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How to set up a successful online shop

The internet is without a doubt the greatest place to start a business. It doesn’t require a huge capital and its versatility is appealing to small arts and crafts business ventures and service-based startups alike. In 2013, it was revealed that 41% of worldwide internet users had purchased online.

There are some obvious advantages to setting up an online shop, especially for small and niche businesses: if you use cleverly the tools at your disposal, you will reach a worldwide audience that would have never heard of your business any other way. Let’s get you started now!

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Your website: it doesn’t have to be complicated

Your website is essentially your window to the world. Linked to social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest, it can also be a powerful tool to interact with your audience and help build a community. When you’re starting, you don’t need to invest in any costly solutions. E-commerce websites can be simply set up via Content Management Systems such as WordPress or Joomla. All you need is a server, a domain name and you’re almost set.

You can find e-commerce website templates for free and they might be sufficient for your needs at the beginning. Other templates can be downloaded for a small fee and they often offer better design options and better support – a good investment especially if you don’t have the time to dabble in the odd CSS and PHP coding.

Brand yourself

Even small businesses without a big budget should first consider spending a bit of time (and money) on their branding. Initially, it will help you figure out what you really expect from the venture, what is it you want to sell exactly, and what image you want to convey. Secondly, it will help you stand out from a customer point of view. If your business is more than a hobby, don’t skimp out on a cheap logo!

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Delivering the goods

The main appeal of an online shop is to be accessible to customers all-around the world so you don’t have to feel limited to sell just in the area you live in. Many shipping companies can provide you with tools and all the help you’d need to set up a parcel delivery to the USA, Europe and Asia.

Priority to your customers

Customer service can really make or break an online business, especially as it is possible for customers to rate businesses publicly online and an unsolved problem can quickly become out of hand. Be mindful of everything that occurs on social media and to reply as quickly and as diplomatically as possible to all the queries you might get by email. Bad feedback can help you see issues with your business that need solving.

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