1. Create a business plan 

A successful start in online retail begins with a promising business idea and a well thought-out business plan. Before you start, you should therefore address a certain number of questions:

  • Which business model is desired? B2C, B2B or C2C?
  • Which products and which breadth and depth of product range should be sold to which target group(s)?
  • Where are my customers based? Regional, national or international?
  • How do my customers surf the web?
  • Which trends and customer needs can be found in the sectors selected?
  • What is the competition doing on the web? Who are my main competitors? What does the price competition look like?
  • Which goals should the online shop achieve?
  • How does my online shop stand out from the competition?
  • Which languages and currencies will be offered?
  • Should the products be sold on a marketplace?
  • How will the shop be advertised?
  • How will the customers be tied to the company?

Swiss Post will be happy to assist you in planning, setting up and operating your online shop. The more mature your business plan, the easier it is for us to advise you and develop an appropriate solution. 

Our tip:

In Switzerland, there are numerous firms ready to assist start-ups with useful information and expert advice with regard to setting up a company. The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) offers tips and support here.

Starting a business – SECO

2. Enhance your e-commerce expertise

In our e-commerce basics, you learn what is essential in e-commerce, from marketing and ordering to customer care. In the e-commerce knowledge archive, you can also find fascinating guides, studies and training courses on the subject of e-commerce. This will help you stay one step ahead of the competition.

3. Plan sufficient resources for marketing

All too often, online retailers neglect the marketing of their online shop. We recommend that you invest at least half of your project budget in marketing. With the corresponding marketing budget and a specific marketing mix of online and offline media, you ensure more orders are placed in your online shop.

Our tip for Online marketing:

  • Search engine marketing (SEO/SEA)
  • Mobile and content marketing
  • Newsletter, e-mails, social media
Module e-marketing

Our tip for Direct marketing:

  • Create mailings in a simple and versatile process using PostCard Creator
  • Reach a broad customer base with B Mail bulk mailings or PromoPost
Module direct marketing

4. Shop software – make the right choice

The choice of shop software is a strategically important decision for any online retailer. The shop software must be reliable and suitable for use in the future – with an increasing number of customer visits and sales. 

Our tip:

Swiss Post works with various online agencies and shop system providers. Your advantages: we are not committed to any specific software and always evaluate the shop solution that is best for you. These partners also offer solutions that optimally integrate our e-commerce services. This eliminates high development costs as the technical interfaces, for example for the connection to YellowCube, already exist and simply need to be configured.

Our partners

5. Offer the preferred payment methods

Make it possible for your customers to shop online using their preferred payment methods. This avoids premature termination of orders. Studies have shown that the conversion rate can be increased significantly where multiple payment options are offered.

Our tip:

Through our partnership with PostFinance, we offer you numerous payment options. Start-ups can also take advantage of exclusive special offers. The service includes the following elements:

  • Opening of a business account
  • Integration of the Payment Service Providing online payment solution (start-up package) for connection to the most popular electronic payment methods for credit cards (MasterCard, Visa, American Express), PostFinance Card, e-finance and TWINT
  • Connection to the SmartBusiness online accounts receivable solution for the simple creation of offers, order confirmations, delivery notes and bills. This service is also available in combination with the e-payment solution mentioned above.
Special offer for start-ups

Useful to know:

The Swiss prefer to pay by invoice. Swiss Post can handle purchases with payment by invoice on your behalf and thus minimize the risk of default.

Module billing

6. Offer your customers flexible shipping and delivery options

Where is my parcel right now? Online shoppers in Switzerland would like to be able to track consignments online, to receive notification of delivery by SMS and to enjoy flexible delivery options. Younger e-shoppers in particular favour same-day delivery. Get to know your customers even better! The trend indicator for 2016 illustrates the current behaviour of Swiss e-shoppers. 

Trend indicator

Our tip: 

Fast, safe or inexpensive: Swiss Post has the right solution for the shipment of your goods:

Swiss Post also offers a wide range of services offering end customers the chance to receive parcels flexibly and to post goods and return consignments where and when they want to. These include the “My consignments” online service with notification prior to delivery to manage receipt, alternative collection and acceptance points such as PickPost and My Post 24, evening and Saturday delivery, pick@home for return consignments and Login Post Connector as a universal access point for online shops.  

Module delivery services & shipping 

Useful to know:

Swiss Post offers practical online services to ensure the convenient handling and management of all online mailing processes. They provide access to numerous functions and practical tools.

Online services

7. Optimize your logistics processes 

From order acceptance in the online shop and picking to delivery of the goods, various e-commerce process steps operate together behind the scenes and must be coordinated. Only then can the promised delivery time be met. You should therefore think about how to coordinate your logistics processes at an early stage.

Our tip:

Can’t see the orders for the parcels? We not only deliver and collect parcels to and from your customers on request. With YellowCube, Swiss Post also operates one of the most modern warehouse buildings, optimized for e-commerce. 

Entrust the entire warehousing process to Swiss Post. This enables you to save on operating costs for your own warehouse and greatly reduce the administrative burden. YellowCube can be used with numerous shop systems. It’s as easy to set up as installing an app on your smartphone. And perhaps the biggest advantage: with the YellowCube solution, you can do away with the costly stock-taking procedure. 

Module warehouse logistics & returns management