How to Set Up an Online Store
As technology now is greatly advancing and there are many innovative ways to go about doing business online, more and more organizations and individuals are diving into e-commerce.
E-commerce is a method of conducting business transactions by either selling a product or service online. Payments are also done online with the help of payment tools that support it.
There are many advantages when you choose to conduct your business online. Setting up an online store is easy to do and is convenient in many ways. There are free tools that you can use to support your online store. You need web hosting for your site. You need not spend a lot as there are plenty of web hosting companies that offer their services for a reasonable price – when I say reasonable, that means cheap. Not bad compared to renting an actual store somewhere in the city.
It is true that while there are other places such as Amazon and eBay, where you can sell your product, it is still better and advisable to host your own online store. Hosting your very own online store allows you control over your shop. You can have your very own online catalog and shopping cart as well. You can do a lot of creative stuff such as designing the actual site, for business branding and presentation purposes. It is also cost effective because you need not pay for any fees. However, if you would like to have a payment gateway that will support your online store there is, of course, a processing fee which you need to comply with.
There are pros and cons in having your very own online store. You need to regularly update your catalog, and more monitoring is needed to make sure that your content is up to date and items are new and in place. However, if you are really serious and thinking of a long-term plan for your store, then the ‘cons’ will not be a problem.
To set up your online store, you need to primarily gather everything that you will need. Prepare the content, all the information such as photos, pricing, contact details, your company logo, and an overview of your business. If you have product items then you need to make a short description about them.
You will also need a domain name or a web address (ideally should be the same as your business name) and a web host. It is more of an advantage if you have your very own web designer so that your online store would look more professional. However, it does mean cost. If you like, you can avail of web design packages such as Dreamweaver and then set up the online store yourself. However, a certain know-how on web designing is needed for this.
When you have done this, you can start promoting or marketing your online store virtually through various networks. Traditional marketing offline strategies are important as well to increase awareness of your online store.
It is important that your website loads quickly so that your customers will not lose interest. Make sure that you are honest when you indicate fees and pricing. The prices and fees that you put there should be the actual cost, if there are other charges then make sure it shows. There should be no hidden prices; otherwise you will lose your clients.
You must always update information and product items on your online store. And please make sure that it is as user friendly as it can be. Think of a method wherein you will be alerted and reminded whenever there are orders coming in. Think of what will make your online store better. You may incorporate a page for customer feedback, and perhaps some facility where they could rate your services. Develop the marketing aspect of your store by acquiring their email addresses or contact details. You can use these information to send newsletters or any promotions in your store via email. This way, you encourage them to visit your website every now and then.
Of course when there is a sale, there is money or payment involved. How do you manage this? You will need an online payment gateway like PayPal and an Internet merchant account to receive funds from your clients for the goods or services purchased online. However, do consider that there are commission charges for each transaction.