A successful webshop start-up: 11 things to keep in mind
Cool, you want to start a webshop! Whether you're going to curate products from other brands into an original collection, or sell homemade items or merchandise: you've undoubtedly come up with a creative idea. And what about us? We made a checklist especially for you, with 11 things to keep in mind when starting an online shop. Ready, set, go!
First things first: determine your budget. Building a web shop and putting it on the market is not something you pay for lightly. With a predetermined budget, you know what to expect and you can avoid unforeseen costs.
What does a web shop cost? That depends of course on how extensive it should be and what functionalities you are looking for. If you make your own webshop with a template from a platform, you will pay an average of 500 euros per year in subscription costs. This is excluding paid plugins, the fees to your payment provider and your marketing budget.
If you have a webshop custom built, then you will obviously pay a larger sum. This can go from 3,000 euros for small webshops to 25,000 euros for large e-commerce platforms. You also have to maintain your webshop, so don't think you pay a lot once and then you're done. No idea where to start with your budget? Then ask advice from colleagues, your accountant or a financial advisor.
2.Your name and domain name
Do you already have a website and now you want to add a web shop? Then you already have a domain name registered and you don't have to worry about it. If this is not the case and you are starting from scratch, it is important to give your shop a name for which the domain name is still available. Also check to see if the name you have come up with is still available on social media. For example, on Instagram and Twitter you cannot choose a username that is already in use.
3. A solid platform
The platform in which you build your webshop is just as important as the shell of a house. You can be as good as you like at decorating, but without a solid and reliable foundation, you run the risk of your project collapsing. When deciding which platform to go for, first ask yourself whether you are going to build your web shop yourself or hire an agency to do it for you.
Both options have advantages and disadvantages. Setting up your own webshop in Wix, Shopify, Squarespace or Lightspeed, for example, is often cheaper and goes smoothly if you're familiar with the web. But the functionalities are more limited, while a custom-built website allows you to work more out of the box.
In addition, a web builder usually chooses an open-source system. This means that you always remain the owner of the source code of your website and are not dependent on the provider. Moreover, with an open-source system you retain all control and do not work with plugins from external parties, which is the case with many closed-source platforms. At Kick And Rush we build webshops in Magento, an open source system full of possibilities!
4. Attractive and functional design
Of course your design is important - it forms the first impression for your website visitors, even before they have discovered your product range. There are two important points to consider here:
Branding. As a brand you have a certain style and personality that you communicate to your visitors through your design. This way they quickly feel: is this something for me? But you also give your shop a character that stands out.
User friendliness. A smooth user flow and clear navigation ensure more conversion. Think of clear call-to-actions, a simple menu, buttons that change color ... We are talking about User Experience or UX, a specialization in itself that you certainly may not overlook.
5.SEO or search engine optimizationOf course you want potential customers to visit your webshop and buy your products, right ? Then the crucial step in achieving this is to take SEO into account: Search Engine Optimization. Strong SEO ensures that Google distinguishes your website as one of the best and that you appear higher in the search results. Not among the advertised results, but as an organic hit for which you basically do not pay.
It may not be a form of advertising, but SEO does require an effort. And patience, too. You can't expect to throw your web shop online today and be at the top of the Google rankings tomorrow. If you know nothing about SEO, let a professional assist you. He or she will advise and even help you with both technical SEO (optimization of the backend) and SEO texts and other content.
6. Legal obligations
Selling online is not something you do lightly. To be in order and avoid fines, you must be registered according to the NACEBEL codes. In addition, you must include a number of legally required details on your webshop:
- Contact details of your company, including a physical address
- Your trade name, company and VAT number, register of legal entities (RPR) and company form
- General terms and conditions of sale in which you include agreements about payment, delivery, returns and warranty
It is important that this information is visible before your visitor makes a purchase. For example, you can use a checkbox during checkout that indicates the buyer agrees to your terms and conditions, which you provide a direct link to. Note: the checkbox should not be checked automatically!
7. SSL certificateJust like in a physical store, security is very important for online shopping. If your webshop is not secured, hackers can intercept data traffic to your website and obtain personal and credit card information from your buyers. We don't want that, right? It is essential to protect your customers privacy to keep them in confidence.
An SSL certificate ensures that all data is encrypted beyond recognition and cannot be intercepted by hackers. Most browsers indicate in the address bar whether a website is SSL-certified or not - an important go or no-go for your webshop visitors. Besides the SSL certificate, you can also obtain other badges that underline the security of your online store, such as that of Becommerce.
Are you having an online shop built by an experienced e-commerce partner such as Kick And Rush? Then you can be sure that you are safe, and so are your buyers!
Ready to get your products online! But do you already have quality packshots? Just like in a physical store, website visitors shop very visually and product photos are an indispensable part of that. They radiate confidence, because with high quality product shots the buyer knows much better what he puts in his shopping cart. The details are visible, the texture of the fabric is well exposed, you can see the product from different angles ... Good pack shots can really be the convincing factor to lead a website visitor to make a purchase.
9. Engaging content
By content we mean everything that adds ingredients to your webshop. Think about well-written texts, interesting blog articles and engaging videos. Adding content to your website will make you increase your brand value and give your potential buyer interesting insights about your products, but also the world around your brand.
For example, you can highlight tips on your blog to get started with your product. Do you have a food store? Then recipes are ideal. Do you sell clothing? Write blogs about the latest fashion trends and link them to the items in your shop. Beauty store? Then you can list tips from a refreshing morning skincare routine to a makeup look for eyeglass wearers. And once your shop has a certain fan base, you can get creative with testimonials.
Also fun: video tutorials. Videos are easier and faster to consume than texts, but of course require more time and effort to create. Plus, they boost your SEO. Visitors who watch a video, stay longer on your page. And Google sees this as a signal that interesting content is being shown - hello search result boost.
10. Marketing and sales strategy
Now that you have set up a solid, visually attractive and engaging webshop, it's time to spread the news. Because those buyers will not come by themselves! With a strong marketing and sales strategy, you attract your target audience to your web shop and encourage them to convert.
Important in your strategy is of course your annual marketing budget, which you have already determined. With this you can advertise, for example on Google, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram. And you can appeal to influencers to put your products in the spotlight with their audience. If you're not familiar with this, be sure to call in a marketing agency to help you. After all, you want to get the most out of your investment and get real results.
In your marketing and sales strategy you also think about actions and promotions. For example, you can periodically work with a gift with purchase to give your products a sales boost. You can also offer something for free when your customers purchase a specific product or from a certain amount. In this way, you make them feel important and they will probably place future orders.
11. Customer support
Here they are, your first customers! Now it is important that you follow up on them and help them when necessary. Nothing is as disappointing as a beautiful web shop with crappy customer service behind it. Make a plan for customer support: how will you guide your customers and answer their questions?
For example, you can integrate a chat box in your shop that is linked to Facebook Messenger, so that you can assist your customers anywhere and anytime. WhatsApp is also often used for customer service these days. Often you can program automatic answers to common questions into a chat system that will make you win some time.
Important: let your customers know within what time they can expect an answer. And don't forget the value of a good old phone call. Some people still find it easiest to just call you with a question or comment.
Another useful feature is an FAQ page, where website visitors can immediately find the answers to frequently asked questions. Do you want to help your potential customers find the perfect product for their needs? Then you can get creative with a product finder quiz.
Need support in setting up your own webshop? We are here to help. At Kick And Rush we specialize in e-commerce and can help you with your strategy, design and sales. On top of that our team is happy to build your webshop in Magento and provide your online store with an aesthetically pleasing design.