How to set-up an online shop successfully


So much of all our shopping takes place online and even where shops still principally sell through retail outlets it is an extreme rarity these days for a store to have no online presence.

This is because it’s becoming much more accessible for any business large or small to set up and run a web store. 

Know What You Want to Sell

This may sound like an obvious question but it’s amazing how many emerging entrepreneurs think about selling online and don’t quite know what they want to sell and end up with a bit of a mess of a business. It’s OK to just want to make a fortune using the internet but the key to success in any retail operation is to have a brand identity, customers want to know what your website is all about.

It’s true you do have some sites and platforms that are essentially online department stores, think of Amazon and eBay. But the difference with them is size and scale of operation, meaning bulk discount and much of their stock isn’t even theirs, it others selling on their sites.

But although this works on a large scale, a smaller site that lacks a niche looks a bit ridiculous. If you are set on offering lots of different types of goods then it’s maybe a better idea to split them into various brand names each with their own web domain and their own niche.

Do You Have a Website Already?

If you already have a website that gives info on your company then you have the decision to make on whether you convert it or add on to it with a web store page or area? How easy to do this depends on the current site design and how you intend to create a web store. If you have a professional web design and production company then this is going to be possible as they will know the layout and coding and, hopefully, can add to this and make it work.

This approach is not going to be a budget option, creating a high-quality, bespoke store can run into the multiple thousands easily. The other option is to buy a ready-made webstore product, of which there are dozens available and the big advantage of these is that they are pretty much ready to go and you can usually sign up, create an account and start adding products and trading almost instantaneously.

But the downside of this method is that it is not your system and you will have to work within the structure and restrictions of whatever platform you choose.

Processing Payments

If you are to trade online then you need to be able to take payments for your products or services. No matter whether you have taken the route of having a custom-made site or using one of the ready to go options then you will have to be able to take card payments as a minimum, many providers can do this or you often use the same account if you have a card machine in your shop.

Other options are things like PayPal or Google pay, all of which are becoming more mainstream and accepted by customers. Unless you have a really niche digital or counter-culture vibe then it’s probably best to avoid cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin as they are associated with rebellious and illegal activities in the eyes of some consumers.

How Are You Delivering the Products?

How are you getting what you are selling to the customers on your site? Unless you are selling digital products such as software, videos or music you are going to have to get the items delivered. If you are working on a purely local level then you could deliver yourself, this works very well for many businesses, local florists are a good example of this.

But for most delivery is required, you can easily find DPD Local Online and have your products picked up and delivered with a minimum of fuss.

How Will Customers Find You?

It’s all very well having gods available for sale online but you need someone to buy them. Getting customers to your online store is key. If you already have a physical store then make sure the web address is printed on all bags, receipts and even the store signage itself, this is the easiest way to get online sales.

Beyond that new customers need to be found, get your SEO up to date, hire a pro to do this and also make good use of your social media accounts to spread the message.