Selling online in Malta can be a great way to create additional source of revenue and increase your customer base. Whether you're an established business looking to expand your services or a new entrepreneur looking to start an online store, it's important to understand the basics of setting up an e-commerce business in Malta. This guide will give you an overview of the steps involved in creating a successful online store, from setting up a website and choosing a payment processor to market your products and managing customer support. With this comprehensive guide, you'll be well on your way to creating a successful and profitable online business in Malta.
Some Stats to start
- The e-commerce market in Malta is growing steadily, with the COVID-19 pandemic driving more consumers to shop online. According to a 2021 survey by the Malta Communications Authority, 43% of Maltese consumers made an online purchase in the past year;
- Fashion and beauty products are the most popular categories for online shopping in Malta, followed by electronics and home appliances.
- The most popular online shopping platforms in Malta are Amazon, eBay, and AliExpress. However, there is also a growing number of local e-commerce websites and platforms;
- Mobile commerce (m-commerce) is also on the rise in Malta, with more consumers using their smartphones to shop online. According to a 2021 report by PayPal, 64% of Maltese consumers have made a mobile purchase in the past year.
- Payment methods for online shopping in Malta vary, with credit cards and PayPal being the most common. However, there is also a growing interest in alternative payment methods, such as digital wallets and buy now-pay later services.
Overall, the e-commerce market in Malta is growing and presents significant opportunities for businesses looking to expand their online presence. However, it's important to understand the unique challenges and trends in the market to succeed in this competitive space.
First step: you are an online-based business or you have already an offline presence?
When starting an online business in Malta, the initial step is to determine whether it will be solely online or will have an existing offline presence. If starting from scratch, it is crucial to evaluate the product or service offerings, marketing strategies, and sales channels. Setting up a physical location may also be considered to provide customers with an opportunity to view and experience the products or services.
Malta is a small island country in the Mediterranean Sea that has a unique business environment. On one hand, it is relatively easy to get known for a new brand due to its small size and tight-knit community. On the other hand, the competition is high in many industries due to the country's location as a hub for international trade and tourism. It is important to note that if you want to start an online business in Malta, you would still need to conduct a thorough market research to understand the target audience, competition, and regulatory requirements. The online market is becoming increasingly crowded and competitive, so it's essential to identify a niche and develop a unique value proposition to stand out from the competition.
Website and App Development
To begin selling products online in Malta, creating an e-commerce is the first step. This provides customers with an easy way to view and purchase products or services. The website should be user-friendly, secure, and optimized for mobile devices, with an attractive design and easy navigation. There are various options to create a website, including using a website builder or hiring a web designer to create a custom website. Another option is to develop a mobile app for selling products in Malta. An app can provide a seamless shopping experience and can be more convenient for customers to use on-the-go. However, developing an app can be more expensive and time-consuming than creating a website, and it's important to consider the cost-benefit analysis before making a decision. Ultimately, the choice between a website and an app will depend on the specific needs and goals of the business.
The next step is to choose a payment processor. This is a service that will process payments between your customers and your business. Payment processors such as PayPal, Stripe, Revolut and Apple Pay are popular choices for online businesses in Malta. It's important to choose a payment processor that is secure and reliable. Additionally, it should have features that are suited to your business needs.
Once you have chosen a payment processor, the next step is to create an online store. This involves setting up an inventory system, pricing your products, and creating a checkout process. You can use an e-commerce platform such as Shopify or WooCommerce to create an online store. These platforms provide a range of features, such as product pages, payment processing, and order tracking.
PayPal fees: Maltese businesses using PayPal are charged 3.4% + €0.35 per transaction for payments received from within the European Union (EU) and outside of the EU. Additional currency conversion fees may also apply.
Stripe fees: For Maltese businesses using Stripe, the fee is 2.9% + €0.25 per transaction for payments received from within the EU and outside of the EU. There may also be additional currency conversion fees.
Revolut Business fees: Businesses using Revolut in Malta are charged 1.5% + €0.25 per transaction for payments received from within the EU and outside of the EU. Additional currency conversion fees may also apply.
Apple Pay fees: Maltese businesses using Apple Pay are charged 1.5% + €0.15 per transaction for payments received from within the EU and outside of the EU. Additional currency conversion fees may also apply. It's important to note that each payment processing service may have different features and benefits, so it's recommended to research and compare the different options to choose the one that best suits the business's needs.
