The future of commerce is through online stores. Buying products and services on the internet is easier and more convenient than going through the high street, and it allows consumers to compare prices and offers from the comfort of their own homes. An e-commerce venture can be a great way to make an income but there are some things to consider before you begin.
What are you going to sell?
Probably the most important question – what product or service are you going to be selling? Once you have decided on this, and worked out things like profit margins, suppliers etc, it’s time to list them. Writing engaging copy and descriptions for your procuts, adding quality video and photographs, and making it easy to search and filter will all encourage your users to buy.
Decide on your brand
A brand is really important when it comes to any sort of business, especially online, as you want your potential customers to know exactly who you are. A big part of this is choosing a name, which can sometimes be the hardest part of setting up a new business, as it has to be right! Create an instantly recognisable logo and use the colours to help form the branding for your website. Everything should work seamlessly together.
Which platform are you going to use?
Of course, you could get a completely custom e-commerce platform. However, when it is your first venture, it makes a lot more sense to start with one that is already established. There are plenty of options available, each with their own merits. For example, Shopify is very popular as it has many templates to use and is intuitive and easy to grasp, even if you are not a technical expert. You could also look into WooCommerce if you are using WordPress to host your online store.
How will you get it seen?
With so many other online retailers, how will people find yours? SEO, or search engine optimisation, is the most important part of this, as this will determine how high up on the Google search rankings your website appears. The higher the better, as people rarely scroll past the first three pages, so this is something you need to learn and master.
Are you legally compliant?
Probably the least exciting part, but the most important! There are many rules for selling, especially if you are going to be shipping overseas, so it is imperative that you do your research and read up on this aspect to make sure you are not breaking any laws. Allowing payments through something like Paypal is a good idea as it protects both the buyer and seller, and customers tend to trust the service. If you are using Shopify, as mentioned above, then they have their own secure payment service called Shopify payments too.
Once you have answered these questions and considered the different areas, it is time to get started! It can be a little slow in the beginning and the upstart might take a while, but once you are established, things will start rolling! If you have already successfully set up an e-commerce business, let us know in the comments below what advice you would give to someone setting up their first.