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Time to click into gear and go online

I’m in the process of setting up our transactional website. It’s a whole new world for me and I’m completely intimidated by anything in the IT world. My first meeting was with two smooth guys who proposed between £35,000 and £65,000 as an initial project budget. I think they thought I wanted to be the next Net-a-porter, rather than add a bit of turnover to my bricks and mortar business.

I’ve visited many enthusiastic design agencies that were keen to work with a top-end fashion product. However, what I didn’t realise was that a site should be split into four different areas: the design part, the content management system, the internet hosting and the marketing.

Don’t assume that one company can meet all these requirements. You may find if you shop around and speak to specialists separately that you can get a better deal. Apparently, most indies of my size put their energies into the design of the site, when the functionality and marketing are possibly more important. There’s no point having a fab-looking site if it doesn’t work and no one can find it.

I also didn’t realise that my existing stock system may well have an online module that we can use, meaning it can be integrated to the website and the technical complexity and cost of the new site would be considerably reduced.

Finally, I had no idea how vital it is for me to own the creative rights to my website and make sure the domain name registration is up to date.

So much to learn and so little time. If, like me, you’re behind the game by not having an etail operation, then the clock is ticking fast.

Sarah Murray is the owner of designer womenswear independent Jane Davidson in Edinburgh

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