If you’re in the business of selling, “Get online or die” is the message coming loud and clear from consumers.
The speed at which UK businesses are picking up internet trading is impressive, and creating an online store is becoming imperative for any startup or existing retailer. But building an online store can be daunting; it could even become a drain on your profits if you get it wrong. Luckily, setting up stall online and touting your wares is only as difficult as you make it.
1. 1&1 Business eShop will create a standalone store either to bolt on to an existing website or to be used independently with its own domain name. When you open the application, functions are shown in the Control Panel. From here you can make design changes, preview and publish your shop.
2. A wizard guides you through setting up shop, prompting you to enter the domain name and email address to be used for your shop. Follow this wizard to enter company details, including your address and VAT number, and settings such as whether prices should include VAT and the price format you want to use.
3. Shop Designer is a simple tool that helps you create a layout for your shop. The Business eShop template you choose will automatically adjust your colour palette and fonts library to suit. Personalise the design by uploading your own logos and text, so that the design reflects your brand appropriately.
4. Click Items in the menu on the lefthand side of the Control Panel to upload your catalogue of products. You can input each item manually, then simply drag-and-drop products to sort them. Alternatively, for large lists of products, you can save time by importing either a .csv or .xml file.
5. Add up to three image groups per product – for example, to show off the front, side and back views. Each image group holds up to three images, which are resized automatically to Preview, Normal and Large sizes. The Preview images are used in the main product page; the others are displayed in detail view.
6. Click Payment and Shipping to configure the payment options available to your customers. You can define shipping costs, currency and pricing for different areas if you have overseas customers, as well as selecting the payment methods you will accept, from online transfers to invoices and cash on delivery.
7. Use links within the software to submit items to eBay as auctions. Click on eBay to submit items and view their status – their starting price, auction duration and when the last change was made to the item, for example. eBay shoppers can buy multiple items from your store without incurring additional fees.
8. Click Orders to create PDF invoices and delivery notes. These can either be viewed in HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) format or printed out and delivered with orders. Use the text editor to customise invoices to match your business stationery. Details such as currency, VAT and contact details are automatically configured.
9. To ensure your shop is up to scratch before publishing it online you can preview it. If necessary, you can then go back in and change details, images or the general appearance of your shop before allowing it to go live. If you’re happy with the preview, click Publish eShop.
10. By publishing your eShop on the internet, you allow customers to browse and buy items online. You can keep track of sales, accept secure payments, sell items via eBay auctions and send out invoices from within the software. You can also make updates and alterations from any browser.