4 things to think about before you start an online shop

This post is a chapter from our e-book Getting Started With E-Commerce – The Beginner's Guide to Starting an Online Shop.
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Logo and branding

Your logo is really important. Why? Because it builds trust. People are more likely to do business with you if you have a well-designed logo. But if your logo looks a bit shoddy, people will assume your products are shoddy too.

The best way to avoid this is to have your logo designed by a professional. There are cheap online logo design services but, in our experience, it’s best to think local. You’ll get the best value and best service by going with a small local graphic designer or print shop with an in-house designer. You’ll avoid paying the thousands of dollars that you’d pay an ad agency or large design firm but you’ll still get personal service and a great logo.

Understand the reasons people buy online

There are three main reasons people buy online: price, convenience, selection.


Can people get your product or something similar for cheaper elsewhere? If your prices are the same or higher than somewhere else, then you need to have some other selling-points to make sure people will still buy from you.


For a lot of people, buying products on their computer or smart-phone is less hassle than hunting it out in a shop. But sometimes price still trumps convenience; if your prices are too high, people will often put up with the extra hassle and do their shopping in-store.


It’s an advantage if your product is unique, one-of-a-kind or is just hard to find in retail stores. If this is the case, you don’t necessarily need to offer cheap prices because a lot of people will be willing to pay more simply because they can’t get it anywhere else.

Do people want it and what will they pay?

It’s a simple question but a really important one to ask in the early days of your online shop. If there’s not enough demand for your product, it won’t sell no matter how much effort you put in. And if you price it higher than what people are willing to pay for it, it won’t sell either.

A simple way to test the demand and pricing is talk to friends and family. The only problem is, they may be too kind on you. You need honest feedback. One good, low-cost way to do this is to try selling at a small craft and artisan market. You’ll very quickly get a feel for what people think of your product—and what they think of the price.

Another option is to sell through websites like Etsy. Etsy is an online marketplace for handmade products. Because it’s curated by Etsy (who have millions of sellers), buyers tend to trust the site, which means you could make your first sale quite quickly.

What kinds of products are good for selling online?

The best products for selling online are not too cheap, but not too expensive, not too fragile and not too large.

If your product is too cheap—say, only a few dollars—shipping might cost more than the actual product. Most people would rather just buy it locally and avoid the shipping cost. So your product needs to be expensive enough that people feel justified in paying for shipping.

If a product is too expensive, on the other hand, or too fragile, buyers will be nervous about the risks of their pricey or delicate item being couriered. Plus, for expensive purchases, buyers usually want to touch and feel the item before shelling out for it.

And finally, if a product is too large, the cost of shipping is high. Most buyers would rather just buy in-store and hot have to pay for freight.