Setting up your online shop
5 areas of consideration when setting up a shopping cart.
Selling your product online can be an exciting prospect. There are great benefits to selling online but it’s important to do your research before diving in head first. We’ve outlined 5 areas that you should research before committing to an online shop.
1. Pros and Cons
- Flexibility of hours worked and location. Your online shop is open 24-hours-a-day and can be managed from any location.
- Low set up costs over a bricks and mortar shop front, and much faster to get your product into your target market.
- Large customer base. It is easier to get web traffic than foot traffic, and you can service customers from all over the world.
- Competitive market. While your customer base is global so is your competition. This can then lead to costly SEM (search engine marketing) to keep your online shop competitive and easy to find.
- No customer contact. This is probably the biggest downfall of having an online shop over a physical shop space. You are not able to engage your customers as easily as you would in a face-to-face transaction. A well designed website and social media marketing approach, with personal and speedy service can go a long way in creating brand loyalty. You might also consider a ‘live chat’ pop up window, where you can communicate with customers in real time – via a messenger service.
- You are always open. While this is deemed a pro, it can also be a con – being open 24-hours, might also mean you may need to adjust your work hours to ensure you are responsive and meeting customer expectations.
2. The Launch
Once you’ve decided that setting up your shop online is for you, there is still a lot to consider. Firstly you need a easy to navigate, mobile responsive website incorporating your online shop. Setup has become easier with the integration of a number of e-commerce plugins such as WooCommerce within a WordPress CMS (content management system) website. This means, once set up, the administrator of the website can self manage the online shop and inventory. There are many options and it is important to research what system is best for your business. Ask your web designer or developer for advice if you are unsure of which system to use.
3. Shipping and postage
Shipping and postage can be a tricky area to get right. It is something that needs careful consideration, as pricey shipping charges can be a real turn-off to the customer. Installing a shipping calculator can assist the buyer mid-sale as to what the shipping charges might be. Consider setting a flat fee or free shipping for purchases over a certain dollar amount to help increase sales, or build the shipping and handling costs into your product pricing structure to avoid adding a hefty postage cost at the end of the sale.
4. Payment gateways
A payment gateway is an e-commerce service that allows merchants to accept credit card and other forms of online transactions, securely via your website.
Some items to consider when choosing your payment system are:
- Transactions fees, ongoing fees and bank account fees
- Multi-currency support
- Sign up processes
- Terms and conditions
- Acceptance of credit card, debit card and/or PayPal payments
- Ease-of-use for customers
- Installing a security certificate, to ensure your website is ‘https secure’ and keeps your client’s card details safe
5. Other Integrations
There are additional integrations that you can consider to assist managing your online shop and increasing your online sales such as:
- Virtual products
- Coupons and gift vouchers
- Gifted products and gift wrapping services
- Integrations with 3rd party platforms such as inventory management software and cloud-based accounting software – for example, Xero or MYOB
- Wish lists for customers
- Newsletter subscription integrations
- Live Chat instant message services, to speak directly with your customers in real time
- Integration with social media
To find out more about selling your product online chat to the team at Stream Art Design about the best solutions for your business, to enable a successful launch of your online shop.