Over the last 30 or so years, the web, computers and technology have completely transformed modern retailing. With e-commerce now an established and highly popular way of buying goods, there’s never been a better time to think about starting your own online e-com firm – but just where do you start when it comes to setting up an online store?
If you’re looking to start an online store, below are some tried and tested tips to help get you on your way to building your first e-commerce company.
Do comprehensive research and find your niche
In truth, it’s very unlikely you’re going to find a truly innovative service that doesn’t exist already online – but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t at least try to find a unique angle in what you’re offering. In many cases, these choices will be dictated by your particular skill set or area of expertise, so check to see what’s online already, then try to work out a way to make your goods or services stand out.
Choose a business name and corresponding URL
A business name is important in all settings but perhaps even more so when it comes to trading online. Ideally, you’ll want to pick something catchy that sums up what you’re going to be offering but is also short enough to avoid lengthy keystrokes when people come to visit your site. On the other hand, a long domain name will only be off-putting for potential (and existing) clients, so try to keep things short and snappy.
Work out how you’re going to get goods or services to clients
If you’re dealing with digital goods, delivery won’t prove a problem since you’ll likely be able to send files over the web. However, for pretty much all other types of goods and services, you’ll need to decide how you’re going to deliver goods to your clients. With the huge growth in online shopping in recent years, there is now a vast range of delivery services you could choose from – including those offered by specialist sites Shiply, where you can post courier jobs.
Decide on a DIY approach or hiring a specialist web development company
In recent years, there’s been a massive explosion in online web builder tools that allow anyone to build web-based e-commerce stores with little to no experience. However, unless you have at least some design or coding abilities, you’ll likely soon run into problems and most probably won’t achieve the results you could by partnering with a professional web development firm. So, as a general rule, if you want the best results, you should really enlist the skills of an expert web developer.
Choose a web hosting company
Like a real-world store, your site needs a home, and your choice of a web hosting company can have a huge influence on your site’s speed, reliability, and security. It’s worth noting, if you decide to use a professional development company, they will usually supply (or at least recommend) a reliable hosting company – thereby removing the onus and giving you peace of mind that you’re using a best in class hosting service.