Starting a web shop is a way to make a living from the Internet. People are buying more and more trough the Internet. Conventional stores are even suffering from the explosive growth of web shops in the last ten years. More than 70% has ordered something online, and these figures continue to increase. People used to search for information on the Internet and buy in a conventional store. This process is now more or less reversed. People are collecting information in conventional stores from actual salesman and buy their product online. There is a huge potential for selling products online, and this tutorial will explain you how.
The first thing you might want to do is sketch a small business plan. Which products are you going to sell? Are there any competitors? How big is the market for the product I want to sell? There are many factors you have to take into account. What are your weak points, your strong points? Are there any opportunities and threats for this specific market? Write about how you want to finance this plan, and what you want to sell. I for one import jewellery from Thailand and sell them with some success.
When you are done with sketching you might want to think of a good catchy name plus a slogan. Don’t go safe when thinking of a name. Make it original and sound exclusive, same goes for the slogan. Keep in mind what business you are in. Try to describe your unique selling points and create a slogan out of that. Ask some friends and family to help you to judge which names and slogans fit, and which don’t. It is better to not make them come up with a name, you might regret this later on in the process.
When you came up with a solid name, register a domain. Always register the local domain (for me that would be .nl since I am from the Netherlands) but make sure to grab the .com domain as well. There are many people who make a living out of registering and selling domain names. You do not want to become a victim of that.
When you did all the above, let someone create a logo. Be very picky about the logo because you will be stuck with it for years. Your logo is even more important than the name of your website. The logo really displays what your web shop is about. Let a professional create the logo for you. He will ask you to describe the feelings you want people to have when they see the logo. These feelings should not be trashy, cheap and bad quality; so don’t do it yourself.
When you have all these basic elements done it is time to pick a web shop content management system, or CMS. This system allows you to easily create a web shop with your look and feel. There are quite a number of CMS which can be used. If you wish to go open source, you can try virtue mart by Joomla. Make sure you optimize every page to the fullest. Add title tags, metatags and h1 tags. Make a sound description of the products you sell. Try to exceed 300 words if you can. This isn’t hard when selling phones or computers. I run a jewellery shop, and I can tell you on thing; it is hard to describe a plain silver ring in more than 300 words. This task is near impossible, but very important! As always, content is King. The more you can tell about your product, the more likely you are to be found in Google.
Make sure you have a clear layout. Do not hide the price for an article. Be clear about shipping costs and keep the checkout process as simple as possible. The simpler the better, this is increasing your conversion rate a lot. Make use of bold and underlined text to put more focus on words which are important for the product. If you have a buy button, make it as large as your layout allows you to. Give it a colour which stands out of the crowd, like red or green. This small tweak can increase sales by two percent!
When sending products, always make sure your address is on the package as well. If people want to return it, they know where to send it. When picking a product in the first place, always keep in mind that you will have to be able to send by mail. My web shop which sells jewellery sells small products which fit in a bubble wrap envelope. This speeds up the shipping process tremendously.
Having a web shop is quite a nice way to earn a passive income. It is even a way to create a fulltime job for yourself. If you put some effort into a web shop. Just have a little patience and watch the amount of traffic grow. (And sales increase)