E-commerce and setting up your own store online is a huge area of potential growth for small business owners.
You may be an existing small business owner who wishes to derive the benefits of having an online shop as an add on to your existing bricks and mortar store and want to exploit the massive growth of the internet.
Or you may be someone who has an idea for a line or range of products that you are confident will sell well online and want to set up your own online shop.
How to set up an online shop
There are a number of options open to you ranging from dedicated shopping cart software such as Magento, Zen Cart, OS Commerce, Volusion, and others. (You can learn more about Magento e-commerce software here)
And there is the simpler, easier to maintain option of using WordPress to set up your online store.
This involves using the WordPress publishing software to build your website and choosing a shopping cart plug in and e-commerce theme.
Which option you should go for will depend on a number of factors including
- Your budget (the WordPress option should be cheaper)
- The number of products you have or expect to have in your shop
- How you intend maintaining the site on an ongoing basis-the WordPress option is easier to maintain and grow, especially for people who are not overly technical and who want to maintain a degree of control over their website.
Some key factors in the success of your online store will include
- A professional looking site that inspires confidence
- A secure payment system which may involve an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) or Secure HTTP (s-http) to secure credit card transactions
- Allowing your customer to check out in the least number of clicks possible
- Good prices and range
- A clear statement of your shipping and returns policy.
Failing to tap into the potential of the internet to sell your products is a massive mistake. For a relatively small investment you can set up an online branch/store for your existing business or you can start from scratch provided you are satisfied that the goods/products you will be selling offer good value to the shopper and you can build trust with your visitors.
Filed under E-Commerce