Business guide to Coronavirus

Open for business online: Setting up a successful store

Selling online can be a great way to attract new customers to your business and give your sales a boost, particularly in tough times when foot traffic is down.

Web designer and founder of the online marketplace Spend With Us Sarah Britz has spent the past decade helping small businesses market themselves more effectively. Here, she shares her top five tips for setting up a successful online store.

No one likes to shop somewhere that’s dingy and disorganised. Presenting your wares attractively online helps make browsers more inclined to part with their cash.

Provide a clear description of your offerings, accompanied by professional images, if appropriate. Short and sweet is best, according to Sarah. “Keep it simple – no one wants to scroll through screeds of information.”

Receiving a genuinely personalised experience is one of the great attractions of dealing with a small business. While you can’t have a friendly yarn with customers on the internet as you could over the counter, you can share your story.

Tell them how the business began, who’s involved and why you’re passionate about what you do. “Providing some personal information is a great way to make a connection with people,” Sarah says.

Whether shopping online or in person, few customers like to pay over the odds. Ensuring your goods and services are competitively priced can improve your chances of making an online sale.

The old saying ‘the customer is king’ is just as applicable online as it is in person, so do your best to create a smooth purchasing experience for them. Sarah recommends making sure your listings and prices are up to date, you respond promptly to enquiries and you keep customers informed with status updates of their order.

“[This helps] make repeat purchases more likely,” she says.

Customers can’t come if they don’t know you’re there. Once you’re open for business online, it’s time to tell people about it. If, like many small businesses, your marketing budget is modest, consider spruiking your offering on social media.

Sarah says, “Getting active on Instagram and Facebook is an affordable way to connect with your target audience and encourage potential buyers to stop on by.”

Setting up your business: a how-to guide

Do you have a bright business idea but don't know where to begin? There's a lot to consider and it can be overwhelming. That's why we've created a step-by-step eBook on how to get your feet off the ground and turn your business dream into a reality. 

Helping rural businesses get up and running online

Online ‘marketplaces’ can be a great way for small businesses to start selling online cheaply and quickly. Regional and rural businesses that don’t have the time and money to spend setting up their own sites are able to market their goods and services via Spend With Us.

The online shopping marketplace and website directory was set up by Sarah in January 2020 to help bushfire affected businesses in country Australia keep the cash coming in.

It’s free to join and eligible businesses are able to list up to 15 products and can do so easily using an online ‘wizard’ which guides them through the process.

The marketplace has joined forces with My Business to help regional and rural businesses get access to free resources, advice and solutions.

Selling online can be a great way to expand your customer base and give your sales a boost. A smart shopfront and a great shopping experience will help ensure buyers keep coming back for more.

Learn more about Spend With Us – backed by My Business.

Join for free

Join My Business as a free member to access advice, tools and documents that can help you with running your business.

Already a member? Get started