In order to function properly and be successful, web stores need to have at least their basic requirements met. There are certain technical aspects that must be set up before you begin to sell online and the preparation stage is crucial. We’ll have a look at these aspects below:
- The store software
A store without proper software to power it is simply a gallery of products. To make it function as desired, you need to install and use content management system or e-commerce software. To this, you will be adding compatible plugins for shopping carts, currencies, payment gateways and more.
- The web host
Take care of the hosting aspect at this stage too – you may choose a company to host your site for a monthly fee or host it yourself: pick a server and pay for it, then download the e-commerce software to it, install and maintain it all by yourself, if you have the know-how. The most frequent route for businesses is that of selecting a quality host, otherwise the tasks are too laborious.
- E-commerce site security
Since the matter involves payments and sensible data, the security aspect is crucial. Usually, modern e-commerce platform pack the essentials of security, but you must check anyway. You must have a SSL certificate, no permanent customer data storing and secure password feature without plain text storing. In addition, you must ensure server protection through either a firewall or a maintenance service provided by the host. Also, every now and then your chosen e-commerce software will notify you of updates. Always install these, because they contain fixes to security bugs and other such issues.
- Setting automatic backups
Even when everything is in place, you can still accidentally lose files or important data. Don’t begin to sell a thing until you have set up automatic regular backups. Your online store will thus have all the data it needs, at all times, regardless of what happens. If you don’t do this, you might have one day to restart everything from scratch.
- Shipment management
Have you ever through about all the stages of shipping an order? You need to register the order a customer has placed, print out correct labels to stick to the boxes, provide the customers with tracking information, manage different carriers, import details and send regular info to customers. The solution to all of these is to use shipping software that can automatically manage the aspects mentioned above. This will save you a lot of precious time and effort.
- Selecting the payment gateway
Your web store has already taken shape. Now it’s time to choose the most appropriate payment gateway, so you can start receiving the customer’s money. Select one that works well in your country and with the given currency or currencies. Create a merchant account with the preferred solution and be aware of all the fees involved. If you plan on enabling subscriptions or bookings, then select a gateway with automatic billing.
With all the above stages completed, your store is ready to work as intended and be sustainable. The design aspect is very important too, so make sure it’s practical and intuitive rather than just good looking. The purpose of your web store, after all, is to close sales.