Setting Up an Online Store – Dos and Donts

ecommerce is our bread-and-butter. After extensive years of research and mystery shopping, we can say with confidence that we have a very good understanding of what works and doesn’t work online in Egypt. That is why we thought of sharing with you what we think are the do’s and don’ts for setting up and running your online store.

Even if you are a veteran online shopper or seller, you may want to give this post a read – and of course let us know if we missed skipped any important points based on your experience!

  1. when setting up, make sure that you choose a reputable, reliable and professional hosting service. Do not get tempted by *free* hosting offers – nothing in life is free. If it is advertised as free, it is not good enough for your business

  2. always, always, always dedicate someone to be responsible for your store, full time. Do not count on adding the site maintenance responsibility to your “IT guy” or sysadmin. And if you decide to pay a company to do it for you, make sure that you have a 24/7 access to them. Even better – choose a company that is in the same building/street as yours!

  3. make sure to use up-to-date prices and inventory information. You’d be surprised at how a price difference between (brick and mortar) store and online can create a bad, lasting impression

  4. include clear information about applicable fees, taxes, delivery, and payment option cost differences

  5. conduct a vigorous a spell check on your page content.

  6. make sure that you use SEO-compliant content and DO NOT use images instead of hyperlinks or (banner)texts …

  7. always include basic info, company name, physical address, and contact number – it makes a potential shopper feel safer if (s)he can see you are a real company

  8. choose a reliable storefront solution, such as magento, opencart or shopify

  9. ensure that your store is always up and running, and never allow panicky pages or errors to be displayed to the user

  10. always make sure that your page is readable on all browsers and all devices 

  11. you should leave users an option for a “guest checkout” – no need to haggle users into creating an account just to buy one thing …

  12. when you upload a product and make it available on the store, do not reinvent the wheel when it comes to product tags and descriptions. Follow best-practice like Google shopping or Amazon’s merchant guidelines – or even better, use something like icecat.biz for standardized product catalog info – it is free (as in freedom). Include a UPC/MPN/ISBN where applicable

  13. and finally, do not forget that you are selling a physical product, and so, your perception and service matter a lot. Respond to customer questions and ensure smooth and prompt delivery of quality products to your customers!

Bottomline is that you should not compromise on your store’s quality, availability or service. At the end of the day, your goal is to increase your chances of a conversion and outperform your competition.

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