How to Set Up an Online Store for Your Leisure Business

If you’re starting a leisure business, setting up an online store is probably one of the first things on your mind. And you can get online quickly with existing distribution channels like Viator, TripAdvisor, and Expedia. While they’re useful, these sites will charge you commission fees which eat into your profits. This is why it’s best to also have your own website and online store where you have full control of the sales process.

But how do you get started? What are the most important things to keep in mind? In this article, we’ll cover the basics of setting up your online store so you can execute with confidence. Ready to get started? Let’s dive in.

With Regiondo, it takes less than 5 minutes to set up your online store and create your first offer. And if you encounter any issues, our customer success team is always there to walk you through the process.

First things first – do you have a website already?

If you don’t have a website, we recommend you check out our comparison of the best content management systems (CMS) for tour and activity providers.

Once you have an active website, here’s what you need to consider when it comes to setting up your online store.

Custom vs Platform Solution

The next thing you’ll need to consider is the basis of your online store. That is – building it from scratch or using an existing platform like Regiondo that does the groundwork for you.

If you opt for a specialized platform, you can have your store up and running in 5 minutes with no upfront costs. Security and payment processing issues are taken care of as well. The downside is you’ll normally pay a transaction fee when selling online and an ongoing service fee to maintain your online store.

The main advantage of building a custom solution is that you can customize the store elements in more depth and it’s easier to switch your hosting provider. On the other hand, a custom option requires more ongoing maintenance as you’ll have to deal with security updates and you’ll likely need a dedicated person or team to help you. In addition, the setup costs can be high unless you can build it yourself.

Which one you choose will depend on your budget and capabilities. If you are technically oriented and have good knowledge of the legal landscape when it comes to selling online, you might want to spend the time and build a custom solution. But if you’d like to avoid the hassle of creating and maintaining your online store, we’d recommend going for a specialized platform that does much of the hard work for you. This way you can focus on your business instead of the details around it.

Creating your online store

Once you have your website and you’ve decided on how to host your online store, it’s time to create it.

If you’ve decided to build a custom solution from scratch, you can learn more about it in this article by Melanie Pinola on Lifehacker.

If you prefer using a specialized platform instead, you just need to choose a provider and create an account with them. The set up process is usually quick and straightforward, depending on which platform you choose.

With Regiondo, it takes less than 5 minutes to set up your online store and create your first offer. And if you encounter any issues, our customer success team is always there to walk you through the process.

Designing your first online shop offers

Now that your store is up and running, it’s time to add your offers. To make sure as many people as possible purchase, here are a few tips on designing your first offers:

1) Title
The title must catch your visitors’ attention so they click on the offer. It should normally be positioned at the top of the offer page and should highlight the key benefits of your tour or activity. For example, mention if you have a great discount or a unique experience that only you can provide.

2) Description
The description is meant to explain your offer in detail so people feel compelled to purchase. Make sure it’s easy to read by using bullet points and short paragraphs. It’s also important to focus on your reader and how they perceive the experience. Instead of solely explaining how amazing your tour or activity is, perhaps they will be concerned with safety. It’s important to know your target customers and answer their most pressing questions in your offer’s description.

3) Pricing
The key here is to research competitor prices while keeping in mind the value you provide. Are people amazed and consider it an experience for a lifetime or is it just something new to try? Depending on the category you fall in, your price should reflect it. Last but not least, you should also consider your cost structure to make sure there is a sufficient profit margin after all expenses such as transaction fees and marketing spend. For more tips on setting prices, see our post on dynamic pricing for tour and activity providers.

4) Images
One of the most crucial elements on your offer page are the photos. You will normally have a featured image followed by multiple supporting ones. Apart from showing your tour or activity in its full glamour, it’s important to include other people who are having fun and experiencing what you have to offer. This helps visitors relate and acts as social proof so they are more likely to try out your offer.

Example: Fundoarena

Conclusion

Today we covered the main things to consider when setting up your online store.

We looked at choosing a CMS for your website and building a custom store vs using a specialized platform. We also went through tips on creating your store and best practices when it comes to setting up your offers.

We hope that now you have all the information you need to act with confidence and set up a successful online store.

With Regiondo, it takes less than 5 minutes to set up your online store and create your first offer. And if you encounter any issues, our customer success team is always there to walk you through the process.

About Trifon Tsvetkov
Hi, I'm Trifon and I'm Regiondo's Content Manager! Hailing from Edinburgh, Scotland (but originally Bulgarian) I like to stay on the edge of what's going on in the worlds of travel and marketing. When I'm not researching, outlining, writing or editing, I play lots of chess and football. Get in touch with me for anything Regiondo or just to have a chat!
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