Are you thinking about creating an online shop? The decision for creating an online shop may be easy but the process can be difficult. Especially if you are inexperienced. But is it really so hard? Let’s discuss the main steps of creating an online shop.
Creating an online shop is one of the most popular spheres of internet activities.
Successful online shops contain the elements of a search system, information resources, display of price lists and a trade portal. In general it can be a quite difficult and involved process.
- publish a product
- receive an order
- receive payment
- ship product to client
The internet is used as a way of providing your potential client with information about your services, and on the other hand you receive the information about his intentions.
The core of the shop is your product and the system of its publication on the site.
Creating an online shop requires creating an online product catalog. Images must be scanned or located and descriptions must be written. Writing the descriptions is quite easy but will take some time.
The structure of the catalog has a direct influence on the structure of the site. If you place the products according to goods it is not a guarantee that it will be convenient for visitors of your site.
While creating an online shop, you need to take into consideration the way that your web site audience prefers to see the classification of products.
The structure of the site is not just product categories, you also need to add pages with information about the shop, help in navigation and purchase. All kinds of helpers and hints that will tell visitors that it is a good and reliable resource to make a purchase.
Another serious element to consider when creating an online shop– is a customer forum. Many online shops do not want to risk adding forums to their site. Unfortunately, the statistics show that among 100 customers only one will thank you for a good service and out of 10 people who had some problems – all 10 will say something bad. You have to cope with it and customers appreciate seeing the open forum.
Web site design also plays a significant role in creating your online shop. Design can be the key to your success. Internet shops offer almost everything; if you start to sell a product that no one else sells, you can be sure – in several months you will have competitors. In such a situation the visitor’s impression of your web site design will be a key factor.
When creating an online shop don’t forget to make it user-friendly! Make sure that the text of the menu and the description is easy to read and the phrases are understandable. The color and graphic elements are also very important.
It is not all about art education and conceptual vision, but also about knowledge of online shopping insights and how one perceives the site as an integrated system. The main task of the designer is to save the functionality and give it an attractive and representative appearance.
Now you are ready to publish your products catalog on the web site. For this you need a mechanism that will allow you to publish products or groups of products on the site, define the place of publication (front page, catalog, special offer) and the way of its presentation (name, description, price, dimensions, images). And it is also advisable to publish news, help materials, tutorials, anything that may be interesting for your site visitors.
Managing your online shop should be executed by a professional manager. The manager should know internet technologies and the specifics of products offered on your shop.
As a rule creating an online shop continues after opening the shop. Products will be updated, new tasks will constantly appear, forum moderation will be needed, orders will be processed, client communication is required, and the list goes on.
You’ve created the part of the shop that allows you to provide clients with information about the products. Now let’s look at the question of receiving and processing the information about customers’ intention. As a rule, the process of online shopping consists of 3 steps:
- Searching for a product
- Adding it to a shopping cart
- Placing an order.
All these processes must be finished by clicking a «Submit» (“Order”, “Buy”, “Finish order”) button and then the content of shopping cart and information about the customer is sent to your manager.
The operations with information and its processing depends on ‘back office’ settings. A well-organised back office can substitute a great number of managers. It has the data base of orders and it is easy to monitor the execution there, and it also has a data base of clients and the history of their purchases.
Creating an online shop requires a system of automated warehousing and accounting. The time for creation of these two systems will take much time and effort, but this part of creating an online shop will later influence how you use the advantages that internet commerce gives you.
Don’t forget to build a contact page on your site. It is advisable to embed a web form. A customized web form where visitors may leave their message to you will make them feel that you care about their opinion and want to make your resource better for them.
Now you are ready to start your advertising campaign and meet your first clients. Once you have the first 100 visitors or the first 10 orders, you will better understand how the system works.
Olga Orlova is a content manager for Prima Development Group a global IT company. Olga’s field of expertise includes webdesign, marketing, ebusiness and ecommerce. She is happy to share ideas with other internet users and can be reached at email@example.com. to discuss creating an online shop.