Website Design With An Online Shop
Whether you’re an individual who is looking at setting up an online shop or a company that already sells goods in a ‘brick-and-mortar’ store but not online, you could be missing out on an incredible revenue-generating opportunity. Launching an online store can seem daunting, challenging and out of reach for small businesses, which are often short on time, budget and staff. But if you have an existing website or are thinking of creating one for the first time then our e-commerce solutions make designing and maintaining an online store relatively simple and affordable, giving you a new customer base.
So you need a website with an online shop?
You have a website but need an online shop adding?
Regardless of your situation, we can help!
But first, let’s look at your options, we will consider what’s involved in setting up an online shop the right way, look at what elements or features you may need and give you the right advice before you proceed.
Things To Consider Before You Start Selling Online
Things to consider
If you’re forward thinking and are confident that your online shop will be a success then it’s important to choose the right software, you don’t want to fall short when it comes to add-ons, upgrades, features and bandwidth as your shop starts to pick up pace and customers. Choose right at the start to avoid unwanted surprises.
You have two choices:
- Hosted — essentially store software run on a server provided and maintained by the same company, with one monthly payment.
- Self-hosted — you use a web designer or pick and pay for the server, and download, install, and maintain the eCommerce software yourself.
There are advantages to each. Hosted sites are often preferred by new store owners due to ease of setup, but they lack the same kind of control over features that self-hosted sites do. If you’re selling you want to be in full control of your online shop.
Without the power to run your shop and maintain changes due to technology, you’ll be hanging the closed sign on your door before you can offer a 10% discount. It’s time to choose a host that can deliver the goods. We use tso host, which is a UK based web hosting provider that offers super fast cloud hosting, daily backups, and powerful scaling hosting plans.
It’s important to consider that what works for your online shop now might not work in six months to a year. You need a host that gives you room to grow and expand without too much cost. You should be able to add more RAM, get more bandwidth, add storage, etc. without being punished – or your online shop being disabled.
Although many e-commerce solutions come packed with security benefits you’ll still need to check you have these essential technical aspects in place before you start selling:
- A SSL certificate, which secures credit card and other sensitive transactions
- No permanent or plain-text storage of sensitive customer data, like credit card numbers or security codes
- Secure password requirements and storage, meaning you don’t allow “1234” as a valid account password, nor do you store it in plain-text
- Server protection like a firewall or a host-provided maintenance service
Some merchant providers (including PayPal) store the personal or sensitive details on their servers. When someone arrives at the checkout to pay they will be directed to the merchant/PayPal website to finalize the transaction.
Always keep an eye out for updates which are usually made through your CMS platform or the relevant online shop provider. Fixing any issues early can prevent your customers from becoming victim to potential identity or fraud threats.
Routine backups to your website and software are essential when running an online shop, this process is as important as uploading a new product. Although your host will perform daily backups we would recommend either setting a backup schedule yourself or request this option in your management plan.
Consider this: would you rather spend a few extra pounds a month to have peace of mind, or possibly spend a hundred hours setting your website or online shop up from scratch again… and losing sales in the process?
Once your customers place an order with you, how are you going to get your products to them? And how do you plan on sending them tracking information, or even printing out the appropriate labels to place on their boxes?
If you choose to use the woo-commerce software your shipping, labels and tracking details etc will be taken care of, you will have to choose your preferred settings but once you’ve spent a little time on this your delivery options will be a simple procedure for all locations.
Your software should be able to handle these basic requirements:
- Automated management of outgoing shipments
- Creation and printing of shipping label for packages
- Import of tracking information for your orders and automated customer emails
If you’re using PayPal exclusively then your shipping, labels, and tracking details can be organised and set in your PayPal account.
Finally, with all of the other elements starting to take shape you’ll need a way of accepting all those lovely transactions from your new online shop. There are hundreds of available options, but choosing the right one for you can be a difficult and a daunting process, to say the least. Here are a few pointers to consider first:
- If you need a merchant account to use the gateway you select, apply for one right away to reduce the waiting period
- Whether you go with integrated or hosted should depend on customer preference and how much time you have available
- Nearly all gateways have fees, but keep in mind that up-front costs could negate higher monthly ones, long-term
- If you’re planning to offer bookings or subscriptions, keep an eye out for gateways that offer automatic billing – not all support this feature
Ready to start selling?
The information we provide is only a guide to help you understand what might be involved, we are here to guide you through every step and answer any questions you may have. Whether you need a simple online shop solution or a fully loaded corporate online store we can offer endless options to suit your needs.
Need a little more convincing?
Offline shops are often expensive to run. They require reliable staff and endless running costs.
Online shops are usually cheaper to run. You are often the only staff with low running costs.
Let’s be honest, offline shops aren’t going anywhere, they’re ingrained into the fabric and structure of modern society and have been for hundreds of years. The need for online shopping was never necessary but has been generated for our convenience. People want things now! Getting everything delivered within the time frame you have asked for and being able to look at things virtually frees up more time for the consumer to live their lives.
What about you? Why should you choose an online shop for your business?
Consumers can purchase products from anywhere in the world
This means that your shop is available to millions of people that might not have otherwise seen your products. Compared to customers that may walk past your shop on the high street, this is a big selling point.
Consumers can get the products delivered wherever, whenever
Although shipping costs may be slightly more than a carrier bag, the number of sales you receive offline can’t compare or compete with online sales.
Access from a laptop, tablet or mobile
Online access gives millions of people the ability to look through your shop window from anywhere in the world.
Online shop software and website running costs work out at the fraction of what it costs to run a high street shop, there’s no rent, gas, electric, rates, water, wages, shop equipment, office supplies etc.
More free time
Although you’re going to be busy, once the initial setup phase is complete and your online shop is working, apart from the standard product management, shipping and returns procedures you’ll have more free time to spend living life. You can complete all this from the comforts of your own home.
Imagine having to stay open 24/7 on the high street, it would never happen. This is one of the beauties of owning your online shop, now you can. There are no opening or closing times when selling online, skies the limit.