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NOT a Guide to Setting up an Online Shop

If you’re looking for a step-by-step guide to setting up an online shop, this is definitely not it. However, below are our top five essential things which will save you time and money setting up your store online, things you can start before the site build even commences…

NOT a guide to setting up an online shop
NOT a guide to setting up an online shop

1. Inventory
Spend time at the beginning putting your inventory list together in an organised fashion, an Excel spreadsheet or equivalent will work just fine. Include your product title, description, cost price, selling price and all variants for example colours, sizes and quantities available.

You may not choose to put everything online, especially if you also have a bricks and mortar store, however if your site is your only shop front, then everything you want to sell needs to be on this list.

2. Site Structure
Next, you need to put yourself in your prospective customers’ shoes and think about how they will best find your product when they are on your site. One way we use is to select five products and jot down what a customer will want to know about them before they will buy. If it’s shoes, then the colour, size and fabric will be important. If it’s a food product, then price, weight and description will matter. Add these as columns to your inventory list.

Not only are these things important for site organisation, but also for SEO, so definitely worthwhile to spend some quality time on this process sooner rather than later. And after the first five? Yep, you’ve guessed it already, the next five. But these next five will be easier, we promise.

Lighting is key, it can make or break a product sale

3. Photography
Professional photography or your good old smart phone? We normally recommend a professional however, especially at the moment, the latter may be your only option and you can can some great quality shots with your phone. Start by taking a look at your competitor sites and their images to get ideas for layout and the standard required.Lighting is key, it can make or break a product sale. Spend some time online, learning about the best options for your products. Here’s a starting point Shopify Natural Lighting Product Photography.

Having an idea of the shape and dimension of your images is also essential, this has been known to delay projects by several months and increase costs. How is your product best displayed, landscape or portrait? Again, look at competitor sites, to see what they use. Lots of e-commerce sites use Shopify as their platform (this is what we use for our clients) and they recommend square images. Therefore, they offer a lot of great templates that use square dimensions, so producing square images will make choosing a template and uploading simpler. These dimensions also works well for social postings.

If you are using a professional photographer, let them know the dimensions in advance, plus ask for two sets images, one large resolution that you can use for printing or other projects and also a smaller size (optimised for web). This will make uploading the products to the site a much easier task.

4. Packaging and Delivery
How will you get your product to your customer? You need to work out the easiest and most inexpensive way to package and deliver them. This is an easy thing to leave until last, however our advice is to think about it at the beginning.

How will the items be packaged? Who will deliver it, DHL, Royal Mail? Will you be selling internationally? If so, which countries? Will you need to know the weight of your product?

Knowing in advance how you will manage this side of things will help make sure your products easily find their way to their new homes and make sure your store quickly gets online.

5. Pricing
Not only do you need to know how much you want to sell your product for, but also your cost per item (you can then easily see profit margins). Will you charge VAT? This is part of the initial set up, but easily changed further down the line.

And now you know the cost of your packaging and delivery (from point 4 above) you will be able to make a decision about whether you will include delivery charges as part of the product cost or an additional charge.

So, there you have it, not a comprehensive ‘set up your online shop’ guide, but some common-sense things to think about and put together before you’ve even talked to anyone about pixels and e-commerce platforms.

And feel free to contact us if you have any queries.

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