How to open an online store on a low budget

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Source: Unsplash / Mia Baker.

If you are an existing business and looking to start selling your services or products online, it can seem difficult to know where to start. Many assume that setting up an online store is expensive and time consuming, but in reality it can be done quickly and on a budget.

Assuming your business is registered and properly set up, there are a few key steps you need to take to get your eCommerce store up and running. First, you need to establish an online presence to make sure that your products reach your target market and second, you need a way to accept online payments from your customers.

How to create an online presence

Since the start of the pandemic, establishing a strong digital presence has become more important than ever. With a supplement 200,000 new Australian online shoppers since then, and over 18 million total online shoppers, there are many opportunities for those looking to sell their services or products online.

You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to build an online store. Instagram and Facebook now allow you to sell directly from your business page. Likewise, established marketplaces like Etsy, Amazon, and eBay are a great way to get started and quickly build an online customer base.

2021 is about sustaining your business and learning from the business hubs you made in 2020. There’s no better time to start accepting online payments for your business than today. Pin Payments helps small businesses in Australia accept payments every day. Start today.

If your budget allows, there are also plenty of ecommerce compatible platforms like Wix, Ecwid, and WordPress that are easy to use. These options will provide you with an easy and profitable way to start selling.

Be aware that unless you choose a marketplace like Etsy or eBay, you will need to establish marketing strategies to grow your audience and drive traffic to your store. While you get additional exposure by being in a marketplace, vendors often take a share of the products sold.

Ultimately, which choice you make will depend on where your business is at and what existing tools you have in place.

Configure your payment processing

Once you’ve determined which service you’ll use to set up your online store, you’ll need to select an online payment system that fits your budget.

Offering bank transfer payments might seem like the easiest way to get started, but by not offering card payments you risk missing out on long-term sales or making the payment process more difficult for your customers.

Most payment service providers offer different ways of accepting payments, such as a payment page link that can be added to an existing page on your website, or to an invoice as a link. Some also allow you to process payments while on the phone with customers using a virtual terminal.

When selecting a provider, check the fine print as some providers charge monthly fees and service fees in addition to transaction fees. While this isn’t necessarily a cost associated with starting your business, it’s good to keep it in mind when making your decision. To reduce costs, suppliers who offer overload as a feature could be a good choice for your business. This allows you to pass the processing costs on to your customers.

The advantage of setting up an online payment system is that you can easily integrate it with your accounting software, like Xero, to allow card payments for billing and streamline sales reconciliation.

Nice to have extras

For those looking to take it a step further, it’s worth looking at an online shopping cart for your online business through providers like Spiffy Stores, Ecwid, and WooCommerce. Platforms like Ecwid even offer free plans for up to ten products. These services vary quite widely in terms of the expertise required to use them.

While Spiffy Stores and Ecwid can be set up without any external help, WooCommerce may require additional developer support for plugins and themes. Each of these services usually comes with a monthly subscription.

Likewise, if you are looking to create your marketing materials but don’t have a graphic designer, Canva is a great user-friendly platform to help you create anything from business cards to social media graphics.

Ultimately, there are plenty of options for anyone looking to start an online store and your choice will depend on your business needs and budget.

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