How to start selling online
There has never been a better time to start selling things online; whether it’s as a sideline while you’re furloughed, as a second income to earn money from a hobby or to actually move your physical business into a more profitable and accessible space.
According to the Office of National Statistics, roughly 93% of UK internet users are expected to shop online by 2021, and with the current pandemic it’s sensible to expect these figures to increase.
So, what does this mean for those businesses who aren’t online? Well, to put it bluntly, you’ll only be reaching less than 7% of the potential audience with your high street shop or market stall.
There are, of course, options to sell online through eBay, Amazon, Etsy and other similar marketplaces, and while these are quick and help you reach a much wider audience, the cut they take of your profits can really make this a sour pill to swallow, plus the effort you put into these marketplace shops never really does much for your own brand and online presence.
If you already have a business on the local high street but no online shop, are thinking of starting your own business to sell items you manufacture or can source, or are already using a marketplace that takes a big cut of your profits, we’d always recommend starting your own eCommerce website where your efforts all go into building your brand and boosting your profits. Plus, you have control over the look, feel, experience and overall success of your business.
Starting an online shop
Depending on the size of your business, there are multiple options for starting your own online shop. For those who aren’t currently online, selling products online may seem daunting, however the basics of normal retail selling can be applied to your online shop, with the added elements of distribution and virtual stock control etc.
Most eCommerce platforms offer staggered versions of their online store, often based on the number of products you sell, the frequency of transactions and the specialist elements you want to include, for example sales and marketing tools, however for most small businesses the initial level is more than enough to get you started, with options to upgrade version as your business grows.
Our preferred platform for small businesses to start their online journey with is Shopify, with WooCommerce (the WordPress eCommerce add-on) coming in a close second. Shopify basic is the first level of Shopify store and is a free eCommerce platform that is customisable and easy to use. As with all online stores, ensuring the site is actually set up correctly and includes the elements you need when taking your shop online or starting your first online shop is always strongly recommended (you wouldn’t build a house if the foundations weren’t strong), however this doesn’t need to cost the earth. Many developers will charge for unnecessary items such as bespoke design and coding, but at the initial stage of starting your online store there is a huge library of free template designs and styles which you can choose from and the platform is designed to already have all the basic elements you need to get started. You can then upgrade to bespoke coding and designs as you see fit over time.
Start your own eCommerce website
Here at KiwiCommece, we understand that starting an online business is daunting. We’ve worked with hundreds of businesses over the past 10 years who have been in the same position you are, and over time we’ve helped them grow their businesses and progress their eCommerce websites to newer and more advanced versions of Shopify, WooCommerce and Magento (our three top eCommerce platforms).
In order to start your own eCommerce website you will need:
- A list of all products, their images and descriptions
- To choose a design (a huge library of free templates/styles are available)
- To decide how you will ship your products (suggestions can be provided)
- To decide who will process your online payments (suggestions can be provided)
- Any content you want to add to your about us, contact us, delivery/returns page and legal/T&C’s pages (standard text can be provided for these if required)
Given the current climate, we’ve decided to help small businesses get online with a special offer of just £499 to set up their first eCommerce website that can be ready to go online in just 3 days!