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Create an online shop with a shop kit

Online retail is booming in Germany: the share of online sales in the total retail volume is growing continuously and e-commerce companies such as Amazon, Otto & Co. are increasing their sales year on year. It is therefore clear that founders and young companies also want a small piece of the big cake of e-commerce sales. Many therefore dare to take a bold step: they can set up their own online shop.

The easiest way is via Strato, 1 & 1 or Jimdo, which are the largest providers of so-called shop construction kits. With shop modules, an online shop can be created without having to show any programming knowledge. The way from the idea to your own online shop is astonishingly simple: For a monthly fee, which is between 10 and 70 euros depending on the range of functions, you register with one of these providers. In the backend of the online shop, the necessary settings such as the design, the selection of payment methods and shipping methods must now be specified if you want to create the online shop. Then product images are uploaded, article descriptions and prices are stored and you as the shop operator can already guide the first customers to your platform.

So creating an online shop using such a shop kit is not rocket science. But who are such shop kits suitable for? Founders with little capital, a low number of products and little technical know-how should consider shop construction kits as a serious alternative if they want to create an online shop. However, such modular systems also have serious disadvantages, which are shown below.

Disadvantages of the shop construction kits

If you want to create your own online shop and thus set up a professional e-commerce company in the long term as part of your corporate strategy, then shop kits are not always the first choice. There are simply too many restrictions compared to conventional online shops, so that efficient management becomes very difficult, especially with a large number of products.

There can be a multitude of problems when you create your online shop using a modular system: The number of possible payment methods is often limited, the shop's standardized search and filter functions deliver inferior results and special design adjustments are often not possible. In addition, some of these shop construction kits do not meet the sometimes complex legal framework conditions of online trading, which can even result in warnings for shop operators who act independently. So think twice about whether you want to create your online shop with a modular system.

For professionals: create an online shop with the right shop software

If you want to set up an online shop and become self-employed full-time, then you should think long-term. It can therefore make sense to use a professional shop system right from the start. As a rule, you have higher start-up costs here, but the advantages predominate, such as, for example, freely configurable design, a large selection of payment methods and the possibility of customizing almost all functions. So if you are planning to generate annual sales in excess of 30,000 euros, it is advisable to use the right shop software to create an online shop. In the following, we describe the practical steps from the selection of the right shop software to the first sales.

1. Select the right shop system

If you want to create an online shop, the first step should be to think about the requirements the shop must meet:

  • Which payment methods would I like to offer?
  • Does the online shop have to provide an interface to my merchandise management system?
  • Which filter functions are required for my products?
  • Which connections to marketing portals such as price search engines are necessary?

As soon as you have drawn up a catalog of requirements, it is important to compare it with the various shop alternatives and to create a ranking list. When making a comparison, bear in mind that there are free, so-called open source online shops, but also commercial products, for which you may incur ongoing costs in addition to one-off costs. The best-known shop solutions include Magento, xt: Commerce, Gambio as well as Shopware and Oxid eShop. Check the various offers for scope of services and price before creating the online shop. Further details on the providers can be found here.

2. Registration with payment providers

In order to be able to create an online shop successfully, the selection of the right online payment systems is crucial. A study by the payment provider Sage Pay found that over 70% of shoppers abandon their purchase if their preferred payment method is not offered by the merchant. The most important payment methods for the German market are:

  • Paypal
  • Purchase on invoice
  • Direct debit
  • Credit card

Depending on the payment provider, also called payment service provider, these four methods are covered completely or only partially. Before you decide on the right payment provider, however, check whether your selected shop system even provides an interface to the corresponding providers.

When you set up an online shop, the terms and conditions of the payment providers are sometimes very different: You can find providers with high annual fixed costs, but also those who forego fixed costs, but charge additional fees for each sales transaction. Therefore, check the offers of the providers carefully when you create the online shop and commit yourself to the payment method.

3. Install and set up the online shop

If you have not hired an agency for the technical support of the shop, then you now have to lend a hand: Load the online shop onto your web server, which you have previously rented, and install the shop. You can usually find instructions on this from the respective provider, but you can also often hope for support from the community of the provider of your online shop. When you set up an online shop for the first time, they will usually be happy to help you.

After the successful installation, a lot of settings have to be made, such as:

  • Available delivery options and times
  • Access data for your payment provider
  • Design and presentation options
  • Cross-selling functionalities
  • Encryption of the website
  • Integration of legal content such as terms and conditions, imprint and data protection declaration
  • Category names and hierarchy

Last but not least, the most important thing is of course missing when you create an online shop: the layout of the products that you want to sell. A high-quality photo, an unmistakable product name, a clear product description and a good price are the basis for your success in e-commerce.

Don't forget the subject of data protection: a data protection declaration is essential for your online shop. You can also have these prepared for you by a specialized lawyer. Receive a non-binding offer from our partner quickly and easily.

Data protection and legal notice from the lawyer

4. Get visitors through online marketing

You have now set up your online shop, but the customers stay away? No wonder, because without appropriate marketing measures you will not be able to generate any relevant sales. In order to avoid a media break, i.e. the change from one medium to another, and the associated loss of customers, online marketing has established itself as the most efficient advertising measure for online shops.

Whether search engine marketing via Google AdWords, sending newsletters to existing customers or so-called affiliate marketing - the possibilities for attracting visitors through online marketing are huge. A description of all useful methods for promoting your online shop can be found here.

Create an online shop with the help of an agency

If you want to create an online shop and have decided against a modular shop system, a certain amount of technical know-how is essential. Professional shop software is very flexible and adaptable, but therefore also much more complex than a simple shop construction kit.

It will therefore be advisable for most founders to seek support from professionals, at least with shop installation and setup. The one-off costs vary depending on the scope, but you should definitely expect a high three-digit amount. If you have requests that deviate from the standard, such as design or function adjustments, then you can quickly move clearly in the four-digit range, which is of course open to the top.

If you want to set up an online shop and need support, then we will find the right agency for you.

Business plan for setting up an online shop

At the latest at the financing meeting with the bank, it is necessary to present a business plan. This applies to every type of business start-up - even when starting up with an online shop. However, there are special features that you need to consider when creating the business plan. Find out more now about these special features of the business plan for an online shop.

Create an online shop with eBay

Over 20 million people in Germany access the eBay online marketplace every month. It is of course worth considering instead of opening an online shop to sell your products or services directly on eBay. Find out how selling on eBay works and how you want to sell your own products on eBbay.

Author: Für-Gründer.de editors

As editor-in-chief, René Klein has been responsible for the content of the portal and all publications by Für-Gründer.de for over 10 years. He is a regular interlocutor in other media and writes numerous external specialist articles on start-up topics. Before his time as editor-in-chief and co-founder of Für-Gründer.de, he advised listed companies in the field of financial market communication.