COVID-19 - Setting up your online store

Submitted by Sue Brans on 04/23/2020 - 01:00:pm

Okay, you’ve decided it’s finally time to bite the bullet and take your store online. It sounds like an easy thing to do, right? Let’s see I go online, I create a WordPress site and then I just put my inventory online and now the whole world has access. How hard could it be?

This is how so many businesses start and fail. If only it were this simple. When setting up an online store, there are so many things that you need to take into account. Below is a list of the top 5 things you need to consider on your store itself:

  1. Inventory Management

  2. Images

  3. Pricing

  4. Shipping

  5. Payments

Inventory Management

When it comes to inventory management there are so many systems and ways of doing things. You could be currently managing your inventory via spreadsheets, an application such as QuickBooks, paper, etc. No matter how you are doing it now, when you move to an online store, chances are good that something has to change.

You might want to consider the following:

  • How are you going to keep your current system in sync with your online sales? 

  • Will this be a manual process? 

  • Will you integrate what you’re currently using with your site? 

  • Do you need a new system that is already integrated? 


Traditional brick and mortar stores rarely need to worry about having good quality images of their inventory. Now, however, this is going to be critical. If you don’t have images that are provided by your supplier, you’re going to need to take pictures. Lots of pictures. And because this isn’t eBay, you want to make sure that these images are as professional-looking as possible. Keep things simple and clean. Always remember, your goal is to help prospective buyers experience the product so they want to buy it.

Remember, people will want to see your product in the best light possible, and possibly from multiple angles. You may want to invest in a professional photographer or a good quality camera.


Sure, you already have your inventory priced. But have you taken into consideration the cost of shipping these products? 

When it comes to pricing, ask yourself:

  • Do you want to be able to offer “free shipping” to your online customers? (We recommend you do!)

  • Are you willing to offer items at a reduced price in order to sell quicker? 

  • What about integrating with other online stores, such as Google Shopping, Amazon, and yes maybe even eBay? 

  • Are there fees associated with any of these options? 

  • Will you have a standard return policy, or are all sales final? Do you have free returns? 


Now let’s talk about shipping. 

  • Do your products require any special packaging to make sure they arrive in good condition? 

  • What are the standard shipping rates? 

  • Is it based on weight, size of the box, both? 

  • How many items can you fit into a USPS Flat Rate box? 

  • Is it less expensive to use UPS or FedEx? Will you be sending items overseas? 

  • Does your return policy include free shipping? 


Finally, how are you going to get paid? Just like your traditional store, you’ll need to consider your payment options. 

  • Will you be accepting credit cards? 

  • What about PayPal? 

  • Are there any new fees for doing this online? 

  • What about security? Do you need to encrypt anything to protect your customers?

You’ll need to do a little research and determine which Payment Gateway makes the most sense for you and your customers. Be sure to look at fees, rates, and policies around returns and disputes.

A few of our favorites to consider are: 


  • PayPal

  • Stripe

  • Square

  • Amazon Pay

  • Affirm Financing

The list of providers seems to grow every day, so you’ll want to do your homework here and make sure that whichever gateway you choose will also integrate with your site.