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8 tips to remember before you build an ecommerce store

Unfortunately, you don't just build an online store, without any thought, and immediately be inundated with orders and customers. E-commerce shops need to be planned strategically, the following tips will help to prepare any businesses who are planning to start an online store.

1. Competition - Try and find out as much information as possible about your competitors. Look at their website, how they market themselves, the pricing and quality of their products. How can your online shop be better than their's? Are your products of better quality or better priced? Can you better their marketing strategy? It's crucial that you discuss these points at an early stage, because if there is no way that you feel you can improve on what your competitors offer, or offer your customers something different, it may not be wise to start an online shop just yet. You wouldn't open up a pet shop next door to another pet shop selling the same stock, at the same price, it would have to offer something different. The same can be said of online stores.

2. SEO - SEO isn't something that should be thought about after your e-commerce store has been built, it should be thought about at the beginning, even before you decide on a name for your store. Think about the products your going to sell online and get in contact with an SEO consultant. They will then be able to give you a list of keywords that you need to rank highly for. At this point, get a quote for both the length of time it will take to achieve this and the price. Will you be able to afford this? Will the results be beneficial enough to outweigh the cost?

3. Prepare, plan and prepare again - Now you should hopefully have some solid research about your competition, how your shop will be different and your SEO strategy. It's time to come up with some goals for your business to reach, so, how many sales do you need each month, with what your current outgoings are to be breaking even? Set yourself realistic goals to reach within the first year of trading.

4. Your product images and descriptions - Don't forgot just how much content you will need for product¬†descriptions¬†and the number of photos you will need too. ¬†Take time over this task too, with an online store, your photos and descriptions are the only way customers can see if the product is right for them, so if the photos are poor and the descriptions aren't great, your sales aren't going to be brilliant.

5. The boring stuff - Don't forget the static pages that every website has like the About Us page, Terms and conditions, Contact Us and Returns Policy. Content will need to be written for each of these.

6. Blog and news - Decide whether your going to have a blog or release news stories. ¬†Will this benefit your online store or not? From experience, nearly all online shops will benefit from having regular blog or news articles; its a great way to engage with your customers whilst letting them know about new products or the latest offers. You need to think about the amount of time this will take and whether you will do it yourself or outsource it?

7. Billing - Choosing a payment gateway for your online store is extremely important, as if you choose the wrong one, expect major headaches till it is changed. Look at the different options available to you, thinking about the price and what you will get in return for your investment.

8. Delivery - First decide on which countries you are going to be shipping to, if your shipping abroad make sure that you are aware of any rules and regulations affecting particular countries. For UK delivery, will you offer free delivery? Would this be economical for your business or not?

Once you have thought about each of these points, it would now be a good idea to contact an e commerce agency if you haven't already done so. With all of the research and ideas behind you, you will be in an ideal position to begin talking about the design of your online store. If you want to start an online store, get in touch with our team, we'd be happy to give you some friendly advice!

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