How to start a webshop and be successfull

Dated Sunday September 2, 2012

Tags: marketing, website

Een webwinkel beginnen

A webshop is within reach for everybody. It even can be done while having a fulltime job! The costs are low and so worth the gamble. The ease with which a webshop can be started also means most webshop don't last longer then a year. The mean cause: unrealistic expectation. Although webshop are easy to start, they won't make you a millionaire over night. Here are some tips to make sure your webshop will succeed:

Check the webshops competition

The reason you are starting a webshop is probably because you have an product that is unique, better, more fun or cheaper then every where else it is offered. But are you realy sure? Spend a day browsing on the internet, searching for the competition. Find out if your product is realy that unique. And if not, adjust your plans to make it so.

Plan for the long term

Launcing a website takes time. Customers don't come in in big numbers the moment you go live. The webshop needs time to grow and gain its position in Google. Take in account that its takes aproximaly a year for you are realy up and running.

So don't get frustrated if the income does not cover the costs after the first few months. Make sure you have a budget that lasts a year so you have the time to realy get the webshop started. Use this time to promote and improve your website contiously.

Go live ASAP

Most people keep on thinkering and improving their website before finily going live. As discussed in the previous section, getting the webshop running in Google takes a long time. And this start the moment you go live and start to promote your webshop. Al those months preparing don't count.

Another reason to go live ASAP is the way in which you improve your webshop. It is better to do so based on feedback of actual customers then guesing it yourself. Once the basic lay-out is finished, the catalogue is filled and online payment is set up: go live. Ask feedback from everybody who visists the webshop. Combine customer interaction and improving the webshop. Be sure to be out there for your customers to reach you. This means contactforms on the website, but also on Twitter and Facebook.

Have set moment in the week when you work on your webshop

A webshop does not run it self. Not only do you have to process the incoming orders, improving and promoting your webshop is also a continious task. Have a set time in the week when you work on the following:

  • promotion
  • resupplying your stock
  • improving the webshop
  • updating blogs (optional)
  • bookkeeping

Also make sure you have half an hour a day to:

  • process new order
  • reply to questions and complaints

Know how much the webshop is going to cost

Having a plan is the first step to success. It is your insurance you will not be forced to stop a increasingly successfull webshop because you run out of funds. Create an fairly detailed estimate of how much you are going to spend on the following:

  • Design and development of the webshop
  • Maintance of the webshop
  • Initial stock of products
  • Unsellable products first year (food going bad, clothing out of fashion)
  • Marketing

Do your research and get quotes. Get a realistic view of the costs for the first year. Add 25% for unforsean setbacks. Can you come up with a plan you still can affort? Then you are halfway to a successfull webshop.

Know how much you are going to earn

Month 1 to 3

Your first products are being sold. If you are doing realy well, 20% to 25% of your costs are covered by selling products.

Promote your website to friends and family. You are most likely to get valuable feedback there. They also will be more temped to buy from you over the competition. If friends and family don't by your products you might need to adjust your products or prices. Ask them for feedback!

Month 4 to 6

Online sales are starting to come in. Still in low numbers, but friends and family are becoming less importand for the revenue of the webshop. Still no online orders? Then you need to rethink you seo and marketing efforts. Check if you have enough visitors. Generally speaking you need 100 customers for 1 sale. Do you have over 200 visitors a day and still no sales? Check why visitors are not temped to by. It could be that the presentation is not compelling enough or the checkout process to complicated.

Month 7 to 12


Online sales are starting to take of. Don't relax yet, keep putting in the effort. Also check if, when contiuing this growth, you will hit the break even point on the end of the year.