Start an Ecommerce Store

Web shops have been popular from the first day of the internet, but in the Netherlands there seems to be a real craze in starting a web store. Because the web shop software is getting easier, the webshop owner does not need to know a programming code, more and more private individuals are starting their own webshop. Hobbymatig eg to start their own antique or old comic books webshop, or really as an entrepreneur with the prospect that the webshop should be able to provide for living and if possible just a little bit more.

Software programmers and web designers obviously like to respond to this. There are now hundreds of different internet shop software companies that help start a web store. Each with their own web shop software. As a result, for a private individual looking for a cheap and easy system, it is sometimes impossible to make another choice with which to start the webshop. In this article we therefore discuss the most popular software and frequently asked questions of internet entrepreneurs who want to start an online store.

1. – Can anyone just start a web store?

In most cases though. There are exceptions that, if you think about it, are quite logical. Not everyone can just start a butcher’s shop, shooting club or demolition company because this could have legal consequences and selling online meat, weapons or demolition vehicles is of course included. But for the most part no compulsory permits are required.

Enrolling the company at the Chamber of Commerce may be an exception, but even this is not always mandatory. If you start small, for example by first selling online via an online marketplace or other frequently visited website, you can register this as other income with the Dutch tax authorities. You can therefore not make use of the special start-up schemes and have to think of your risks well in advance.

Always keep in mind that a professional hobby does not become a secretive evasion of mandatory regulatory pressure. Selling something at an auction or marketplace can be a great hobby, but if you are really going to sell via your own webshop and if visitors and customers experience your webshop as a company, the government will want you to behave accordingly. If you are doing business and something goes wrong, the judge may judge you according to business law. Even if you do not have a Chamber of Commerce registration. In addition, there is legislation relating to your website if you sell articles on this. Especially if you sell to your web shop to consumers you are bound by rules.

When the turnover is a few hundred or a maximum of thousand euros on an annual basis and visitors of your web store do not feel that they are visiting a company, then it is still to be explained as a hobby. So starting a web store is always possible. But if the turnover is higher or your web shop looks more professional and professional, it is advisable to ask for advice from an authority such as the Chamber of Commerce or an administrative office.

2. – What do you need to start a web store?

Difficult question 🙂 Not so much because starting up a web store is so difficult, but because it can be different for everyone. One thing that is important to know is that the most important factors are that you enjoy it, that you are a go-getter and that you learn from your mistakes. Be critical of yourself! Can you become an entrepreneur?

Regarding regulations or costs, everything for the start of a webshop is very important. For example, the mandatory costs are at most some web hosting and purchasing of your products, but the basic requirements are already there. The other things are optional. The larger your web store, the more costs, so a business plan is not superfluous even for starting a hobby webshop. But is not a requirement, without being allowed to.

Specifically, the only thing you need is: – A domain name – Web hosting – Software – Products or services

Yet this list is usually not complete. It is only sufficient if you allow customers to come along, accept cash payments and, above all, sell to acquaintances. Then you will be able to start soon. But usually if you want to start a webshop you also want people to pay and you will have to think about the logistics in advance. In other words, when do you buy something, where do you store it, how do you ship it and how do you deal with any items that are returned?

Have your customers pay online? Then the picture changes immediately, because you receive privacy-sensitive information. For that purpose, a few rules have been drawn up about which the Dutch Data Protection Authority can tell you more. You will then also have to make your identity immediately clear and offer forms of contact.

3. – Which webshop software is the best?

There are thousands of web shops that use hundreds of different types of software. On the Webshop Forum of the website Webwinkel you see daily new questions about this. This can be different for every webshop. In order to make a rough estimate now, there are at least two popular forms to start an affordable webshop.

Software for a licensed web store With software under license you have to think of a webshop that has already been designed. and who can then rent for a price per period. You usually pay a fixed amount per month, but other rate structures are also available. The advantages are that this is often user-friendly, can be set up quickly and often has a professional appearance. The disadvantage is sometimes that the software has its limitations. Both in appearance, sometimes the web store can be recognized as a thirteen in a dozen store, and sometimes in possibilities in technology. If you have very specific wishes for example. But for most starters this software satisfies more than enough.

Open source web store software Webshop software that has already been developed but can still be completely adapted to your needs is possible with open source. This can be special web shop software such as Magento, but also the well-known blog system WordPress, has special web shop plugins with which you can start your own webshop.

Open source web shop software knows virtually no limits, because the code is free, so you can tinker with it until it works. The downloading of this can (usually) be free and then you have to work hard to make it really a working webshop. If you take the time and you are a handy guy with lots of (very much) patience, you can get far without having to spend a penny.

But you can also simply call in a designer and programmer to ensure that the webshop is fully compliant with your wishes. The one-off costs are usually higher than with a license, but because the possibilities are endless, there are even companies that use this type of software even among the largest online stores in the Netherlands.

Open source software, like running a web store, is unfortunately often underestimated. It does not seem obvious to everyone to program a real web store. That is a bit different than building a simple website! Other disadvantages are that hackers try to break into this kind of software every day. Usually your software needs to be updated periodically, so it sometimes looks almost like license costs. In addition, open source is sometimes developed so far that the back-end, the management part that you use yourself, is sometimes quite unclear because of all those buttons and options.

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