With the momentous rise of the internet, it is likely to be only a matter of time before you start thinking about setting up an online shop. We can’t say that we blame you: the data speaks for itself. In 2020, over two million people purchased goods or services online whilst our high streets are beginning to resemble ghost towns. The pandemic has certainly accelerated the high street’s decline - with online shopping emerging as a convenient and easy way to pick up essentials, new clothes, and the weekly food shop. 
 
It’s no surprise that you don’t want to be left behind, but you do need to have a real think about whether you are ready to take the plunge. You need to be sure of yourself, your company, and your products. To help you think things through, we’ve put together a list of seven questions that you need to ask yourself before you set up an ecommerce business of your own. 
 
Without further ado… 

1. What products or services will I sell online? 

Before you get ahead of yourself, you need to sort out the basics: what exactly are you going to sell. Will it be mass produced products or something a little more unique? Most importantly, it needs to be something that you are passionate about - you need to believe in what you are selling as this will make your products a lot easier to market. Also, it’s important to remember that the products you sell in a brick-and-mortar shop might not always be suited to ecommerce. Whatever you choose, make sure you are confident that it will be a success. 

2. Can I sell these products online? 

Now you have decided what you’re going to sell, you need to start thinking about all the details and logistics of selling them online. How will you replace the experience of shopping in person? How will you entice customers to buy these products? You need to also think carefully about the size and weight of your products as this will affect how much they cost to ship and the price you are able to sell them for. That leads us onto cost… if you’re struggling to see where profit will be made, you may need to have a little rethink. After all, whatever you’re selling needs to be financially viable for your online business to succeed. 

3. How will I source these products? 

If you’re going to make the products yourself, you need to think about how you will source your raw materials. What do you need? What do they cost? How are you going to store them? If you’re going to source your products from a third party, you really need to do your research - find a great selection, test them out, try them for yourself…you get the idea. 

4. How will I deliver these products? 

Efficient delivery is a key part of the online shopping experience, so you need to make sure that you have all the logistics sorted. Dropshipping is a good method to consider if you do choose to source your products from a third party - this means that you won’t have to keep any products in stock, reducing the amount of storage you will need. However, as with anything it comes with its challenges as issues with the suppliers and shipping may be trickier for you to solve from a distance. So, before you choose your delivery method make sure you have thought through every detail to ensure that it will run as smoothly as possible. 

5. Who is my target customer? 

You need to be aware who you think will buy your products so that all your branding and marketing can be directed towards them. If you’re unsure, you might need to have a look at your analytics to try to determine who your product or service is most popular with. Is it a particular age range? A particular gender? Perhaps you might even need to have a look to see who the target market of your competitors is. It is crucial that you get this right, so it is worth taking the time to make sure you have a clear target customer in mind. 

6. Who is my competition? 

To be successful in any business venture, you need to have a thorough understanding of your competitors who are offering something similar or perhaps even exactly the same as you. The internet is always a good place to start! Google a few key words or phrases that people would use to find your business and then have a nosey around other businesses that show up in the search engine results. Hint: You should also have a peak at their social media accounts as well! Have a thorough look at what your competitors are doing and how your strengths and weaknesses lie in comparison. How can you make sure that your business stands out from the crowd? 

7. What laws do I need to be aware of? 

It is never good to take a risk when you’re dealing with the law, so we would recommend getting in touch with an experienced advisor to help you navigate through all things legal and financial. You need to make sure you’ve thought about insurance, licences, VAT, trademarks… the list goes on, and we’re pretty sure it is best to leave this to the professionals! 
Now you’ve sorted out all the details, it’s time to get creative and make that ecommerce website! You will need to have a think about everything your website will need: photos of your products, product details, customer reviews, an efficient payment system, etc. 
 
This is where it might get a little more complicated than you first imagined, and it will certainly be time to call in the experts. Creating a professional website is no walk in the park and not something that you can juggle easily when running your own business. This is where the team here at it’seeze come in - we take the hassle out of getting a website designed for your business by taking care of everything for you. We manage every aspect of the website design, technical maintenance, hosting, and security; providing you with complete peace of mind and a website you can be truly proud. Our Shop package makes selling simple and secure. And - it comes fully equipped with everything that you need to build a successful online business. Ecommerce success, here you come! 
 
If you need to get on with running your business and want to leave the web design and technical details to us, simply get in touch with us today and we will be more than happy to help get your ecommerce store up and running. 
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