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Managing an Online Shop – Master

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Sam Hollis is a Web Designer, Business Owner, Dad,  Digital Marketing Expert and Podcaster

‘I’m always happy to chat and advice is always free’

Online shopping is worth a massive $6.3 trillion worldwide in 2024, and it is going to keep growing for the foreseeable future. For those looking to get involved or expand their business onto the web, online shops are fairly easy to set up and run, once you have the right info and plans ready. Fortunately, we have pulled all the information you need to plan, launch and run an internet shop together in one place and linked it to this blog. You’re welcome!

Managing your online shop – Contents

Planning your shop

Online shopping in pyjamas

Planning could well be the most important stage of managing your online shop. From your objectives to target demographic to the content you’re going to use to make those all-important sales: You need to get all of those decisions right at the planning stage and it could be incredibly significant for the future of your business. Learn what to think about and how to bring it all together, here.

Planning your demographic

As we mentioned above, there are a lot of opportunities in e-commerce, and a lot of money, too. That doesn’t mean you can launch your shop presuming you will pull in lots of income automatically, though. To generate a good profit, it’s important to think about your ideal demographic in advance: Who will buy your product and why? More importantly, where will you reach them and how will you stand out from the competition as the right choice? E.g. Why should the buyer come to your cheap furniture shop, instead of Ikea?

It’s important to know if the shop will work in the planning stage in this way, so ensure you can answer these questions convincingly and put your answers to the test. When you have done that, you can start planning your website around getting your demographic to the buying stage.

Planning your website

The best way to think of your website plan is as a journey leading the user from wherever they enter your site to your ultimate objective. This is the customer journey.

On this journey, it’s important that customers:

  • Are kept engaged with attractive, structured and relevant visual and written content.
  • Don’t get overloaded with information but do receive your key messages repeatedly in different ways.
  • Want to take your calls to action, leading them along the journey.
  • Can choose a quick route to buying if they want, even if there is a longer, more info-intensive option.

Although you’re looking to hit your objective, the site should be designed around the customer and their goals. Aim to give them what they want, and you will get what you want. In an online shop, as in a relationship, always be saying you, you, you, what can I do for you, or how can I build up our partnership. Never just be saying me, me, me.

Launching your shop

Launching cash registers don't just exist in real shopsyour shop will differ depending on your tools, software, objectives (see above) and products. We recommend WooCommerce as a useable and effective online shop tool for most purposes. It proved itself as such in our test against Shopify, the other major competitor in that area. It is versatile, flexible and hugely personaliseable, if a little fiddly. For those reasons, we’ve turned to the WooCommerce tool to show you how to set up your online business

Find out more about WooCommerce and setting up your shop on the platform by linking to the open-source software’s website here.

Running your business

Once you have got your shop up and running, you need to take up the constant challenge of keeping it running. That means keeping stocked, doing the admin, promoting and selling your wares. WooCommerce and Shopify offer some additional help in this area. However, Sam Hollis’s blog on the subject will help you promote your Three star online shop?shop until it is a success with the help of conversion funnels, landing pages and effective product descriptions.

Running a successful shop is just the last step in a journey of marketing, advertising and courting search engines like Google to get people in.

You need to take people through three broad steps to get them buying from your shop, and you need at least one marketing and sales tool working on each step of the process to make sales. More tools in each step will increase the number of people pulled through each:

Step 1: Make people aware

Use pay-per-click advertising (PPC), Paid search advertising, Search engine optimisation (SEO) , Social media (In some situations), and paid social media advertising to get your shop noticed on the big wide web.

Step 2: Get prospective customers interested and engaged

  • Social media – Social media is much better at engaging customers already interested in your brand than getting you noticed in the first place.
  • Email marketing – Newsletters, offers and adverts to keep people interested via email.
  • Blogs – Blogs like this are good ways to engage people with your brand and your site.
  • Lead magnets – These draw people to sign up for an email campaign in return for something free and useful.

Step 3: Make the sale

E-commerce platforms like WooCommerce, carefully engineered sales pages, and well-worded calls to action are great ways to make the deal and close the sale.

Improving your online boutique

Analytics are invaluable pieces of information. In the case of WooCommerce or Shopify, they can turn your average eCommerce operation into a great one with just a little reviewing, reconsidering and remarketing. Our blog on this subject outlines 5 ways to improve your WooCommerce shop sales using these precious pieces of information. Then, as if that wasn’t enough, we have another five ways to improve sales using the WooCommerce Google Analytics extension. My cup runneth over.

Improving your shop using the internal analytics tool

  • Learn from best-sellers and experiment with non-sellers – If something is selling well, it could be because of where on your site it is, how it’s photographed, described and promoted. Learn lessons from your best sellers and experiment with less hot products.
  • Keep your stock optimised – Ensure you have a lot of products that sell well and top up your best-sellers frequently This should be one of the first things you start doing.
  • Diversify the right stock – Find the products that are selling well and bring in similar ones.
  • Time your promotions – Learn the times, days and months when your shop performs best. Focus timed promotions to increase sales and customer spending around these times. When it’s quieter, you can focus on long-term promotional development and remarketing (selling more to existing customers).
  • Optimise for customer spending styles – Are your customers big spenders or economical Erics? Frequent flyers or occasional visitors? Focus your stock and marketing on the level and spending style of your customer. You don’t want to be promoting cheap deals to customers who like the VIP premium approach.

Improving your shop using the WooCommerce Google Analytics extension

  • Remarket, remarket, remarket – Marketing to people who have clicked ‘buy’ on a product but not checked out with it, or abandonment remarketing is the single most effective form of e-commerce marketing there is. Proportional to spend, it gets many more leads and much higher returns than any other kind of marketing. WooCommerce Google Analytics’s (WGA’s) action and abandonment monitoring lets you do this to great effect – use it.
  • Diversify your stock even more – WGA tells you what people were searching for when they found your shop and what page they landed on. Whatever they were searching for, make sure it’s on their landing page and sales will boom.
  • Redesign your shop around customer actions – Imagine it’s a physical shop and use customer action reporting to make it as easy as possible for customers to get from where they enter to what they want to be.
  • Advertise effectively – Knowing what buyers were searching for when they found your shop is the key to highly effective online advertising. Target the keywords that lead to the most sales.
  • Fix the leaks and deflate the bounces – Find out where customers are leaving your shop without buying (bouncing) and stop it happening. You’ll need to figure out why by yourself, but it’s worth it: Fixing high bounce rates can turn a mediocre shop into a great one.

Managing your online shop – Contents


Planning, launching, running and improving your online sales business. Whichever stage of the shop management process you’re at, Sam Hollis Web Design has you covered with a concise guide linked from this page for your convenience. This will be the first of a series of master blogs created by Sam Hollis linking out to every useful blog on a particular subject. The aim is to make our resources easier to navigate and use, cutting down clicking time and increasing achieving time.

Look out for more blogs like this in future and, as always, get in touch if you need more help. Advice is always free.

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