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10 things to consider before setting up in e-commerce

Selling over the internet isn’t as simple as setting up an e-store and waiting for the cash roll in. Here are 10 things to consider before moving into digital retail.

1. Do your market research


An online shop may seem like a great idea, but what do your potential customers think? Check online forums, competitor websites and trawl social media to determine whether there’s a viable niche for your product or service.


2. Allocate startup funding


Every business has startup costs. Whether you’re willing to spend $1000 or $10,000, you'll need to decide how much financial risk you’re willing to take.


3. Choose an e-commerce platform


Will you build a website from scratch, or go with an e-commerce broker like Amazon or eBay? Weigh up the pros and cons of each. If you choose the latter, make sure you understand their terms of service before committing.


4. Select a domain


Your web address should reflect the location of your target market (for example, use '' if you're selling within Australia). If you don't already have a business name in place, try to find one that's snappy and memorable.


5. Design your store


You only have a few seconds to impress new online visitors, so it's worth hiring an experienced web designer. Your store should be accessible and easy to use on both desktop and mobile devices.


6. Set a marketing budget


Online ads, search engine optimisation (SEO), e-newsletters, viral videos, blogging and social media are just some of the ways you can build an audience and acquire new customers. Make sure your operating costs cover the implementation of a marketing plan.


7. Set up an inventory system


You don't want to be stuck with a pile of stock that won't sell, or orders that you can't fulfil quickly enough. Regular sales forecasting can keep your customers and suppliers happy.


8. Choose a checkout


You might be able to get by with a basic online shopping cart, like the one included in most plans, or you may prefer to use a more robust third-party solution. Many of these can automate basic marketing tasks such as upsells and customer follow-up.


9. Set up secure payments


It's crucial that people feel they can trust you with their credit card and personal information. Most banks and e-payment platforms, offer encrypted payment processing that can be integrated with online checkouts.


10. Choose a delivery and return policy


If you’re shipping overseas, you may want to consider using international postage fees to subsidise free shipping within Australia. It's also usually a good idea to offer an unconditional return policy for unused items.

As the popularity of e-commerce increases, the technology behind it will only become more powerful and cost-effective. The better you plan, the more quickly you'll be able to scale and strengthen your online revenue stream.