Three Questions to Ask Yourself When You’re Setting up Your New E-Commerce Website
If you have decided to start selling anything online using a website you own and manage, then you are probably excited to get started. Whether you are someone with a physical shop who wants to branch out into online selling, someone who currently sells on other platforms like eBay but believes it is time for their own online shop, or you are starting a completely new venture, running your own online store can be an easy way to sell your products or products you can source to a wide audience of people.
Setting up your actual shop is quite easy, particularly if you use a package designed for this – the most popular being Magento ecommerce. Magento lets you design the front end of your online store by applying a theme just as you would for any other site, and also lets you manage all of your catalogue content and shopping cart functionality through a very intuitive back office area, with built in things to do everything for you once it has been configured the way you want it. However, while from a tech point of view creating a web shop is easy, you do still need to make some decisions to avoid problems further down the line. Here are three things you'll need to have decided on while you are designing your online store to be able to move forward smoothly:
Where Are You Prepared to Ship to?
One of the benefits of the web is that you can theoretically sell to anyone in the world, however due to shipping and different laws in different countries, if you want to actually do this you need to be prepared. If you want to keep things simple you should only sell in your own country, meaning there are not different shipping costs to calculate for different customers and you don't have to make exclusions to policies you may have in place for promotional reasons like free shipping on orders over a certain value. You also don't have to worry about import laws, taxes or any of that complicated stuff. If you really want to sell overseas, you need to do your research and make sure you are compliant.
What Is Your Returns Policy?
There may well be laws affecting the rights your customers have, but are you going to go with the bare minimum or offer a more generous return policy and use that as a selling point? Make sure you have all your terms and conditions there on your site, but also, make sure you understand them yourself.
What Support Will You Offer?
Many small businesses only offer customer support by email, but you do need to offer some way for customers to talk to you (or part of your team) if there is something amiss or they just want to give feedback. Decide how people can contact you and make this information prominent on your website.
These are three key policy choices you have to make before you put your site live, and will give you a good strategy for operating your business, too!