With the availability of free and cheap web tools in the internet today, there is is no excuse of not having a your own catalog online if at all you have something that can be bought by others. You can start it as a part time income generation project or as a full time project depending on your availability and the goods/services you are selling. The following are detailed tips on how to start your own online shop from scratch.
What you will need:
A domain name. There are very many free domain name providers but I would suggest you go for a premium provider. You may get your own domain name for as low as $10 per year.
A web host. Choose a host depending on the extra services they are offering. Also put into consideration the storage space you will be getting and the security of the their systems. A web host like HostGator will offer you a ‘cPanel’ that is equipped with numerous professional tools.
A shopping cart. A shopping cart is simply a web script that is available for free. A simple Google search will help you find a free shopping cart script. You can also get an IT guy o tailor make one for you.
IP address. You can get a dedicated IP address for $55 per year. A dedicated IP will make your site more secure.
An online payment method. The most popular one is Paypal.
After you confirm all of the above, set up your web page and make sure the domain name is pointing to your web host. A nice website will be user-friendly with everything neatly arranged. Include pages about your business and be sure to have a ‘FAQ’ and a ‘Terms and Conditions’ page. These pages may be static pages since they rarely change. If you are not familiar with setting up a website, get an IT guy who you trust to do it for you.
After everything is set up and tested, you can now embark on a vigorous campaign to market your page and products. You can advertise online, in local newspapers and media houses but make sure the word is out. The more people know about your site the more customers you get. Remember if you are planning to sell your products all the world then you must have good and reliable shipping plans. Shipments should be cheap, fast and reliable.If you already have a shop already setup, you can improve it by making one or two changes.
Keep your customers informed.
Have a blog page where you can interact with customers and get their views.
Keep your software up to date.
Categorise your products and have a search feature.
Make your checkout process quick and easy.
Connect your shop to your social media pages like Twitter and Facebook.
The success of your online shop is in your hand. For it to be successful ensure that;
Your website is easy to navigate.
Accessible always, meaning your server must be reliable.
You have properly advertised your shop.
Your pricing is fair and competitive. Offer promotional discounts when possible.
You have a reliable payment system that is easy to use, minimal charges, faster processing of transactions and security. It is highly recommended that you have different payment methods.
You must have a dedicated customer support and if possible a live support. Your FAQ page should live up to its name.