Top 10 Tips for Setting up an Online Store

The world of online shopping is a very competitive business industry so it helps to have a well thought out plan for your online store design and development.  

There are 3 key areas of importance to any website, particularly online shopping websites:

Ranking - Making sure your website is found by search engines
Conversion - Getting people to actually buy from your online store
Retention - Keep customers coming back to your site

Here are our 10 best tips to consider when starting an Online Store:

1) Choose a well-known platform
There is no point reinventing the wheel by using custom solutions for eCommerce.  There are plenty of tried and tested eCommerce platforms you can use.  Trying to figure out the best one to use is the challenge!  Make sure you choose one that is popular, has great support and produces beautiful looking shops.  We recommend Shopify - it can be set up without any customisation.  But ideally if you have the expertise, you can also customise the HTMl and CSS to tailor your website specifically to your business.

2) Fast loading pages
There is nothing more frustrating than a page that is a slow to load when you visit a website.  Most people will just move on to another website when this happens.  Make sure your use a platform that fast loading pages and don't use things like flash which can slow things down.

3) Be original with your content 
Make sure you take your own photos and write your own descriptions for the products you are selling.  If you don't, your content will be more or less the same as other online shops that purchase from the same supplier.

4) Search engine ranking
Search for a keyword that your hoping to rank highly for and compare the results.  If the websites are badly designed or outdated then you've got a good chance of our ranking them and selling in that area.  If they're fantastic websites and doing well then consider whether you can actually compete with them.  

Your site needs to be more than just a shop - write high quality blog posts to keep the content on your web page fresh, link to your own products and establish yourself as an expert in your chosen topic. This will help gain your customers trust and also increase your search engine ranking.  Make sure you can allow your customers to share your products via social media.  Include customer reviews or videos about your product and these may also appear in your search results to encourage customers to visit your site.

5) Retain Customers
The best way to retain customers is to get them to sign up to a newletter.  Prompt your customers to sign up to a newsletter throughout your website, and make sure this process is quick and easy to do.  Giving a discount coupon off a customer’s next order is also a great way to entice them back for another sale.

6) Social Media
Facebook is a direct marketing tool and its free so you’d be silly not to take advantage of it.  You can interact with your customers, answer questions, run competitions, notify customers about new products, sales and discounts. 

Pinterest is also becoming more and more popular and can also be used to drive sales by pinning your products to a board. Displaying social media buttons on each website page is essential - including your product pages.

7) Do some research
Make sure you know what your want to achieve with your online store website. Check out what your competition is doing and how you can do it better.

8) Consider Postage Costs
The one major down side of shopping online is the additional of postage or shipping costs to a product purchase. Offer free postage if you can, or research your options for sending goods to customers and try and get the costs accurate and as low as possible.

9) Website Design
A stunning looking website makes all the difference but make sure your website design matches what you are selling.  Think about your target market and what kind of look and feel you think will appeal to them when viewing your website.

10) DIY stores verses using professional services
If you are a new business then you’ll probably be looking for a low cost solution with basic ecommerce functionality to begin with, but with the ability to use more advanced ecommerce features in the future.  If you decide to run your own store, then you need to decide whether to set this up yourself or to use a professional. 

This decision will depend on a range of issues: your budget, your level of technical knowledge, the amount of customisation required and the amount of time you have.  An ecommerce platform can enable you to get online quickly with a fully functional site at a low cost.  However a web designer will add that professional touch to your website that will give more assurance to customers and hopefully increase sales.

Creative Web Designs has a couple of very affordable eCommerce website packages available to get your online store website up and running with a professional look and feel.  We’ll create your stunning website for you and afterwards you’ll be able to add/update content, add new categories/products, add new functionality etc with no further costs involved.  

We also provide email support and helpful tips and tutorials to assist you with this. Contact us now to kick start your online store development.