- It is a relatively easy and cost-effective option when compared to opening a bricks and mortar shop.
- You will have access to a much wider potential catchment / market that you would have with even a chain of retail outlets.
- Very low overhead.
- Ability to service new opportunities / retail trends very quickly.
- Relatively quick time to open.
Things to Consider
- You will still need to organise the logistics of delivering your product to your buyers.
- You will need to source good supply chains for your products. It is always advisable to keep minimal stock on your shelves in order to aid cash-flow, so a supplier that is quick to get product to you is a benefit.
- Entering a large number of product lines can be time consuming.
- You will have to spend time marketing your shop, creating fresh interest with special offers, and maintaining your stock list. If you have an existing bricks and mortar shop you may need to dedicate a member of staff (or several members) to your online operation.
What you will need
A payment gateway (Payment Processor)
A payment processor will transact payments from all major credit and debit cards. Our recommended option, SagePay will also accept payments through PayPal.
We recommend a third party payment gateway for a number of reasons, not least of which is the peace of mind you get with their fraud checking systems. Transacting this way also creates a buffer between the customers credit card and you. If the customers card is defrauded, then you can quite happily point them toward your payment processor for compensation.
A merchant account
This is a bank account that is authorised to accept online payments. These payments will be generated by your Payment Gateway and dropped in to your merchant account.
A Shipping Solution
You should consider how you are going to ship your products to your customers and more importantly what you are going to charge. This will impact how your online shop works, you may have more success offering free shipping (including the cost of the shipping in your products).
If you decide that you are going to charge for postage, then you will need to decide how you are going to calculate the cost. This will vary depending on the type of product you sell.
Common methods include:
- Flat Rate – one cost whatever the item
- Weight based – the e-commerce software calculates cost depending on the weight of the products, you will need to input the weight and size (in most cases) of every product in your shop.
- Table rate – e.g £0 – £5 = £2.50 shipping cost | £5.01 – £15 = £4.50 shipping cost | £15.01 – £100 = £10.00 shipping cost.
If you decide that an e-commerce solution is for you, get in touch. We would be happy to have a no obligation chat about your plans and how [highlight]we can make this exciting step pain free.[/highlight]