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Your ecommerce business checklist

Posted 01/October/2014 by vicky

If you are venturing into your first online business you may be wandering where to start! Here is a checklist of things you will need to launch your idea online.

Pick a name. A domain name that is. A domain name is your website address e.g. www.neubreed.com.au . Domain names vary substantially in cost from one company to another. You need to weigh up if you are going to go with an Australian company or an overseas company. An Australian company will probably cost you more but you are more likely to receive the support you may require during Australian business hours. Many overseas companies can seem cheap but if something goes wrong and there is no one you can call and its email based support only this can cause issues so weigh up your priorities.  When you are purchasing a domain online also be very careful as to optional extra’s that might cost more are included in the amount you end up paying. These could be discreet tick boxes including adding in hosting or other services you don’t want to purchase. It is most likely that you web design company will host the site for you so it’s best to choose a web company before purchasing web hosting.

Hire a legal eagle.  There are certain legal requirements for selling online too which include;

  • Developing a privacy policy
  • Developing a returns policy
  • Developing your terms and conditions
  • Developing dispute and resolution procedures

If you would like help with developing your website legals at Neubreed we have a partnership with Legal Vision and we can secure a fixed price for all of your legals for a maximum cost of $1500.00

Realise branding is key. Think about the big guys out there, apple, coke, nike you don’t think oh yeah what is their logo again, it is basically tattooed into your memory! From the start make sure you develop strong, efficient branding and make sure you are consistent with your branding from your logo design, brochures and printed material, web design , social websites etc.  Strong branding confirms your credibility and should emotionally connect with your potential customers.

Know what you want and who wants you. Before you run off and look at hiring a web designer first of all you need to take the time to plan what you will want on your website and how you want it to work but most importantly you have to work out who you are targeting.  Who will be looking for your service or products? What income brackets are they in, what age group, sex etc. Why are they looking for your product, when you know what the problem is you are solving with your product you can easily sell your product as the right solution.

Next take the time to do some competitive analysis to help you to work out the things you want or don’t want to have on your site.  Will you blogs, forums, special features, email marketing etc? Think about all of the pages you will want to have on your website and research sites you like and sites you dislike so that when you enter into discussion with your web designer you have plenty of information for them to be able to quote your project accurately.

Shipping, specials, coupons etc. Soon you will be ready to engage the services of a web design company but first you need to think about the “behind the scenes” of the website. How will you work out shipping? Will it be weight based, a flat rate etc.? Will you use a courier or will you need an Australia post shipping calculator set up in the website. How about payments, will you use Pay Pal, Stripe or set up a payment gateway.

Hire an experienced web design company. When it comes time to launch your business online, keeping in line with your branding and making sure you have a unique website is essential. Having a template based website or using a free framework with “free website built by” in your footer will certainly not give your potential customers confidence in your credibility as an online business! A custom designed website shows people you are invested in your business and will give your business credibility and will help gain trust with your users.

Some things to look for when engaging a web design company;

-  Level of expertise and how long they have been around. Have they done the type of work you require before or similar

- Don’t accept “workarounds”, a good web design company that truly custom designs websites will be able to develop to your spec.

- That they can set you up on a reputable open source CMS so you can make edits and updates on your site – crucial for you to manage your ecommerce website.  Open source means you can take your website with you, if you paid for it you wan’t to own it!

- They can showcase various custom work they have done before so you can clearly see they aren’t just using templates and changing colours and logos

- Make sure they don’t just have great web designers but that they also have great web developers who can handle developing any custom applications or features you require. Whilst you might not need any custom features right now, your business may grow and expand and you want to be able to have the flexibility to add to your site as time goes on.

Realise when you build it they won’t just come.  You need to make sure you account for marketing when you are working out your budget for launching your online business.  If you are going to solely rely on online marketing to generate all your leads you can’t afford not to have a specialist handle your marketing for you. We have heard of so many people getting penalised by Google for black hat practices and it takes more time and more money to bring them back from the brink than following the correct principles and hiring a professional in the beginning.

Your marketing shouldn’t be an off the box solution, it should be tailored and customised to your business. You might sell t-shirts and so do the other 10 people on the front page of Google, but your web design company should understand what makes your shirt unique, who is buying them, what is the demographic? Yours might be made from organic material, just for kids, the cheapest, the highest quality etc.

 Depending on the demographic and their user behavior also impacts on the style of marketing that can work for you.

 One of the greatest forms of marketing you can use with an ecommerce store is email marketing; it’s targeted at people who have already told you they want to hear about your promotions!

Lastly, encourage repeat offenders with fresh content. Afterall, if you have an ecommerce website surely the idea is to generate not only new customers but a solid base of repeat customers! Keep promotions running, create fresh content, post interesting articles and have a solid email marketing campaign to engage loyal customers.

Is all of this ecommerce talk getting you excited? Let’s chat some more on 1300 858 495!