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How to start an online shop quickly and cheaply

Posted on 16th April, 2020 by Jodie Pennington

Web Design

Has your business been forced to shut up shop? Do you wish you’d invested more time and money in creating an online presence for your business and an ecommerce shop? In this blog, we’ll look at how you can quickly and cheaply move your business online and start building an online shopping portal for your customers.

And, while a fully-fledged ecommerce shop is an ideal choice for those looking to replicate their bricks and mortar business, for those who just want to test the waters an ecommerce landing page is a perfect choice. Not only is a landing page much cheaper than a full online shop but it will also be a lot quicker to get up and running and start driving revenue for your business. For simplicity, in this article, we’re going to focus on setting up an ecommerce landing page for your business.

Choose your products or offer

Depending on your business the first step is to work out what products or services you’ll want to offer customers online, to start with we’d recommend limiting your offering to half a dozen products as this should help you understand how the process works and if this is a viable option for your business. Some examples for businesses that have shuts their doors include:

Restaurant – Many restaurants have started offering home delivery or collection service to their customers and a landing page makes it easy to let your customers know that you are now offering a takeaway service. You could include an updated or simplified menu as well as a menu order form, updated contact number or a link to Uber Eats, Just Eat or Deliveroo for customers to place their order.

Hair and Beauty Salons – While it may seem impossible to provide beauty services remotely you can still provide your customers with the products that they need to take their beauty and hair care into their own hands. Combine this with some handy online tutorials and you could win more customers than ever before while heeling to ensure that when things get back to normal it is your business that they choose to visit.

Clothing store – For most small clothing boutiques social media and an ecommerce landing page could be a perfect short-term solution that can help you to continue to serve your customers. Popular items are likely to include comfortable loungewear, pyjamas, shorts and summery outfits as the sunshine seems set to continue.

Delivery and Payments

Once you know what products or services you are offering the next step are to decide on how you want to make delivery and take payments. For example, it probably makes sense for a restaurant offering takeaway food to only take orders for local customers and either take payment over the phone or cash on collection or delivery. While for a clothing store you may want to take payment online via PayPal or another payment gateway and use a courier service for deliveries.

Choose a landing page

There are many ways that you can add a landing page to your website depending on your skills, ability and your current website platform. One way to get all the functionality you need is to use a dedicated landing page and simply add a link to this from your main website or just promote this through social media and email marketing. Some of the best landing page builders include:

Lander – This has a good selection of features and templates, and easy to use drag and drop editor with in-built PayPal integration buttons already in place on the majority of the templates meaning you simply need to hook up your account, add your prices and update the content and you are ready to start selling. Pricing starts at $16 a month and there is a 14-day free trial so you can see if it is the right solution for you.

Landingi – An easy to use landing page builder, Landingi requires no programming skills and lets you create great-looking landing pages that are designed to convert. Simply select a template that you like and start editing it to build your ecommerce landing page. Form integration is easy, and you can add your embeddable content – great for those looking to include a PayPal button on their products. Pricing starts at $29 a month and like Lander, there is a free 14-day trial.

Mailchimp – You might know Mailchimp as the go-to email marketing solution, but did you know they also have an inbuilt landing page builder which offers some pretty great functionality? Mailchimp even gives you the ability to take payments from the landing pages you create helping you to easily start making money. And the best thing about it – Mailchimp has a very generous free plan.

Set up your landing page

Once you’ve selected the landing page builder you want to use and the template you want it’s time to start building your new online shop page. Using a template helps to make your job much easier and means that you can quickly customise your chosen landing page by adding your content. Some of the things that you’ll need to update include:

Branding – If your landing page is going to be separate from your main website then you need to make sure that you are using your company branding and colour scheme. This will help build trust with your customers and reassure them that they are in the right place.

Photos – Make sure you include real images of your business as well as good quality product images – nothing is appealing about a blurry product photo. Simply taking the time to place images on a plain background with even lighting around them will help you to capture some great product images.

Real reviews – Social proof goes a long way when it comes to local businesses. Publishing a few recent customer reviews and links to where these have been left will help you build trust and give customers the confidence to choose your business.

Mobile-friendly – Don’t forget to check how your landing page looks on multiple devices. More and more customers are solely using their smartphones to place orders online and browse the internet so make sure your landing page caters to them (all of the platforms we’ve recommended are mobile-friendly).

Buy now buttons – Give your customers the options to purchase on your landing page directly with the integration or buy now or other ecommerce buttons. Paypal is probably one of the easiest platforms for this as once you create an account you can create all the buttons you need and allow customers to purchase securely using PayPal or a credit or debit card.

Less is more – When it comes to landing pages try to limit the number of things you are trying to promote. The fewer distractions and links to other places the more likely it is that potential customers will convert on your landing pages.

Connect your domain name

Once you’ve built your landing page, you’ll need to connect it to your domain name so that this matches your website. Luckily most landing page tools make this process as simple as possible with full instructions provided. Alternatively, you will also often have the option of keeping this separate and having these pages hosted by your landing page platform.

Start sharing your landing page

Now that you’ve got your landing page all set up and working, it’s time to get sharing it to your potential and existing customers. There are many ways that you can promote your newly created landing page but some of the best include:

Social media – There’s much more to social media than just funny memes, if you don’t already use social media for marketing your business now is the time to get started. Local community groups are a good starting point for communicating with customers just remember to make your posts relevant and not just put out purely self-serving content.
E.g. For a restaurant that is now offering takeaway service and delivery why not put a post together about how you are helping people self-isolating with your food delivery services. People are looking to support local businesses so make sure people know you are open for business.

Website – Add a banner with a link on the homepage of your website to direct people to your new online shop and enable them to buy online. This will help people who visit your website normally to see that you are still open for business and providing normal or limited service.

Email campaign – Have you already got an email subscription list of your customers? If so then this is the perfect time to put this to good use. A well-built email campaign can drive a considerable amount of traffic to your new landing page and help drive revenue to your business.

Online ads – Platforms such as Google Ads and Facebook Ads make it easy to attract new customers, just remember that since you are paying for the clicks you need to carefully watch your advert spend and make sure that your advertising spend results on a positive return.

We hope that this guide helps you establish an online sales portal for your business, and we’d love to hear your feedback in the comments section below. If you’d like some help setting up a landing page for your business then we’d be happy to help so feel free to get in touch with our friendly team today on 0161 909 3400.

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