How to open an online store on a shoestring budget

online store budget

Source: Unsplash/Mia Baker.

If you’re an existing business and are looking to start selling your services or products online, knowing where to start can seem overwhelming. Many assume setting up an online store is expensive and time consuming, but in reality it can be done quickly and with a limited budget. 

Assuming your business is registered and properly set up, there are a few key steps you need to take to get your e-commerce store up and running. Firstly, you need to establish an online presence to ensure your products reach your target market and secondly, you need a way to accept online payments from your customers. 

How to build an online presence 

Since the onset of the pandemic, establishing a strong digital presence has become more important than ever. With an additional 200,000 new Australian shoppers online since then, and more than 18 million total online shoppers, there are plenty of opportunities for those looking to sell their services or products online. 

You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on building an online store. Instagram and Facebook now enable you to sell directly from your businesses page. Likewise, established marketplaces like Etsy, Amazon and eBay are a great way to get started and quickly build a following online. 

2021 is about future proofing your business and learning from the business pivots you’ve made in 2020. There’s no better time to start accepting payments online for your business than today. Pin Payments helps Australian small businesses accept payments everyday. Get started today.

If your budget allows it, there are also many e-commerce enabled platforms like Wix, Ecwid and WordPress which are easy-to-use. These options will provide you with a cost-effective, straightforward way to start selling.

Be aware that unless you choose a marketplace like Etsy or eBay, you’ll need to establish marketing strategies to build your audience and drive traffic to your store. Though you’ll get additional exposure from being on a marketplace, providers often take a cut from the products sold. 

Ultimately, the choice you make will come down to what stage your business is at and the existing tools you have in place.

Setting up your payment processing 

Once you’ve established which service you’ll use to set up your online store, you’ll need to select an online payments system that suits your budget.

Offering payments through means of bank transfers may seem like the simplest method to get started, however by not offering card payments you may miss out on sales in the long-run, or make the payment process more difficult for your customers. 

Most payment providers offer a number of different ways to accept payments, such as a payment page link that can be added to an existing page on your website, or to an invoice as a link. Some also enable you to process payments when you’re on the phone with customers using a virtual terminal

When selecting a provider, check the fine print as some providers charge monthly and service fees on top of the transaction fees. While this isn’t necessarily a cost associated with starting your business, it’s good to keep in mind when making your decision. To reduce costs, providers who offer surcharging as a feature could be a good fit for your business. This allows you to pass on the processing fees to your customers. 

The positives to setting up an online payments system is you’re able to easily integrate it with your accounting software, like Xero, to enable card payments for invoicing and streamline reconciling sales.

Nice to have extras

For those looking to go that step further, it’s worth looking at an e-commerce shopping cart for your online business through providers like Spiffy Stores, Ecwid and WooCommerce. Platforms like Ecwid even provide free plans for up to ten products. These services range pretty widely in terms of the expertise needed to use them. 

While Spiffy Stores and Ecwid can be set up without any external help, WooCommerce may require additional developer support for plugins and themes. Each of these services typically come with a monthly subscription cost. 

Similarly, if you’re looking to build out your marketing materials but don’t have a graphic designer, Canva is a great user-friendly platform to help you create anything from business cards to social media graphics. 

At the end of the day, there are many options for those looking to launch an online store and your choice will be dependent on your business needs and budget.

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Pin Payments is Australia’s first unified approach to payments for small to medium-sized businesses. It supports over 12,000 businesses in Australia and New Zealand to accept payments from debit and credit cards bearing the Visa, MasterCard and American Express brands without requiring a merchant account.

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