Planning an online store is an exciting step. Whether you have a physical retail operation and are creating an online channel, or whether your new venture will be entirely online, there are many realities to consider.

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An online store will:

  • Be the face of your business to anyone who finds you online,
  • Create a first impression of your business for your visitors – bear in mind that many people will Google you when they first hear about your business,
  • Showcase your products and provide a way for people to purchase them,
  • Annoy your visitors if it is hard to navigate or make a purchase,
  • Delight your visitors if it is customer friendly and gives a sense of trust in the people behind the website.

An online store won’t:

  • Run your business for you – you will still need to market it, keep it up to date and process customer orders.
  • Remove your administrative and financial responsibilities – it won’t do your tax, accounts, receipts, or invoices.
  • Attract thousands of sales overnight – just like any website, it needs thorough marketing and search engine work to build your traffic over time.
  • Guarantee your success – you still need all the basics of a great business.

Ongoing costs to consider:

You know by now that you can’t just set up an online store and have it magically processing hundreds of transactions for you overnight. Your online shop will require ongoing investment into marketing to continually expand your reach and grow your customer base. Some areas that could require ongoing marketing investment are:

  • Advertising on other websites (banner or image ads)
  • Google or Facebook advertising
  • Search Enging Optimisation (code and content changes to make your website more Google friendly)
  • Maintaining a Facebook page or Twitter account
  • Usability research and customer feedback

Your most important asset:

Your customer base.
It’s that simple – the amount of traffic to your website, the number of people on your email database, and the number of social media fans, followers and contacts you have all amount to your customer base. These are the people that have become your “foot traffic” and we know from physical retail, that the more foot traffic you have, the greater your chances of success.
Do anything within reason to increase your customer base as it is your most important asset in Ecommerce.