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What do you wish you'd known before launching your online store?


Jo_SQSP

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Launching an online store can be as easy as choosing your website provider, uploading cool images for your products, setting a price, and selling them or advertising them in a marketplace. However, planning your online store launch thoroughly can help you manage expectations for your business and achieve long term success. To start, some experts recommend: 

  • Fully fleshing out your business idea, including researching your business name, target market, and their motivations for purchasing your products. 
  • Writing a comprehensive business plan that includes an exit strategy. 
  • Creating a budget and researching additional funding sources, like loans or business grants. 
  • Following government regulations and guidelines for registering your business as a legal entity. 
  • Building your team and creating your branding. 

Because businesses are varied and have different needs, there really isn’t a blueprint you can follow wholesale. Everyone’s timeline is different! Just check out what these startup founders told The Muse on how they fared when they started their businesses.

What do you wish you’d known before launching your online store? Tell us all about it in the comments below.

 

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That squarespace does not have the possibility of integrating universal payment gateways ... so I would not have invested in developing a store on the platform.

 

That squarespace does not have the possibility of integrating universal payment gateways ... so I would not have invested in developing a store on the platform.

 

That squarespace does not have the possibility of integrating universal payment gateways ... so I would not have invested in developing a store on the platform.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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A tip for those just getting started.

Many folks focus on the design of their site first. It's natural. You want to make a pretty site to sell your product(s). Then they move onto the technical backside of payment processing and such.

I suggest flip that around! Exercise the technical backend bits first! Understand how the orders flow through the system. Run test orders where possible and real orders with an amount of a $1.00.

Get to know the flow from the customer perspective and the merchant perspective.

Once you have a better understanding of the backend proceed with developing the rest of your site.

Edited by creedon

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  • 2 months later...

I wish I had known that Squarespace is more of a front page for someone's Instagram account that it is a sellers platform.  Its been a pain to make more that 10 products shoppable. I had hoped they would make the commerce part of it a bit better, but it just gets worse with each update.

I can make it pretty, but I cant make the shopping any easier with the way it is.  Ill be looking at other solutions in the future.

Im not interested in "likes", I want sales.

Edited by dcm
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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

I wish I'd known that Squarespace would put me out of business by removing core functionality from the 7.1 commerce platform without any warning. Like almost all artists, my work exists in the form of portfolios, with each piece living within a larger body of work. I relied on Pagination in the Product Detail pages of the 7.1 commerce engine for the "previous" and "next" links that allowed viewers to move between individual works in my portfolios. Squarespace removed Pagination on Product Detail pages from the 7.1 platform without any warning, despite that it had been a core part of the commerce engine carried straight through from the 7.0 platform. Every competing platform offers Pagination on Product Detail pages, including Squarespace 7.0 even. Without it, I was instantly put out of business, as each piece became a dead end road. After six months of trying every possible way to solve the problem, I finally had to shut down my 7.1 site. This is a huge blow to me personally, but it's hard to see how it benefits Squarespace when every artist, craftsperson, or businessperson wants to make it as easy as possible for buyers to see and navigate through all the products they have on offer. Even more troubling is the fact that Squarespace has now shown that they can and will remove core functionality that your business depends on at any time and without any warning. I paid Squarespace to help put me in business, and instead I got put out of business. I've been a huge fan and longtime user of Squarespace, but I wouldn't wish this experience on anyone.

Edited by dhob
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I wish I would have known that the "updates" can come without anytime without any warning.

I wish I would have known how difficult it would be to facilitate subscriptions for my customers (and mine are VERY simple, so this platform has FAILED in that department).

I wish I would have known that Squarespace seems to take ZERO accountability for the areas that they fail both their customers and mine.. what does it matter if something "looks cool" if it can't make sales functional.

Beware this platform, and spend more money on a better one or build your own.

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 months later...

I wish I knew that Squarespace wasn't integrated with my print lab (Bay Photo). As suggested, it's a good idea to reverse design your site with function and purpose in mind before you think about look and feel. Printique does not offer products (sizes and options) that I want to sell or the control/customization with how it integrates with my Squarespace store. Not saying the same wouldn't be true with Bay Photo but switching labs or website hosting providers for the right combination is not worth it, especially with limitations or unknowns. I will continue to manually build my Squarespace store and submit orders separately through my print lab. I don't benefit from a true integration but at least I have more control with product offerings and how they are presented.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I wish that I knew about the limitations of shipping with Squarespace.  Over half my customers cancel orders because I can't ship to them easily enough without losing even more money on the shipping.  This could be the deciding factor in leaving squarespace, even though I have liked it so far, until I found out 55% of people coming to my small business left because they couldn't buy anything.

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  • 4 weeks later...

The best thing I did was to do a brand building exercise to define my audience and message. I also focus on creating excellent content to attract followers. The best advice I can give is to avoid the common thinking that more is better. Having a small group of loyal followers is better than large volumes of casual users.  

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  • 1 month later...
  • 1 month later...

I wish I'd known Squarespace was going to scrap its concise 7.0 product interface, where everything in a tab was accessible at a glance on a single browser page, and replace it with a clumsy interface that is mostly empty space and requires a huge amount of scrolling to see all the attributes of a product.

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