Ever since the internet’s popularity took off in the early 1990’s, just about every company who wants to succeed has at least a minimal online presence. Many companies will have their own website, several social media accounts, a blog and, in increasing numbers, an online shop where they can sell their products to customers all over the world.
Known as ecommerce, online sales are something millions of companies worldwide are reliant on in order to boost their income, and some of the world’s biggest firms have made a success of online retailing. Supermarket chains such as Sainsbury’s and Tesco make a significant amount of profit from selling goods online, while rival Morrison’s have only just broken into the online grocery market.
Don’t get left behind
As the Bradford-based chain have discovered, not using the internet as well as their stores to sell groceries can be costly; but if your business hasn’t given ecommerce a chance, it’s not too late. Even if your company doesn’t actually have a proper website with a unique web address, it’s still possible to set up shop on the net.
The first thing you need to do is buy web hosting space and a domain name (unless you already have both and a fully-functioning website). They can be purchased together as part of the same package, and once you own them, you have a blank. Once you have that, you’ve got the space needed to create an online shop.
Here are some of the most important things you need in order to get your eShop up and running:
- A payment gateway
- A shopping cart widget – some web design tools have the capability to add these
- A business e-mail address – essential for ecommerce
- An SSL certificate – important for accepting credit/debit card payments
- A shipping company to handle long-distance and overseas delivery
- Someone within your business to handle the ecommerce operation
- Social media accounts
- Web analytics to monitor sales of each product
- Accounts on large ecommerce sites including eBay and Amazon – this can work as a back-up option in case your online shop malfunctions for some reason
After all this is arranged and put in its right place, the next step is working out what you want to sell. Choose products that are easy to deliver, as that will improve your chances of selling, while providing as wide a range as possible can be useful too.
Getting Started and use what you can
According to VPS provider’s daily.co.uk, “Starting administration through a Virtual Private Server (VPS) gives you control and performance of a dedicated server at very low costs suitable for a small business e-Shop. Virtual server packages are tailored to each client’s needs and are designed specifically to host your e-commerce business as fast and reliably as possible. Using everything Web 2.0 has to offer is essential for making your online shop work. Use social and cross-selling features to generate improved conversion rates and higher sales, while also creating a blog can help to further improve traffic to your site and e-Shop.”