Before setting up a web shop, there are several factors and technical elements that need to be addressed, and decisions to be made before your business can consider processing transactions and making orders online.
First and foremost, before going into details of creating an online shop, it is important to assess whether the use of e-commerce is the most suitable option for your company.
If the products you sell require little to no customer interaction and can be bought without having to see, touch or taste the product before buying, then e-commerce is the ideal choice for you.
Once you have established the sort of products you are going to be selling, you need to next work out what kind of offer you are going to provide customers. With numerous online shops available and to choose from, your shop must offer a USP to the competition. Whether it’s on price, packaging, delivery, loyal points or other extras, you need to have something of additional value to attract and retain the customers’ attention.
For the shop itself, it is recommended to use software that already has been tried and tested. Due to the number of variables involved in creating a reliable online shop that is user friendly and easy to update, having proven software is advisable.
After you have developed a shop site that is workable, the next stage is to ensure that both you and your customers feel confident using the site, and that you have adequate protection against hacking and fraud.
As you are taking sensitive personal and financial information, you will need to aspire confidence in your customers. The industry standard for online transactions is the PCI DSS. If you are uncertain about how to manage and secure your online shop, it is advisable to make sure your provider is fully established in this field.
Once the web shop is set up online, the next task you need to consider is how customers are going to find your shop and how you are going to persuade them to purchase from your shop.
An important question to ask and find out is, what keywords do people search for, and where and how are people looking for your products offered?
In getting your online shop live, using existing customers and connections is recommended for getting some initial traffic to your site. It is wise, to encourage them to return to your site and to offer incentives and special offers to repeat customers to ensure that you retain a core base of customers.
Once you have tried and tested the shop and have successfully secured some initial transactions, the next stage is to conduct some extensive marketing of your online shop.
The following stage to get your shop found online, is to start making a combination of link building ventures, SEO activities, targeted content writing and promotion to ensure that the right words and content is used to describe and define your shop and that the customers can find your shop online. Using offline marketing, advertising, PR, mail-shots, newsletters can all help promote your shop.
Discovering which words are being used to find your site, and adjusting your site to match those words accordingly with increase the likelihood of facilitating a sale online.
All too often, many companies create shops which either do not correctly associate with their buyers or are too complex for users to navigate through.