Launching your webshop: things to bear in mind

Consumers nowadays see a webshop as a logical supplement to a physical store. Whether you are selling clothing, books or food, customers expect to be able to check out the offer on the internet and place online orders. Traders who don't yet have a webshop, should first consider the following. After all, the launch of a webshop involves a number of challenges. But if you don't overlook them, you can turn your webshop into a success.

Own website

Products can be sold on different platforms nowadays. Bol.com, Facebook, Instagram, etc. However, nothing is better than your own website to sell your products.

Because a website is completely yours. You alone decide what happens on it. Unlike a webshop on social media or Bol.com, where the owners of the platforms may suddenly decide to change the conditions or rates, which can have a huge impact on your webshop.

Your own website is therefore a must for a lasting webshop. With your own website, you can be sure you won't face any unpleasant surprises in the future.

Good domain name

In addition to hosting your own website you also need a domain name. A good domain name is logical and easy to remember. If your domain name is flowers&plants.be, customers expect to be able to buy flowers and plants. There is no confusion possible about your offer and customers will easily remember the domain name.

A clear domain name is also interesting for your online findability and for improving your ranking in Google's search results. When a person enters ‘flowers and plants’ in the search engine, your website will have a higher ranking thanks to the relevant domain name.

Check whether your domain name is still available. Also make sure your competitors don't have a similar domain name. This avoids confusion for your customers.

Online payment system

When you have your own website and a good domain name, it is handy having an online payment system for your webshop. 

Paypal is a known payment system that is easy to link to your website. However, not every customer has a Paypal account. To make it easy for customers to pay online, you need to offer payment options such as Bancontact, iDEAL or Visa. Depending on your website's content management system and your technical expertise, this can be done in a couple of clicks.  Remember that most payment service providers charge a small fee for every transaction. Usually it concerns 20 or 30 eurocents or so. Reliable payment service providers list the fees on their website. 

Qualitative product photographs 

Appearances count to consumers. Product photographs are very important to the success of your webshop. In other words, pay attention to the pictures on your website. They make your webshop look professional and trustworthy. 

Investing in a good photographer more than pays itself back. You can get to work with product photography yourself too. With a single-lens reflex camera, a nice background and a photo editing program you can already accomplish a lot. 

Also think about your company's personal branding in your product photography. Do you want stark, minimalist photographs against a white background? Or do you want photographs that show a warm family atmosphere? Make sure there is a logical link between the products you sell and the atmosphere you create with your photographs. 

Online marketing

Unfortunately, customers don't find their way to your webshop just like that. Usually you have to guide them in this. Think about your online findability and make sure you have a good ranking on Google. You can do this thanks to relevant texts with the right search words, and a technically sound website with a short load time. In other words, don't upload full size product photographs but make them smaller before posting them on your website. 

Social media are also a great place to promote your webshop. And both Facebook and Instagram can be a useful supplementary sales channel. But think carefully about where your target group is. You'll probably find people in their forties on Facebook but maybe not on TikTok or YouTube. These two social media channels are useful if you want to reach teenagers though. 

Order process

Make sure the order process meets the legal requirements and that the delivery and return conditions, possible extra costs, etc. are clear. This avoids surprises for you or your customers at a later time.

Keep your customers sufficiently informed about their delivery. Make an automatic mail thanking them for the purchase and confirming their order. The order confirmation is important because after confirmation the customer is bound to the purchase. Also explain the next steps of the delivery to the customer. If your customer knows when to expect his/her purchase you prevent him/her mailing and calling to ask why the order has not yet been delivered.

There you go. When you have considered and arranged all this, you're ready to draw customers to your webshop and sell your products online. Good luck!

With this article, we support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.