01 Apr Where to Start When Setting Up an Online Shop
With many businesses having to temporarily close during the lock-down, many are choosing to move online and set up their own online shops. If you are one of those people, we would like to offer our advice on what options you have. So, if you’ve ever wanted to offer your products or services online, or wish to do it temporarily while social distancing is in place, then keep on reading!
There are a few out there, some are easier than others and some allow you to control your brand or business more closely than others.
- add a shop to your existing website
- use a proprietary online shopping platform
- create a new website with e-commerce built in
- set up a store on an auction site or shopping site
All of the above have their pros and cons.
If you have your own website promoting who you are and what you do, then it is possible to integrate a “shopping cart” to the website. In most cases this is achievable, especially if you are using WordPress as the basis for your website. A single plugin to WordPress can transform your website into an e-commerce website, one such plugin is WooCommerce which is currently active on 3.9 million websites worldwide, and with a little help with the setup you can be selling online.
Proprietary shopping platforms allow you to use their software on a subscription basis which you can link to your website’s domain name.
You can then “brand up” your online store to suit your existing business brand. You are limited by the terms given to you by the host platform, however these may well suit you and are a good way to get started by yourself without outside help. This can be daunting; however, the initial setup costs may be lower, but you still need to factor in your time to set everything up.
Creating a new website from scratch may sound intimidating or expensive, however you may be surprised with the finished result. A specialist e-commerce website designer can seamlessly integrate your products into the whole site, adding cross-sell, upsell, custom pricing and customised delivery schedules. Another benefit of the “start from scratch” approach is that you can then style everything to be “on brand”, including photos and graphics for the website. If you are selling high value or high-quality products, this is definitely the way forward to sell online.
You can of course simply sell individual items using the likes of Amazon or eBay. Both are perfectly good platforms to sell online. There are limitations to the features and you obviously have minimal control of your brand identity, but hey, in 2019, 2.5 million sellers used Amazon to sell roughly 4000 products a minute. what could possibly go wrong? Will your products get seen? Will your products be too expensive? Will you build up a loyal customer base? These are all questions that need some serious thought, ultimately will you be able to compete?
If you would like advice, we are currently offering it for free for businesses. Whether you want to use an online builder or hire a designer, this advice is non bias and completely free for anyone who needs it because we understand during this difficult time, businesses need to stick together.