Creating an online shop
So you’ve decided that it’s time to sell your products online. Like you, many dream of running their own business and the Internet offers a wonderful opportunity to carve out a place in the e-commerce market. Whether you already own your own company, brand or physical store, there are several advantages to promoting your items through an online store. Thanks to the power of online marketing tools and SEO, it is now possible for anyone to sell their products on the Internet. Don’t worry if you don’t have any experience in building websites - setting up your online store is almost a breeze.
Why create an e-commerce website?
Before buying a product from you, any potential customer should be able to discover your brand and browse the items you are selling. This was true before the Covid-19 pandemic... but it is even more important now that we are limited in our movements. As a result, many merchants have decided to open an online store in order to continue generating revenue. From a consumer standpoint, the trend is even more obvious: the volume of purchases made online with home delivery has increased significantly. If you don't set up an e-commerce website, you risk missing out on a crucial market for your business.
The main advantages of opening an online store are:
- it’s easy.
- it's fast.
- there’s one interface for all your products.
Consumers buy online
While some people still prefer to buy their products in a store, others choose not to travel and instead order from their computer or smartphone. If your competitors offer their products online and you don't, you risk losing your customer base.
An online store costs less than a physical store
Opening an online store saves you money on:
- renting commercial premises
- paying staff to run the store during opening hours
- furnishing and decorating the shop
- hiring cleaning services
- renting a payment terminal or purchasing a cash register
- and so on.
The increase in mobile searches
The growth of mobile device usage means that people can buy things anytime, anywhere. This creates more sales opportunities. Whatever else they’re doing while they’re browsing online, the customer can place an order instantly.
How to stand out
Niche and market research
Before opening an e-commerce store, you need to know what products you want to sell. One way of knowing if your items are actually going to be purchased is to algin yourself with items that are currently popular. You can also take advantage of a niche market, by finding a particular range that will find its audience. However, it’s not a good idea to get into a trending sector when it’s in decline. It makes more sense to find a product or niche that is gaining popularity. Many tools exist to identify articles and trend areas (Google Trends is one of them).
Preparing products and logistics
Make sure that the products you are putting on sale can be easily shipped by parcel. Unless you choose a direct delivery business model, you will be responsible for most of the packaging and shipping. By choosing lightweight, space-saving items, you can achieve better margins and it will be easier to store them at home if you have space — saving you on renting out a storage unit.
How to create an online shop
Developing an online shop is a little different from creating a standard website or blog. The first step remains the same: registering a domain name and subscribing to a web hosting plan. As a hosting provider, OVHcloud offers these services to help you launch your e-commerce platform with ease:
Reserve your domain name for your online store
Explore our guides for deploying your web hosting plan
Here are some things you will need to do to open an online shop:
- reserve a domain name
- enable your web hosting service
- choose the best platform to create a sales site
- consider ergonomics, an intuitive system and a responsive design (how it is displayed on computers, tablets and smartphones)
- think about the features to include when creating the online store
- determine the payment methods available on your website
- prepare your marketing strategy and plan for free or paid advertising
Some of the platforms you can use to easily build an online store include WordPress, PrestaShop, Magento, Drupal and Joomla. Call OVHcloud if you wish to create an online store with WordPress WooCommerce, or launch an e-commerce website with PrestaShop. These CMS platforms are the easiest solutions for sellers who do not have experience in building websites. They both include e-commerce options using plugins and templates. In addition to unlimited customisation, you can easily add product sheets with standard fields (item name, price, reference no., etc.), photos, descriptions, technical information, as well as information on stock status and delivery.
Now that you have everything lined up to open your online store, you will need to boost your website’s visibility through SEO. Keywords related to your business must be carefully selected, so that your website appears in search engines.
Your questions answered
Why choose OVHcloud to create your online store?
You get turnkey, high-performance e-commerce website hosting at an unbeatable price. Set up by you, it is accessible 24/7. You can also add any features you want to help you sell your products online. The traffic on your web hosting plan is unlimited, regardless of whether you have ten or several thousand visitors per month.
How do I choose my online store name?
Find a short name that is easy to remember. It must be unique compared to your competitors. Then check that the corresponding domain name is available and that you can legally use this trademark with the Intellectual Property Office (IPO).
How much does it cost to open an online store?
Your budget will vary greatly, depending on your needs and expectations. Creating your e-commerce website yourself - if you have the technical skills - will be the cheapest option. But don’t forget the fixed costs, such as hosting costs, domain name registration, and any web marketing solutions that you set up. Whether you go through a web agency, developer, webmaster or freelancer, plan a budget that covers the creation, content, SEO and maintenance of your future online store. As for your product stock, you must of course spend funds on purchasing and storing them in a dedicated space. If you do not want to deal with logistics, you can always work in drop shipping. This way, you manage the sales, and leave your supplier to take care of sending the items.
How do you create a truly successful online store?
By following our advice, you now have the basics to launch your business and create an online store that works for you. To succeed in sales, do not neglect any aspect of your shop, whether it be a business plan, visual identity, marketing, customer service or loyalty. Finally, an interesting catalogue of products at the right price will have a significant impact on the success of your business.