Preparing for Your Online Store Venture

You’ve been thinking for a while of ways to increase your customers and revenue. You are inundated with information about online stores, and how you can take your business online in minutes and have a fully functioning online store that’s going to revolutionise the way you do business. Sounds great, doesn’t it?

We find most businesses do very little preparation for something that could potentially have a big impact on how they operate. So, before you decide to start selling your products and services online, consider some of the questions that we ask our clients before they jump into an online store venture.

WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO ACHIEVE?

Without goals you can’t measure success. What does online store success look like for your business? Where would you like to be in the next year? Goals don’t need to be set in stone, but they have to be specific. If the aim is to grow revenue by 10%, or expand your customer base by 10%, you have something to measure your progress against. Just remember to be realistic.

WHAT ARE YOU SELLING?

The answer to this question will have the single biggest impact on how you approach starting an online store.

Is it a downloadable product? Is it a service customers can book? If you sell physical products they need to be shipped, and you need to work out how you’re going to do this and at what that will cost. Do you make your customers pay for shipping, or do you include the cost of shipping in your products and offer free shipping? Do you have the weight and dimensions of your products? Can you get this information from a supplier or do you need to get this information manually? Are you just shipping to certain areas, all of the country or even internationally? How do you handle shipping for product returns? These are all questions you need to have clear answers for, otherwise it can cost you a lot of money.

You also need to consider resources. Do orders need to be manually picked, packed and shipped? Can this be completed within your existing workflow or do you need new processes? When your website becomes very successful and you process hundreds of orders a day, can you still meet the demand?

How big is your range? There’s nothing to stop you selling thousands of different products, but that involves a lot of data entry. To start with you may want to focus on your core products and have an achievable plan to increase the number of products available online steadily over time.

You also need to consider whether you’re planning on managing inventory, customers, and accounts on your site or if you need to integrate with other systems. Getting different systems to exchange data can be very complex and time consuming.

HOW ABOUT PAYMENT?

If you’re just starting out the simplest and easiest way is to use PayPal. Paypal will enable you to except payments from credit cards. However, it will take your customers offsite during the checkout process, so it’s not the most user friendly solution. If you look at other payment gateways, remember that everyone takes their cut in recurring fees or percentage based transactional fees, so make sure you carefully compare terms before you decide on a payment gateway.

ANYTHING ELSE?

Yes, lots. Terms and Conditions, Privacy Policies, Returns Management Authorisation, Refund Policies, the list goes on.

This is just a very simple overview of what you should consider before moving to an online store platform.

If you are serious about taking your business on an online venture, then you need to be serious about investing in the right solution to support your online strategy, and dedicating the time required to set one up. Our New Online Store Build guide to getting started will offer you much food for thought, but we’d love to hear about your plans and discuss how we can help you in your online venture.

2018-05-19T21:44:22+00:00 July 2nd, 2015|Arpastart eCommerce Platform, Online Stores|

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