The process of setting up an online retail business should not be rushed. Rather, it must be done deliberately, with patience, allowing plenty of time for technical preparation and logistic strategies. Rushing the setup of your online store could increase your risk of missing vital steps and could lead to the demise of your business before it even starts.
Consider these all-important technical factors as you build your online store from the ground up:
- Software – When you organize an online store, there are two big options. First, you could choose a hosted store with software that is maintained and provided by the same company, requiring recurring monthly fees. The other option is a self-hosted store where you pay for your own server and download, install, and maintain the store software yourself. You must carefully evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of each one before making a decision. For example, a hosted solution may cost more, but it may also provide stability. A self-hosted solution may require more time investment, but it may also provide you with more flexibility and customization options.
- Host or site upgrade – A self-hosted store requires a server, which you must choose from the many available options; shared hosting, VPS, dedicated server, etc. Before you settle on a host, consider the features that you need and the price you can pay. Consult reviews of different hosts you are considering. Feedback from other customers can help you make a more educated choice.
- Site security – A lot of highly sensitive information flows in and out of an online store. Ensure that all the consumer information submitted to your online store, such as personal details, billing addresses, and credit card information, will remain secure. The stakes are high if that information is compromised.
- Backups – Accidents happen when it comes to computers. Data could be deleted accidentally with a click of the mouse. Servers can crash. Your computer could crash. Set up a system for backing up your files to ensure that you do not lose critical data.
- Shipping software – Shipping software is crucial for an online store. No customer likes inaccurate or missing shipping info. Make sure that your shipping software provides product tracking, too, to keep customers current of their delivery.
- Payment gateway – Naturally, to make a profit, you need to collect payment from your customers. There are compatible payment gateways for whatever kind of platform your store uses. Find one that offers efficient integration into your store software of choice and that is reasonable on fees.
Though opening an online store may seem simple, there’s plenty of work that must go on behind the scenes. A solid foundation for your online store can translate into a strong reputation in your industry.