**UPDATED FOR 2021** 
You want to sell things online. People like buying things online. Sounds good so far? 
Being able to sell your product 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to customers around the world is an ideal situation. A shop that never closes. A shop that makes you money while you sleep. Great... But how do you go about it and what should you look out for? 

 Do you really NEED an e-commerce site? 

And by e-commerce, we mean a website with full shopping basket capabilities, categories and products, stock management, multiple payment gateways etc, etc? 
If you've got just a few products, you're not selling in bulk, or the price point is quite low, you may want to consider using PayPal or Worldpay 'Buy Now' Buttons.  
Yes, the fees can be higher than other payment gateways but the simplicity of set-up and the ease of use for the customer makes it an attractive option. 
Our Max Website Package includes PayPal and Worldpay 'Buy Now' buttons as standard. PayPal even offers a subscription option on their buttons, so you can take regular payments each month. 
Just use the it'seeze edit system to add the buttons and set prices - and hey presto, you're up and running! 
PROS: It's a simple, cost effective way to start selling single items online. 
CONS: You can only sell one thing at a time. There's no option for adding lots of different items to a shopping basket or adding features such as discounts, variants or calculating postage. 

 How complex do you need your shop to be? 

OK, so you've got lots of products and need something that can handle the busiest of sales periods.  
First thing to consider is ease of use. Setting up your shop, categories, products, delivery, variants, stock etc should be fairly straightforward, however you need to look at how easy it is to edit the general web pages, text, images, and product guide downloads.  
You need a platform that really gives you full control over as much as possible without having to incur the expense of going back to a developer every time you need a change or update. It would also be benficial to have ongoing help and support (speaking to a real person) when you're stuck! 
Using a comprehensive website editor (such as the one included as standard on all our websites) will provide you with the ability to add pages, blogs, features and to update text, images, links, video, audio and much more. 

 Appealing to your target audience 

How about the look, feel and design of your site? Honestly, do you REALLY want to use a standard shopify, magento or woo commerce template? Does that make you stand out?  
I think you know the answer here... Your website needs to reflect your product, your brand, your vision and a template isn't really going to cut it here. 
Photography and imagery will be key. Shop websites are very visual, the product photos should be high quality and designed to appeal to your audience. Show them as much as you can and leave no doubt about what they should expect when they purchase.  
As you'd expect, our commerce websites are built from scratch so you've no limitations when it comes to choosing a design for your site. 
You also need to think about the copy (words) for the website and the tone of voice you use, especially the product descriptions. Take a look at our blog post here on how to write engaging product descriptions

 What makes you special? 

Let's be honest - setting up and running an e-commerce site isn't easy. It takes hard work and there's lots of things to consider.  
Is your product unique?  
Do you have an irresisitable offer?  
How will people find out about you (driving traffic through marketing / advertising)?  
Why should somebody buy from you and not your competitor?  
It's worth considering all of these and more before you get too far with the business.  
Look at your competitors - what are they saying, how do they come across - ask yourself would you buy from them? What can you improve on? 
Once you're up and running, we'd recommend keeping things simple by monitoring your traffic / paid ads / content marketing and your landing or product pages to see how well they're converting - before you start adding pop-ups, sequences and other added extras. This will help you build the data you need to improve your customer's journey. 

 Taking online payments 

How easy is it for people to buy from you? Can customers browse without creating an account? Can they select multiple delivery options? More importantly, can they purchase from you using a trusted payment gateway such as Worldpay, Sage Pay or Barclaycard? 
Our Shop Websites work with a wide range of payment gateway services.  
The payment gateways supported in our shop package are: Authipay, Cardstream (Including CardPayGo, First Payment Merchant Services, Handepay, Pay Global, Paytriot, Retail Merchant Services, and Universal Transaction Processing), ePDQ (Barclaycard), Global Iris, PayPal, PayVector (Including Paymentsense and Payzone), Sage Pay, Stripe, Viva Wallet and WorldPay.  
Please be aware that payment providers will charge you a fee for using their services - some work on a fixed monthly price while others may take a percentage of each transaction. Take a look at a few options and see what's right for you - often there are some good deals to be had!  
Staged payments? Buy now, pay in 3 installments? Adding this fuctionality to your site can really help convert clients to buy higher value products. You can now add Payl8r to all it'seeze shop sites. 

 Ongoing support 

You've got everything complete, your online shop has been built, you've added your products and you're live. What next? Will your web developers continue to support you as you get going? If you have a problem is there help available? 
With our ongoing subscription, you get ongoing support. That's support from us locally, support from our head office team and 24/7 support with our in-depth support website - chock full of how-to guides and videos.  
You also get support with your domain, emails, hosting, security, back-ups and SEO. We don't just leave you to struggle, we're available to help with questions and issues.  
And on top of that, you get ongoing system updates including new features to integrate into your site whenever they become available. All at no extra cost. 
If you need help with things like copywriting and SEO or photography and video, we have paid for packages that can help there too, along with shop set up and management (if you don't have the time). 

 Talk to us to find out more... 

We’re your friendly Hull web design company offering affordable shop and e-commerce website packages that can include blog writing, photography, videography and social media management. To find out more, get in touch on 01482 880 929 or fill in our contact form
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