Selling online – your questions answered

374147_low_web.gifThe Internet has previously been considered a holy grail for wealth and massive revenues. Although that perception had to be amended, it is still true that your web site can provide you with additional income. However, not every product or service is suitable to be sold online. Always remember that your customers will judge the experience, not only the product. This means if your delivery system is not efficient or your delivery costs are too high people are unlikely to buy from you again. Having said that, most products and even services can be sold online and today’s sophisticated systems, such as Winweb Shop, make the set up and maintenance of your online shop very easy.

Frequently Asked Questions about selling online

a) How much does the set up of an online shop cost?
Set up and maintenance cost for your online shop differ vastly depending on which supplier you choose. You can ask your hosting company to provide you with an online shop facility. Also, it depends on whether you want to accept credit card payments or only allow users to browse your catalogue and then call you to order. Winweb OnlineOffice provides all single parts you need to set up your online shop through one interface.

b) Take credit card payments for e-commerce with our partner PayPal?
Yes, there are different ways of accepting credit card payments on your e-commerce site. You can either list your products on your website, provide a telephone number and process every order manually, or (taking advantage of Internet technology) you can accept credit card payments securely online. Winweb can handle the entire process securely for you. You only need to decide what to sell online. Winweb E-payment lets you take credit card payments directly into your bank account.

c) How can I drive customers to my website?
There are different methods of advertising your website. Start by mentioning your online shop on all your business stationery, in your brochures, etc. You need to optimise your site for search engines and register it with them and sending well written announcements to relevant press is also a must. Depending on your product you can also announce your store in newsgroups, place flyers in local shops, at the dentist or wherever your clients are likely to see them.

d) Can I compete with the huge number of suppliers already online?
Yes. You have to make sure that you target the right market and identify your competitive advantage. This might be local knowledge, customised products or better customer service. If you had your business for some time you will know what sets you apart from competitors. Play on these strengths when you set up your online shop. To start off you will give your existing clients a new channel to interact with you. Work with them and ask them what they like and dislike about your product, service and web shop.

e) Is selling online profitable?
Again, the Internet is not the solution to all your sales problems. It has to be seen as an integral part of your business strategy. If you product is not suitable for selling online you shouldn’t force online sales. How ever, if you plan your shop properly and calculate the costs involved, prepare for increased demand and monitor your ROI (return on investment) closely, your online shop can provide a substantial amount of income.

f) How long does it take to set up my online shop?
Setting up your online shop doesn’t take much time. It depends, however on the nature and number of products you wish to sell. You need a description, price and picture of each product. Ideally, you should also have customer testimonials.
If you use a template system, like Winweb Shop, entering the single products and modifying the look and feel of your shop is a very straight forward and quick process.

g) How much control can I have over my own online shop?
The online shop you choose should give you the level of control you need. Of course you should be able to add or remove products and change prices or discounts anytime. How much control you want to have over the actual design and look of your shop depends either on your programming skills or the amount of money you want to spend designing your shop. The Winweb solution is very flexible when it comes to product management. It also is directly linked to your accounting system, which means every transaction is automatically booked.

Checklist for your online shop

  • Which products / services do you want to sell online?
  • Will you sell only to UK residents, other countries or worldwide?
  • How will you send your goods to your customers?
  • For each product: 100 word description, 500 word description, professional picture, price.
  • Terms and conditions for your customers?
  • Who in your company will look after fulfillment of online orders?
  • How much business do you expect to come through the website?
  • What is your return and refund policy?
  • Where will you promote your new shop?

Tags: Business Development, Business Start Up, E-Commerce, Exporting, Home Business, Micro Business, Office/IT, PayPal, Online Shop, SaaS, Selfemployed, Small Business, smb, sme, sme-blog, Software as a Service, Web Technology, WinWeb

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