Written by: Johann Barnard
Selling your products online is the right thing to do, isn’t it? This is probably a question you’ve asked yourself before. The problem, generally, is how to do it. Surely it requires technical skills or a fair amount of money to set up an online store?
This may have been the case in years gone by, but the options to set up your own store have grown rapidly to the point that this can now be done with no technical expertise, and very little investment.
MTN Business, for example, has recently launched its Build Your Business Online (BYBO) service that allows you to set up an online store with little fuss. This one-stop service includes hosting of your website, registration of your own web address and associated email addresses.
Your design, your content
BYBO provides a number of templates that can be customised to reflect your brand and preferences. All content can be added and edited through a simple web interface that allows you to create your site without the need for any technical skills. If you’ve used WordPress or any other type of content management system, you should be in very familiar territory.
An integrated shopping cart
Depending on the subscription package you choose, you can set up a simple shopping cart through which customers can choose the products they want, and pay online. Options range from a limit of 25 products from R199 per month through to unlimited products at a cost R1 699 per month.
Online payment is a breeze
A wide range of secure online payment options are available. These include EFT into your bank account, or payment with a cheque card, PayPal, Visa, MasterCard, American Express/Diners,
and China Union Bank. For an additional monthly fee you can apply for a merchant account to accept credit card payments such as Visa, Mastercard, etc.
Marketing and social media integration
As with your bricks and mortar store, you need to attract customers to your online store through marketing. BYBO offers integrated advertising and social media services that will help to draw customers to your web site. Additional services available at a cost include search engine optimisation and blog posts to keep your content fresh and relevant.
Monitoring and analytics
The built-in Google Analytics functionality allows you to track activity on your site through powerful tools that tell you where visitors come from – both their geographic location and how they found their way to your web site. You can also see which promotions and pages are most popular so that you can adapt your site to suit customer demand.