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Analysis of differences between online and brick-and-mortar stores

Starting Your Business

Learn how to open an online store.

01Comparing online and offline selling

You go through similar steps whether you open an online or offline business, and the only difference is what to prepare.
Let's compare the differences below.

Step 1Create an account
for an ecommerce solution

In ecommerce, your website itself serves as store space.
Subscribing to a web hosting service and renting a web server is similar to the process of leasing a retail unit for offline stores.
In simple language, a web server is a virtual space where you can store any information needed for running your online store.
Once you create an admin account at Cafe24, you can get a free server.

Step 2Choose a theme
for your store

Choosing a theme for your store is equivalent to decorating the store interior for offline stores.
For offline stores, you cannot change the interior easily once they are done, and it costs a lot to change them.
On online stores, however, you can easily edit your theme and choose whether to employ a professional designer or design a theme on your own depending on your budget.

Step 3Add products and
product layout settings

You can easily display products or remove them from the shelves at offline store, but selling online requires more work to do, from shooting product photos, writing descriptions to adding prices and product names.
However, online stores can accommodate an unlimited number of products while physical stores have limited space to display products.

Step 4Create a domain

For a physical store, the storefront sign is where the store name is first seen.
Once installed, the sign is fixed in the same place and may lose its impact over time.
Domains play the same role as store signs for online businesses.
Customers use your domain to locate your store, so it is crucial to make a simple and memorable domain that showcases the identity of your store.
Make sure you put some thought into your domain name because you cannot change it once it is created.

Step 5Set up payment

Customers at a physical store pay for their items at the counter by cash or credit card, whereas online shoppers typically use payment gateway or money transfer services.
Online stores used to have basic payment options such as bank transfer, but advances in e-commerce have made a wide range of payment methods available to online shoppers.
Add various payment methods to your store to enhance customer convenience.

Step 6Select shipping

While offline customers do not need shipping services as they take their items right after they pay, online stores must deliver products to their customers; therefore, e-business owners need to find a reliable shipping carrier for fast and safe delivery.
Thoroughly compare a variety of shipping methods and carriers to choose the perfect one for your customers' needs.

Step 7Promote your store

If you open a store offline, you would conduct various promotional events, such as handing out fliers.
Likewise, you can also increase the visibility of your online store by implementing marketing and PR campaigns.
To learn more about successful campaigns leading to the first sale, go to [Getting Started > Starting Your Business > Making your first sale].

02Opening an online store

Cafe24 provides all the services you need for starting a business online.
Basic e-commerce features at Cafe24 are offered free of charge along with lifetime access, allowing you to get started easily.

Web hosting

From the moment you sign up, you are all set to use the basic server and online store admin offered by Cafe24.
You can easily create your online store without further preparation.

Learn how to create an online store
Store theme

Your storefront plays a huge part in creating a good first impression, which determines whether customers will stay or leave. Hence, it is crucial to design a theme that works well with the concept of your brand or store.
Both professional and customizable store themes are available at Cafe24.

Learn how to design your store theme
Product layout

Add products to sell and their product information on your store.
Your product layout can be a way to present the concept that your store pursues.
Displaying products effectively can promote core products to your customers and boost sales.

Learn how to display products

A domain is an address to your store, which also serves as its store sign. Choose a simple, but unique domain name that your customers can easily remember.
You can either get a free domain by creating your online store at Cafe24 or purchase a domain from a different domain provider and link it to your store.

Learn how to set up a domain
Payment options

Offering convenient and diverse payment methods can boost your sales.
Add payment methods that best suit your needs.

Learn how to add payment methods
Shipping carriers

It's important to choose a reliable shipping carrier because it creates the first point of contact between your customer and your product.
Consider your target customers and products first when you choose a carrier.
You can offer a store pickup option if you have both online and offline stores.

Learn about shipping service options