Re-ordering products, keeping the shop in shape, advising customers – brick-and-mortar merchants are usually very busy. Opening your own online shop in addition to the shop itself sounds like a huge undertaking and seems hardly possible without prior knowledge. But with the right shop software, every shop owner can easily get into ecommerce and sell their products online.
Whereas in the past it was usually necessary to access the expensive services of an agency, possess specialist knowledge and raise a lot of start-up capital, today there are cost-effective solutions in the cloud. The principle is very simple: You create and manage the shop completely in the browser and do not need to install anything on your computer. So you can edit your orders, add products and add new pages to the shop from anywhere with internet access. In Germany, there are various providers who offer integrated online shops based on the ePages Instore shop technology especially for stationary merchants. These include the leading payment service provider PAYONE, the joint venture of the Ingenico Group and Deutscher Sparkassenverlag, and the payment organisation of the Volks- und Raiffeisenbanken VR Payment. This means you can create your shop in less than a day and be present online from now on.
Have you decided on a shop software and registered your shop? Then start with the setup. To make the start easier for you, we have compiled a checklist with the first steps.
1. Choose a domain
The domain is the address at which your shop can be found for customers – for example www.emmas-onlineshop.com. Usually you get the domain from the provider with whom you have also booked the shop. When choosing a domain name, it is usually best to simply use the name of your shop. Furthermore, the name should be as short as possible and easy for your customers to remember. More tips can be found in our article on finding domain names.
2. Design the shop
For your shop you can choose between different design templates. These provide the basic design. With ePages Instore, you can choose from a variety of attractive templates that meet all the requirements for a modern design. The templates are responsive, which means that they are displayed perfectly on all end devices. After choosing a design template, you can individualise the shop’s design – for example, by changing the colours and fonts and displaying the unique selling points of your shop in the header. By displaying the logos of the payment and shipping service providers you offer in the footer, you can give your customers an immediate overview of the options available to them when ordering.
3. Upload a logo
The logo of your shop is displayed in the header and enhances the recognition value with your customers. If you don’t have a logo yet, the name of your shop is simply displayed here. A tip: Online marketplaces for digital services, such as Fiverr, allow you to have a very individual, professional logo created for little money.
4. Create product and collections
The most important thing in your shop are the products you sell. When creating a product, you should always include its name, price, and description. Also important: high quality photos, with which your customers can get a perfect impression of the products. With ePages Instore, you can organise your products with so-called collections. These can be new additions, products on offer or products of the same type (such as T-shirts, jackets and trousers). The collections then allow you to display your products in the shop in an attractive way.
5. Create and fill pages
On the pages of your shop you can, for example, tell the story of your company or present your customers with information on delivery. Use various elements such as texts, images or videos to do this. By including a contact form, you give your customers the opportunity to ask you questions quickly and easily. As an online retailer, you are obliged to provide your customers with various legal pages. These include, for example, the imprint, the general terms and conditions or the data protection declaration. With ePages Instore, these pages are already created and only need to be filled by you. You can create free, legally compliant texts on the Trusted Shops website, for example.
6. Present your store
You should definitely also present your shop in your shop. To do this, create a separate page on which you enter the address of the shop and the opening hours. By including a map from Google Maps, your customers can find you quickly and easily. With attractive photos of your shop, you can give customers a first impression of your store.
7. Create payment and shipping options
You can offer your customers different payment and shipping methods. For delivery, you can either use a shipping service provider such as DHL or set up your own methods – such as in-store pickup. You should also provide your customers with the most important payment methods. These include PayPal, purchase on account or direct debit. That way, every customer will find his or her preferred method and can shop with you conveniently.
8. Optimize the shop for search engines
Shops based on ePages Instore are already optimally equipped for search engines such as Google through clever default settings, so that they achieve good rankings and can be easily found by customers. To further optimise your shop, you should make settings for pages and products. For example, it is worthwhile to enter a meaningful page title that contains the keywords relevant for your shop. It can take a while before search engine optimization takes effect. In the long run, however, it will definitely pay off for you.
9. Test and open the shop
Visit all subpages of your shop and make sure that everything is displayed to your satisfaction. By placing test orders you can check the order process, payment and shipping methods as well as the mails the shop sends to your customers. If possible, you should also ask friends and acquaintances for their feedback. Are you finished and satisfied with your shop? Then you can open it now!
10. Win your first customers
From now on you concentrate on attracting the first customers to your shop. To do this, you should make the customers of your shop aware of it. This can be done, for example, with a QR code in the shop window that refers to your online shop. In any case, also maintain your profile on Google My Business and add a link to your shop there. You can find tips for this in our article on Google My Business. Are you already active in social networks like Facebook or Instagram? Then use your already existing reach to promote your shop.
We wish you a lot of fun with the setup of your shop and much success in online business!