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Online shops

what can be sold on the internet?

Not all products are suitable for selling online. Products requiring a lot of explanation, such as complex technical systems, usually require additional in-store consultation. Standard products such as office supplies, consumer electronics and daily necessities from the non-food sector are ideal for online shops. Planning logistics for non-perishable products is much easier than for more sensitive items.

Two questions are paramount when planning an online shop: are your products suitable for online retail and are your customers willing and accustomed to shopping on the internet? If you can answer yes to both questions, it's time to start searching for a suitable online shop. Basically, there are two types of shop systems: online rental shops are provided by a supplier – you can move in immediately. There are only a few technical aspects to take care of and your store is always technologically up to date. The disadvantages are that there are monthly fees and that these standard systems may not completely meet your needs.

On the other hand, if you use self-hosted shop software, you can customise the system according to your taste and there are no monthly costs. Plus if you use an open-source system, you don't even have to worry about procurement costs. You will however need a lot of technological know-how or appropriate service providers who can set up the shop for you and connect it to your peripheral systems (ERP, CRM). The choice of shop system will also depend on your goals. If this is your first foray into online retailing, a rental shop may well suffice. Swisscom Business Marketplace offers an application called Mila – a simple solution for selling products online. If the online market is to be a cornerstone in your business, it's worth making the appropriate investments from the start.

When planning the shop, it is important to devise strategies to ensure that people actually visit your shop. Search engine optimisation and search engine advertising are a must. The success of an online shop can be easily measured using two indicators: firstly, you obviously have to record the turnover. And to improve the shop, you need to measure the conversion rate – i.e. how many visitors actually make a purchase.