Shipping and Logistics
The next step is to set up shipping and logistics. This involves finding a reliable shipping provider, setting up delivery fees, and creating a returns policy. It's important to consider the size, weight, and value of your products when choosing a shipping provider. Additionally, you should ensure that your delivery fees are competitive and that your returns policy is customer-friendly.
There are several options for shipping to Malta and Gozo for online businesses. Here are some of the most common shipping methods available:
Postal services: MaltaPost is the national postal service provider for Malta and Gozo. They offer a range of delivery options, including regular and express mail services, and international shipping.
Courier services: There are several courier services available in Malta and Gozo, such as DHL, UPS, and FedEx. These services offer faster and more secure delivery options, with tracking available for packages.
Local delivery services: Some online businesses in Malta and Gozo may choose to use a local delivery service provider, such as Wolt or Bolt Food. These services offer on-demand delivery options for food and other products.
Pick-up points: Another option for online businesses in Malta and Gozo is to offer pick-up points for customers to collect their orders. This can be a convenient option for customers who may not be available to receive deliveries at home or at work. Online businesses will need to research and compare shipping options to choose the one that best suits their needs and budget. Additionally, businesses should consider factors such as shipping times, tracking options, and customer service when selecting a shipping provider.
Product presentation & User Experience
In the fast-paced world of online selling in Malta, product presentation is a crucial element for success. In addition to high-quality product photography and accurate descriptions, incorporating product videos into your strategy can enhance the shopping experience for your customers.
Product photography serves as the initial impression for potential customers. To make a lasting impact, it's crucial to utilize high-quality images that showcase your products from various angles with appropriate lighting and a clean background. By creating professional-looking product photos, you can attract more customers to your website.
Accurate and detailed product descriptions are equally important as customers rely on them to understand what they're buying. Make sure to provide clear, accurate information about the product, its features, and benefits. Ensure that the product descriptions are easy to comprehend and provide all the necessary information customers need to make informed purchasing decisions.
In addition to photography and descriptions, incorporating product videos can take your online selling strategy to the next level. Videos can provide customers with a more in-depth look at your products, showcase their features and benefits, and answer any questions they may have. A well-produced product video can help build trust with your customers and increase your conversions.
Finally, the user experience on your website is critical in attracting and retaining customers. A well-designed website that is easy to navigate and optimized for all devices can significantly enhance the shopping experience for your customers. By prioritizing user experience, you can create a positive shopping experience that can ultimately lead to increased sales and business growth.
In summary, incorporating professional product photography, accurate product descriptions, and product videos while prioritizing user experience can help you succeed in online selling in Malta. By doing so, you can create a positive shopping experience for your customers and ultimately increase your revenue.
Marketing is another key component of selling online in Malta. You can use a variety of marketing strategies, such as social media management, email marketing, and content marketing, to reach potential customers. Additionally, you should consider setting up an affiliate program to reward customers for referring new customers to your business.
Customer service and support are also important when selling online in Malta. You should ensure that customers can reach you easily and that their questions and concerns are addressed quickly. You can use a customer service platform such as Zendesk or Freshdesk to manage customer inquiries. Additionally, you should create a FAQ page on your website to provide customers with quick answers to common questions.
Finally, it's important to monitor and analyze the performance of your online store. You can use analytics tools, such as Google Analytics, to track website traffic and customer behaviour. Additionally, you should use customer feedback to identify areas of improvement.
Legal considerations are also important when setting up an online business in Malta. You should register your business with the local authorities and obtain the necessary licenses and permits. Additionally, you should ensure that your website and online store comply with data protection and privacy laws.
Mistakes to Avoid when setting up an e-commerce
- Poor website design and navigation that makes it difficult for customers to find what they're looking for
- Inadequate product photography or descriptions that don't provide enough detail or present the product in a professional way
- Ignoring search engine optimization (SEO) best practices, which can make it harder for potential customers to find your website
- Not having clear policies and procedures in place for shipping, returns, and customer service
- Ignoring customer reviews and feedback, which can provide valuable insights into what customers like and don't like about your products and services
- Failing to keep up with the latest trends and technologies in e-commerce, such as mobile optimization and social media marketing
- Overpricing or underpricing products, which can negatively impact sales and profit margins
- Ignoring security concerns, such as ensuring that customer data is protected and that your website is secure against hacking attempts.
Selling online in Malta can be a great way to make money and expand your customer base. However, it's important to understand the basics of setting up an e-commerce business in Malta. This guide has provided an overview of the steps involved in creating a successful online store, from setting up a website and choosing a payment processor to market your products and managing customer support. With this comprehensive guide, you'll be well on your way to creating a successful and profitable online business in Malta.