are long gone of having to manually count your store or warehouse’s inventory or juggle a ton of paperwork. But those are just a handful of benefits you can get from these affordable solutions.

Inventory management software can also track orders, sales and deliveries to ensure you never run low or experience an overage of inventory. Some can even integrate with your POS system as well as your e-commerce, accounting, CRM and other software to keep everything running smoothly. Our reviews of the best inventory management software give you reliable recommendations for all kinds of needs.

No Room For Inventory? Consider Dropshipping

Dropshipping iconIf you don’t have adequate storage space or simply don’t want the hassle of inventory management, partnering with a dropshipping company can be a great option — especially if you have a home-based or small online retail business.

Dropshipping companies are wholesalers or suppliers that already have inventory in stock and handle the shipping for retailers. Some dropshipping companies offer a wide variety of products, everything from electronics to apparel, while others offer niche products.

Our comprehensive dropshipping guide gives you the pros and cons of using these services, how and where to find ones that are reliable and carry the merchandise you want to sell, various fees you’ll incur and everything else you need to know about this easy way to get your online store off the ground.

What tips do you have for new store owners?

Source: [1] Statista

About The Author:

While attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s graduate school for journalism and public relations in the late 1990s, Sally began a long career researching and writing about business, technical and scientific topics.

Her decades of experience as well as a passion to stay on top of the latest online tools and resources combine to help small businesses (and freelancers like herself) flourish. Her work has appeared in many notable media outlets, including The Washington Post, Entrepreneur, People, Forbes, Huffington Post, and more.

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