Setting up your first online store can be exciting – and a little bit daunting. You’ve got your product sorted and you feel ready to go, but there’s quite a bit more you’ll need to know before you are truly ready to set up your online shop.
I will just go through here some of the questions you will need to answer to build a website that works for your business and your customers.
Is your product 100% ready to sell?
You want to make sure your product is fully ready to be sold before getting started on your website. It’s very easy to get excited and rush in, but do yourself a plan and follow it. The first step is the products, the second step is getting them out there.
How many different products will you sell?
What price are you going to sell your products for?
This can be specific at this stage, or an idea of whether you will be bargain, mid-ranged or premium in price. You will need the specifics once you get started, but thinking about your product within those three categories first can help you narrow things down.
How will you display your products – do you have time to do photography or will you need to hire a professional?
This also covers if you have a specific vision for how something is displayed, like a 3d rotating image, only black and white photos, or a full customisation section.
Are you planning to offer product customisation?
Who do you think will buy your products?
How are you going to describe your products?
Do you have any additional information you need to include for each product?
This could include things like material, size, measurements for a clothing store or things like allergens, amounts, ingredients for a food store.
How are you going to manage product stock?
How are you going to manage orders and deliveries?
How will you price shipping – will you offer free shipping?
How will you manage returns and refunds?
What will be the process for things lost in transit?
Do you have an idea of which payment gateway you want to use?
This one can be decided later, or with some guidance from a website designer or other shop owners. It’s important to at least be aware that you will need a payment gateway to manage your website. The decision will depend on how you plan on managing your business and whether you plan to use your payment gateway offline as well.
Do you have colours and branding ready?
Don’t worry if not, if your website designer is a graphic designer they should be able to help you – or they will at least be able to point you towards an excellent graphic designer.
Do you have a domain name already, or do you have one in mind?
Have you looked at competitors websites?
Do you have an idea of who your audience will be/is?
Are you prepared to self-manage your website or do you need someone who will manage it with you?
What additional pages do you want on the website (about, blog, contact)?
How do you plan to market your website after?
Once your website is live you will need to tell people about it and promote it. Otherwise, it’s a bit like designing a poster for an event and leaving it in your living room – no one will ever see it! Social media is a great tool for this but you can also utilise paid for advertising to give things a jump-start.
Why should someone shop with you over a competitor? What makes you different/better?
Are you ready to set up your online store?
If you can answer all of these questions you are fully ready to get started on your website – and about halfway through writing the terms and conditions and FAQ section of your site too.
And, of course, just get in touch if you’re looking for any guidance with your website and graphic design.