1. Get an e-commerce enabled website
What are you selling online? Is it a physical or virtual product or a service? How is it priced? This will impact how your website is developed, designed and implemented.
If you’re selling multiple, individually priced products that compete against other online stores, step one is adding a piece of software called a shopping cart. This allows visitors to browse your products and accumulate a list of items to pay for upon checkout.
The trick is to understand what type of shopping cart you need and how sophisticated it has to be. Your website developer would be able to advise you on the option that’s best suited for your business requirements, so have a predefined business plan that your developer can work with. You could also ask your Payment Service Provider (PSP) for assistance who will make recommendations in consultation with your developer and advise what shopping cart plugins they support.
Related: Take Your Website from Good to Great
2. Choose the right payment service provider
Select a PSP upfront to ensure your site is developed in accordance with the payment methods you want to offer and meets the online card issuers’ requirements.
Choose a PSP that meets your pricing requirements and offer payment products that’ll allow your business to grow. Many online stores find out too late they’re limited to a single payment option. You want to ensure customers can pay using the mechanism they’re comfortable using.
Look for a PSP that supports the shopping cart that’s attached to your website. Some develop their own plugins and provide them for free upon integrating, saving you development time and annual plugins fees.
Determine the PSP’s level of support. If people can’t purchase off your website, you’re losing money and customers. Who can you contact when support is required and what process is in place to inform you if there’s an issue with your online payment process?
Select a PSP that can guide you on the right decisions and answer crucial questions like: How will you get paid and when, what fees will you pay, how does your PSP talk to your bank and your customers’ banks, and will they help protect you against fraud?
The costs of changing providers are high, especially if your business can’t afford to be out of action. Selecting a PSP is an important part of the online process.
3. Don’t forget to market your website
Businesses spend lots of money and resource setting up online shops and then make the fundamental mistake of thinking potential customers will just find them. You need to advertise the products in your online store, just as you would with a land-based store, if not more. Because it’s simple for customers to move across multiple stores in the online environment, you want to ensure they find yours and stay there.
Involving an online marketing specialist during the building phase of your website will ensure it contains everything needed to successfully appear top of the list in all search engines. Have your web developer work with a Search Engine Optimisation specialist to develop the site in line with your marketing/advertising requirements.