Setting up an online store takes time, energy and a never ending devotion to the detail! A key element is in your choice of products and the photography that presents them as well as the website platform you choose. With so many decisions to make on which template, software or features to select and with costs often being prohibitive, it can be an overwhelming experience. However, help is at hand to keep the process simple and affordable. With a choice of competitive e-commerce providers all offering build-your-own tools, you no longer need to bring in a web designer or dedicated developer to launch a site.
If you have a strong understanding of your brand vision then I would recommend choosing an e-commerce provider that offers free ‘theme templates’ (the identity of your site) that you can customise and make your own. There’s a plethora of free themes out there targeting a range of business types from apparel, homeware to tech or food brands. If you’re not so creative, then you can preview existing brands who have used these themes to get ideas and inspiration for your own. Depending on your budget, you can also opt to manage your own hosting (if you prefer total control) or sign up with a provider who will administer this for you. Alongside taking care of all payment gateway, security and social media plug ins, these companies deliver 24/7 customer service so you are supported though each step and process. Many also offer free start-up trials so you can test out the platform before committing to the service. This is a really worthwhile exercise especially if you get the chance to share your trial site with family and friends for feedback - an invaluable insight into how customers may navigate your site.
With any of these providers it’s always worth taking the time to research the pros and cons of each, keeping in mind what your strengths are and the suitability and scalability of the service to your business. Remember, its always better to go live as soon as possible to test the market first, you can always refine and upgrade your site with the help of experts once you are more established.