An online shop, an eCommerce system, a web store, an internet shopping platform – they all do the same thing. They provide your business with the opportunity to sell directly to your customers. They enable your customers to purchase your products directly from you, the seller.
An online shop is a great idea
If you sell products to your customers, listed below are three reasons why you should consider implementing an online shop into your website:
- A growing number of people now browse items online before visiting a ‘bricks and mortar’ shop, so being able to browse AND purchase online makes it easier for your customers.
- There are no closing hours. Customers can access your products at a time that is convenient to them – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There are no restrictions on their time.
- It can increase your customer base. Your physical shop may be located outside of the town centre which may make it more difficult for some potential customers to visit. Having an online shop helps you reach those new customers.
The downside to an online shop
As with most things, there are less positive factors that need to be taken into consideration before setting up an online shop. Outlined below are three issues that you need to bear in mind:
- An online shop needs to be managed and maintained. Security is important and a secure system must be in place for taking payments over the internet. Your shop also needs to reflect current prices and stock levels and must also take account of any holiday periods when orders are placed.
- Customers are not able to touch and feel your products as they would if they purchased from a high street shop. One way that some online sellers get around this is by ensuring that the product descriptions are as accurate and descriptive as possible, whilst also offering a good Returns Policy.
- Postage and packing needs to be factored in. This needs to be in line with your courier company prices and needs to be set at a level that your customers feel is appropriate.
Build your customer base through an online shop
An online shop can be integrated into your company website and can be easily managed by you through a CMS (content management system). You can add new products, update stock levels, reduce the price of old products, offer discounts for special occasions – just like you can in an actual ‘bricks and mortar’ shop.
Easily managed alongside your existing shop, an online shop allows you to continually build your customer base, helping you to reach out to both new and existing customers. If you do sell products and don’t have an online shop, it is definitely worth considering integrating one into your business website.