How do you become an online retailer?

Today I'm going to be an online retailer... I open an online shop, an Amazon Marketplace account or an ebay account and I can start selling online. It has never been...
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How do I get started in online trading? What things do I need to consider?

Become an online shop operator today

Today I’m going to be an online retailer…

I open an online shop, an Amazon Marketplace account or an ebay account and I can start selling online. Becoming an online retailer has never been easier than it is today – or has it?

Priorities in the start-up phase

Many e-commerce founders invest a lot of money and time in building an online shop, especially in the early days. Optics are often in the foreground here. Of course, this is absolutely right, because the online shop is the shop window to the customer and is responsible for sales.

However, it is also important not to ignore the other topics. This is because online sellers usually fail in the end by ignoring important building blocks for success. Below are the most important areas for setting up an online business.

Possibly also exciting: Successful online shop launch

Read in the following article what is important when launching an online shop and learn the basics that will help you avoid mistakes.

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1. Merchandise management system, shipping logic, online shop system, accounting software

Of course, e-commerce also includes using software solutions for the most important issues that arise during business operations.

  • Products & warehouses must be managed (merchandise management, warehouse management)
  • Products need to be packed and shipped (Picking & Packing, Shipping)
  • Orders need to be processed (order management, invoicing)
  • Products must be presented/sold (online shop, marketplace)
  • Accounting must be carried out (account management, tax)

It doesn’t matter whether you sell with your own online shop or on a marketplace like real, ebay, amazon or rakuten, the above tasks are always on the agenda. Either they have to be adopted or organized.

With JTL Software’s free solutions, you can cover all of these topics. There is even much more possible (POS checkout, hosting, fulfilment, …).

Of course, there are other solutions on the market, but some research may be necessary, as hardly anyone offers everything from a single source (e.g. Shopware, Magento, Oxid). If you would like to learn more about JTL’s solutions, we have embedded a video from JTL here:

2. Market analysis

  1. Who is my target audience?
  2. Who are my main competitors?
  3. Where do I stand with my offer?

These are the three essential questions that every online retailer should ask themselves. At least part of the research should be done yourself. Be honest with yourself here. Is Amazon an alternative where people can buy your products? Then it’s the fiercest competitor.

If you already have a few answers ready for yourself here, you can add a professional who can assess this in more detail and possibly also has suggestions at hand as to what conclusions could be drawn from the analysis.

3. Online marketing

Online Marketing

How do visitors get to my offer in the first place?

Only through sales and marketing measures, there is hardly any difference to stationary retail, except that there are hardly any “walk-in customers”. Online marketing is all about drawing attention to your products and services. Here are some sources from which visitors can come:

  • Search engines (Google, Bing, …)
  • Social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest)
  • Product comparisons (idealo, billiger.de, guenstiger.de, google, amazon, facebook)
  • Affiliates
  • Other third-party sites

Ideally, you should try all channels at the beginning, because due to their differences, efficiency can hardly be predicted. Later, you should focus on the effective channels and automate them to a large extent.

For example, SEO or SEM target visitors based on active search queries, while social media addresses them based on their interests and preferences. These are very different target group approaches.

Tips for JTL shop operators:

4. Legal


It starts with the mandatory information in the imprint, the data protection declaration, the general terms and conditions or other legal information in business transactions then become more complex.

In any case, founders should seek support for this, as there are often providers who take on these requirements at favorable conditions. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) still has a lot of homework for online retailers. However, tax law issues in accounting also quickly become relevant, especially if you ship internationally.

The JTL-WaWi already has all the technical requirements to be on the safe side legally, but these still have to be used correctly.

Tips for online shop operators:

Automate legal review with a vendor. This way, you don’t have to worry about whether your legal texts or other things comply with the constantly changing legal requirements.

Some legal providers are:

Solutions, especially for the GDPR problem:

The providers mentioned here already have extensive interfaces to the JTL shop, but of course also to other shop systems

5. Logistics

How and with whom does the shipment of the goods take place? Here, too, JTL-WaWi has everything the online retailer needs:

  • Connection to logisticians via JTL Shipping
  • Warehouse management (picking & packing) via JTL WMS

6. Payment Providers

Payment providers in the online shop

One of the most important points in your own online shop is the topic of payment methods. Here it is important that you:

  • On the one hand, it offers the most common payment options that customers expect today;
  • on the other hand, it also weighs up the costs and risks of those.

There are payment methods where the payment risk lies entirely with the shop operator (e.g. payment on account) and there are those where the risk lies with the customer (e.g. prepayment).

In this case, it may be important to consider risks and preferences and, if necessary, to cushion them

6.1 What do customers love?

Not every customer ticks the same. But this is often about trust, security, and convenience. In Germany, there are favorite statistical payment methods, e.g.:

  • Purchase on account
  • PayPal
  • Debit
  • Credit card

But what about other countries? In every country, there are certain preferences when it comes to paying online. Adyen has published a nice list of this:

» The most popular payment methods in Europe.

Here you can see quite clearly how differently Europe ticks 😀

6.2 What do shop owners love?

Security, payment risk, conditions and technical connectivity play a major role here.

It is ideal if there is already a technical connection (e.g. plugin) to the desired payment method, because this simplifies the connection enormously and saves money. Of course, the conditions should also be right. Differences per payment method are to be expected.

In the meantime, it should be possible to assume security for every payment method, as long as it is connected correctly.

6.3 Solutions

The connection of payment methods can be either implemented:

  • Without technology (e.g. purchase on account, advance payment)
  • Directly via a provider (e.g. PayPal, Amazon Pay, Klarna)
  • Via a payment provider (e.g. Mollie, PayPal, Payone).

Payment providers usually offer all payment methods from a single source. This saves you individual contracts with the providers (e.g. credit cards, SOFORT, PayPal, Amazon Pay). This is usually the easiest way to do this, but there may be small additional costs (usually per transaction).

PayPal is both supplier and provider, as you can also connect credit card payment and more via PayPal Plus. But you put yourself completely in Paypal’s hands.

7. Technical Setup

In particular, the hosting of the shopping solution should play a major role in building the online business. After all, downtime can quickly become expensive.

Under no circumstances should questions about data backup, data security and failure scenarios be forgotten. Relying on a cheap hosting offer can take its revenge, here you should rather pay attention to quality and service, so that you can work out quick solutions in case of problems.


JTL Software’s products make it easy for online retailers to start their e-commerce business. Nevertheless, each operator still has his homework, which he can do partly himself, partly with partners.

Then there is not much standing in the way of a successful online sale.

ERP and ERP solution for online retailers: JTL

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