Questions to Answer in Setting Up an Online Store
Setting up an online store will entail a variety of tasks for the store owner. Before finally taking off to the actual store building process, there are some questions that you need to answer first. Find out in this first half of a two-part article the guide questions that will help you decide on the functionalities and features of your online store. Answering these items will also give you a clearer idea of the things that you have to consider in putting up your online store.
1. Do you want to have an email list or a newsletter sign-up?
With a mailing list, your customers’ email addresses will be collected while with a newsletter sign-up you are committing to sending out newsletters once in a while. These are two great ways of updating your customers about your latest products, services, and promos and enticing them to keep visiting the site.
2. Do you have a customer service number? Do you want to display it prominently? Is it a toll-free number? Do you have a separate phone number for placing orders? Do you want to display it prominently? Is it a toll-free number?
Displaying your phone numbers prominently on the site will give your clients the option of discussing business with you via phone call. With this, you are also giving your clients more confidence on your company and more options to reach you.
3. Would you like to include a customer rating and/or product review feature on the site? How about a product tag feature?
Customer rating and product review are interactive ways that will let your clients know that you value their opinions and comments. This will make your clients feel that their say on your products and services matter. Customer rating and product review also help site viewers know about what other customers say about your product and services and assist them in coming up with an informed buying decision.
Product tags, on the other hand are keywords that you (the administrator) or your registered clients can assign to specific products on your eStore. These tags will allow you and your clients to put labels on the products for easier navigation and search engine optimization benefits.
4. Do you offer:
a. Free size exchanges?
b. Warranty from defects? For how long?
c. No risk, 30 days exchanges and returns?
It is important to ask yourself whether you are going to offer these policies on your eStore. Implementing these policies is a good way to give your clients more confidence on your products and services. On the other hand, it will entail responsibilities and obligations on your part as an entrepreneur. If you decide to do so, you have to be specific with the terms of the policy and be sure to implement them.
5. Do you offer any other promos like Buy 1 Get 1 or discount rates for certain number of products purchased (price items differently for higher quantities)? If yes, what are these promos and what are their conditions or policies?
Promos are effective ways of enticing your customers to keep visiting the site and purchasing products. Before putting up your online store, it is also important to consider having promos and discounts. However, be sure to explicitly state on the site the policies and conditions of each promo to avoid misunderstanding with clients.
6. Aside from credit cards, will you also accept PayPal? Are there any other modes of payment that you accept?
Before setting up an online store, you should be able to determine the ways on how you will accept payments for your products and services. Some examples of payment gateways are Verisign, Authorize.net, PayPal, Google Checkout, and bank payments.
7. Do you offer Free Shipping? Please provide the details such as minimum order, or type of order, etc.
a. only for Canada
b. only for Canada and US (48 contiguous states only?)
c. only for US
Some online shops offer free shipping once their clients reached a minimum order. This kind of promo may also be limited to a specific type of order or shipping address. Make sure that you specify the policies and conditions on your online store.
8. Do you want the name of the courier company you will be using to be displayed on the homepage? If yes, please enumerate. Example, UPS, FedEx, etc.
No customer would like to go through the hassle and inconveniences of delayed shipments or lost packages. That is why some customers are very particular with the courier company that will handle their purchased products. Displaying the name of your courier company on the homepage will then give your clients a quick look at the options that you offer them.
9. Do you offer same day shipping? If yes, what are the mechanics? Example: only applicable for orders placed by 4PM EST?
If you will be offering same day shipping on your site, make sure that you clearly mention its terms and conditions. Some online shops would state that this is applicable for orders placed by a specific time. This feature will also involve some responsibilities on your part as an entrepreneur.
10. Will your customers have the ability to track their orders?
If you intend to do so, you will have to coordinate with your courier company regarding the tracking number for the shipments. The tracking number may be sent to your customers emails so they can see the status of their orders.
The first ten questions correspond to customer loyalty and convenience, payment, and a bit of shipping concerns. By now, you are probably contemplating about how you want your eStore to be. You may also have some questions in your head that still needs to be answered. Feel free to share with us your thoughts.
Stay tuned for our next article on other questions about shipping matters and other elements needed for an online store.