Setting up an online shop to sell your products can be a useful and profitable way of doing business. It allows you to operate without necessarily needing a traditional shopfront and gives your customers more flexibility because they can buy your products at any time of the day. Online selling can also broaden your customer base, as you can sell to people who are interstate or overseas.
Online shopping doesn't appeal to everyone, so make sure your target market is comfortable with buying online before you start. You might find you can reach more customers by offering online shopping alongside a traditional shop.
Setting up your own online shop
Look at other examples of online shops and think about how you want to display your products. You can buy web hosting packages and set up your shop yourself, but it's usually best to discuss your options with a web developer. You will also need to set up methods to receive online payments.
A typical online shop should include:
- a product list or catalogue
- a tool for selecting products (often called a shopping cart or basket)
- an ordering and payment tool.
You need to give your customers clear information on ordering, shipping and prices. They will also be interested in refunds, warranties and returns policies.
Customers may be concerned with the safety of online shopping, so you will need to provide them with clear information about your privacy and security policies.
The same laws apply to online selling as they do to traditional selling methods. Make sure you are familiar with the laws outlined in the Fair Trading Act 1989 (incorporating Australian Consumer Law) before you begin selling online.
Useful tips for selling your products online
- Display your registered business name, company name, and Australian business number (ABN) prominently to make your customers confident that you are a legitimate business.
- Have your website designed by a professional. They can help you make sure that it's easy for customers to find your online shop from search engines and from your home page.
- Keep the information (especially prices) up-to-date on your website.
- Use accurate images to represent your products.
- Treat customer service with the same importance as you would for a traditional shop.
- Confirm orders immediately by email. You should be able to automate this process.
- Advise customers if there are any delays with their orders.
- Provide contact details for customers and respond quickly to enquiries and complaints.