Starting an Online Shop from Home — 3 Things that Make it Harder than it Looks

by Kirsty LaVier

“If you build it, they will come” is a great line for a movie – but it’s a terrible attitude to have about your business. 

Let’s face it – the world is not waiting for you to fling open your virtual doors.  Starting an online shop from home is not easy money.  Instead, it’s chock full of hard work.  If you’ve been dreaming about starting an online shop from home, there are 3 things that make it harder than it looks:

1. Credit card charge backs

This is a biggie that most online business owners never think of when they start up a new shop.

When you sell things online, you are going to run into credit card charge backs – or, customers who dispute their credit card payment and get their money back.

With credit card charge backs, not only do you have to refund the customer’s money, you also have to pay an additional fee to the credit card company.  So, you wind up actually losing money on the deal! Some shopping cart software such as VP-ASP have sophisticated anti-fraud mechanisms in place, even so there’s still a risk.

2.  Your stock

If you plan on selling physical products, you are going to need a place to store them.  Chances are, you won’t be able to fit everything in your garage!  You’re either going to have to rent a storage facility for your inventory, or switch gears and take up drop-shipping.  No matter which route you choose, you need a firm plan in place by the time your website launches.  Otherwise, you won’t be able to fill orders!

3.  Customer service

Customers are always going to have questions or problems.  If you want to keep them happy – and encourage return business – you need a way to address those questions and problems quickly.  Especially when it comes to online businesses, people tend to expect 24/7 service.  They’re not always content to sit around and wait for “normal business hours”.

And the old saying, “the customer is always right” still rings true online.  You will need to figure out ways to appease even the most obnoxious of customers – or risk getting some bad word-of-mouth advertising.

Before you start accepting payments, you will need to come up with a good security policy.  That way, you will be able to prove when items were sent, and where they were shipped to.  Also, you will need a crystal clear refund policy.

If you get too many credit card charge backs, you can lose your merchant account altogether, you’ll need a way to limit them right from the start!

Kirsty LaVier is editor for Shopping Cart Reviews, the leading site dedicated to helping you find the Best Shopping Cart software.