Online sales continue to grow despite the economy's overall sluggishness. And with the holidays just around the corner, there's no better time to start selling your products online. We've created a list to help you get started and organize your project along the way.
Lay the Groundwork
- Determine the geographic limits you'll place on sales and learn your tax obligations to the area(s).
- Choose a shipping company and get information on their rates.
- Determine how many products you will sell.
- Take high-quality digital photos of your products (from every angle if possible).
- Come up with a list of keywords related to your product and store.
- Write detailed descriptions of your products incorporating your keywords.
- Plan your Web site. Determine how many pages it will have, what the order path will be and what information you need to collect to complete the order.
- Decide whether you're going to design your ecommerce store yourself or hire a designer.
- Choose a Web hosting plan for your Web site.
- Select shopping cart software.
- Prepare to accept payments: create your merchant account and purchase an SSL certificate.
- Once your Web hosting plan is set up, create an email account for customer service, sales, billing and any other departments customers may need to contact.
- Consider adding customer reviews to your site.
- When the design is complete, do some test orders to make sure everything is working properly.
- Create an email marketing plan for your launch.
- Devise an advertising strategy.
- Create social media accounts and add their icons to your Web site.
- Set up your Web analytics to measure your results.
- Do a final test by asking family and friends to place an order. Make sure everything is easily understandable and in working order.