02 Mar 2020

How to: Practical considerations for setting up online.

"There’s not always a need to reinvent the wheel." Martin Newman

Retail expert Martin Newman of Practicology answers your starter questions.

1. How to start an online ecommerce business

Before starting an online ecommerce business in the UK you should ask yourself some questions. Decide your customer value proposition. What are you selling? What competition is out there including established stores-based retailer? Why should customers come and buy from you?

2. Why is a business plan important?

Having a plan when setting up an online business will help you document what you’re trying to do and work through your customer value proposition. It will help you work out the costs, how you will promote and market your product and what the opportunity is.

3. How do I know if my business idea is a good one?

Gut instinct is normally the best barometer but also do your research. Talk to family and friends. If you encourage them to be, they’re likely to be the most open. You could also ask your own social media network if you’re happy to do that.

4. The average time to start an online business

This all depends on how you’re funding it. If you’re going to the bank, you will need to spend more time and put more rigour around the planning process. If not, you can be more fleet of foot and make decisions more quickly. You’ll probably need a good month or two to do a decent amount of planning.

5. How to choose a product to sell online

You don’t always need to have a new idea when thinking about how to start an online business. There’s not always a need to reinvent the wheel. Look at AO.com, it worked out there is a new and better way to buy an electrical product online. Could you come up with something similar for another retail sector?

6. Choose the best ecommerce platform

Think from a customer point of view. If you were buying, what customer functionality would you like? Try and buy products from other websites to give you a feel for the type of experience you want to offer.

7. How much does an ecommerce website cost?

There are lots of cost-effective low-cost ecommerce platforms and solutions that can deliver against the experience and get you up and running for under £10,000. One mistake is to try to build the technology yourself. My view is it’s better to use what’s already been developed for the market.

Looking for more retail advice? Visit Autumn Fair and take part in our free seminars and workshops. 


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