Start an online shop

Isn’t it everyone’s dream to spend time doing more of the things that you love? And if you can do what you love and also make enough money from it to pay the bills and have the lifestyle you want, then you’ve probably cracked it!

Maybe you create jewellery, or paint, make the best cakes ever or already run a high street shop? Then the next logical step is to boost your digital presence. Let potential customers know what they’re missing and start an online shop.

The good news is that there’s a host of tools available that provide a do-it-yourself solution. Most are easy to follow even without much tech knowledge and there’s a ton of advice out there to help you too. We recommend using a spreadsheet to bulk upload your products. Once you’ve got the hang of it, it’s far less fiddly than doing individual products.

Having created lots of online shops we want to share some advice that we learned many years ago.

Before you choose your design, your online look, or even choose your platform, please give real thought to what you are selling and how your products should be arranged and organised on your website.

  • Do customers need to know which products can be bought together?
  • Are some items available in a range of colours or sizes?
  • Are you planning on diversifying your product range and adding news lines in future?

And then think about your customer and view your products from their perspective.

  • If they are buying a bracelet, will they want the matching necklace in a few months’ time?
  • How will they find that product easily on your website?

Next, get a pen and paper and literally map out your products so you can see how your products relate to each other. You will find categories, subcategories and special interest (tags) emerging. So, you may have a category of ‘Bracelets’, then a sub category of ‘Silver Bracelets’ and one of ‘Gold Bracelets’. You can then start to add tags to products that feature, let’s say, ‘blue stones’ and ‘red stones’. That way your customers can search your products by their preferred precious metal, or if they’re more interested in the colour of stones, they can simply search by the relevant tag.

Go through each product and place it in a category until you have mapped out exactly where each item hangs on your website.

Depending on the number of products you have, this can be a mammoth task. But please believe us when we say that it’s time well spent. It’s tempting to get your products up as quickly as possible, get them out on social media and even run some ad campaigns.

But when you realise your categories could be better organised and re-arrange your website, the product links you’ve put out there could break. You then need to redirect all those broken links on your website to the new links, and the whole thing can turn into a bit of an animal. Particularly if you’re not sure how to do redirects.

But the real advantage of prepping your categories in advance is that you get to really enjoy the fun stuff. Choosing your theme, adding your words and bringing the whole thing to life. Knowing that it’s a matter of dropping your products in and then hitting ‘go’.

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