For some reason many people think everything is different when they do business on the Internet. This is one of the more common reasons why many people stay away from putting their business online. But the truth of the matter is, there is nothing scary or rocket science about it.
When you have a store, you try to setup an eye-catching store at the most desirable location you can find/afford. You want your customers to come visit your store, and when they are ready, bring their shopping basket to your friendly checkout cashier personnel.
Same concept applies when you build an online store. When you sell your products online, you want customers to come to your website, and hopefully, add products to the shopping cart. You want to make sure your checkout process is user-friendly, ensuring a happy shopping experience.
What do your need?
The basic requirements to sell online are:
- Domain name
- Shopping Cart
- Payment Processing Capability
When you sell online, you want customers to come to your online store. This means you will need an Internet address. I recommend a simple, easy-to-remember name, preferably one that reflects your business name or the products you are selling.
If you are just starting out and/or your current domain name has nothing to do with your online business, you might want to consider registering a new domain name.
Finding a suitable domain name may not be easy, as many names have already been taken. Remember that even though the .com extension is still the most popular, you shouldn’t rule out the main extension used in your country. There are many consumers out there who are reluctant buying from a non-local vendor. Your country’s extension offers them the “home sweet home” comfort.
There is a reason why some stores in the mall always keep you outside. All you want to do is quickly walk past it. There is also a reason why as a merchant, you make sure your display window and shelves are dust-free and updated frequently. It’s the same on the Internet. Shoppers associate unprofessional websites with “low quality.” Even if the services/products you are selling are high quality.
Things to remember when designing an eye-catching website for your online store:
- You don’t have to spend a lot of money on a well-designed website. There are a lot of do-it-yourself web design tools available, and you can also purchase pre-made templates that require minimal customizations.
- Keep it simple and clean. A clean lay-out, one or two images with some interesting text is enough to entice visitors. Don’t overload or overwhelm your visitors, don’t scare them away. More importantly, don’t drive them away because your website takes forever to load.
- Unless your business is so well-established that consumers recognize your brand name/logo, a nice logo picture on your first page with nothing else is not good design. Let your visitors know what you are selling.
Next, we’ll be looking at shopping carts.