Planning and website strategy for your online shop
Over the years I have developed many e-commerce websites – from an e-book to a fully integrated website with multiple shops.
With each project I found that planning is key for success, as answering questions before starting the process will save time and money and will make the experience for both you and your customers better.
Recently I had to reinforce this issue with a few clients and so decided to write a new blog post and include a few main issues that you need to consider before you set up an online shop
1. Point of sale
Is this your only point of sale or is it to compliment a brick and mortar shop?
This question is mostly to do with stock and POS systems. If you have a physical shop with inventory shared between the website and the shop, the systems need to ‘talk’ to each other so inventory on your site is always accurate.
This will affect the platform and systems integrated.
Product photos are an essential part of an online shop. If you only have a few items to sell, a one off professional photo shoot will be enough but if you update stock regularly, invest in a good camera and a photo box, so all photos are consistent and look professional.
Remember - white background photos will work best with most websites.
3. Delivery / Postage:
How will you package and post your goods? can they be posted or must be delivered door to door?
Are you restricted by delivery locations (state, country)?
How much will it cost you to package / post deliver? will you charge a fee?
These are important questions to ask as this will need to be set up as part of your online shop. If you are not set up for delivery, you cannot start selling online!
Terms, exchange, refunds – these are issues that you will need to consider before launching your online shop.
In most cases you will be able to use a template document provided by the platform (for example Shopify has some excellent examples) but if your terms are a bit more complex you might want a lawyer to review and draft a document for you.
Are you set up to receive online payments? There are many options available they vary in cost.
The platform you use will also affect the decision.
For example, Squarespace only works with STRIPE and PayPal & Shopify works with a wider selection.
Do your research and compare benefits and fees.
How do you want to communicate to customers once they purchased?
Most system offer an automated email confirmation and you can change the text / look of these emails. You can also send a confirmation once package left or send a customer survey after. There are many options and it will be a good idea to take note once you come across a shopping experience you like. Everything matters and effects the overall customer experience.
Maintaining an active online shop takes time!
If you are expecting a few orders a day, take into account handling and processing orders, posting orders, and handling customer enquiries.
Also consider the time it takes to add new stock to your site, taking photos, writing description and uploading.
In conclusion, understanding these issues beforehand can save you time and money.
It is best to work on a website strategy and address these issues before starting the project.
Your web developer will then be able to review your strategy and suggest the best solution for your online shop.