Recently, eCommerce has been on the rise globally and domestically, with more and more Greek businesses looking to expand their online presence by creating an e-shop. However, in order to increase their chances of success, as well as their sales, they need to prepare themselves properly.

Specifically, for those of you who have chosen to create an e-shop, you need to devise a realistic, well-designed business plan and put it into action.

Once you have done your research in the first instance and come up with the subject matter, i.e. the products you will be selling, the next step is to find a name to register your domain name. In addition to this, which will need to be renewed for a fee every year, you will also need to find the hosting, where your e-shop will be located/where your e-shop will be hosted. The hosting, which is also renewed annually, is important as it can affect the loading speed of your website.

You also need to know if you will be a B2C (Business to Customers) or B2B (Business to Business) business, your audience, and whether you will interface with ERP, which automates and reduces the time you spend each day with “process”.

Of course, you ought to have the right budget, as well as an accountant, a lawyer and an experienced eCommerce company that knows exactly how your online store will operate (design, construction, training, technical support, etc.).

However, let’s take things from the beginning by listing in detail, 7 important steps to start an e-shop:

Step 1: Registering a commercial business with the tax authorities

An indispensable partner when setting up an e-shop is the accountant, who will deal with all the individual steps to officially launch the business. If it has already started, of course, he will have to give you practical advice and inform you whether you will need to add additional VAT codes (= activity codes). Please note that the ID codes for eCommerce are not specific, but depend on the type of product (regardless of whether it is online or not).

Starting a business, interfacing with the myDATA online platform for issuing receipts or invoices, registering with GEMI, obtaining a certificate of registration with the relevant insurance institution (EFKA), etc. are important steps in the start-up of a commercial business and should therefore be considered carefully.


Step 2: Legislation & legal coverage

It is important to avoid copying the necessary legal texts from your competitors’ online stores (terms of use, GDPR, etc.).

Terms of use are an essential means of protection for both the provider of products and services via the online shop and the customer.

You should also set clear ordering, payment, shipping and return policies, which will improve customer trust in your company. Strengthen your company’s intellectual property rights (trademarks, patents, applications, etc.) and adopt the Right to Privacy Policy (GDPR).

Regarding the registered office of the e-shop, because it is a commercial activity and not a service provision, it is necessary to declare a place of business different from your residence, with a separate entrance, so that it can be checked at any time by the tax authorities.


Step 3: Courier companies (courier)

At this point, it would be useful to do a little market research before you decide. Be sure to give your customers alternative shipping options, providing all possible choices. The online store should support the interconnection and automation of the shipping process for more than one courier.

Also, calculate if you can absorb the cost to offer free shipping so that you don’t lose out on paying customers because of high shipping costs (known as abandoned cart).


Step 4: Payment methods

Like shipping, you should make it easy for your customers by providing many payment alternatives.

These fall into two main categories:


Online payments

These are online payments made entirely through the e-shop and its interface with the corresponding payment gateway. Popular payment systems in Greece are:

  • The credit card payment systems of Greek banks (Cardlink, i-bank eCommerce, ePOS Paycenter)
  • Popular payment gateways such as PayPal, Skrill, Viva Wallet, EveryPay, etc.


Offline payments

These are those that are made after the purchase has been completed and outside the e-shop. They usually require more time for processing and receipt. However, they remain popular options in Greek eCommerce, as Greek consumers consider them as a more “secure” method. The most popular offline payments are:

  • Deposit to a bank account
  • Delivery by courier
  • Cash on delivery by courier (bank transfer)
  • Payment and collection from the store


There is no right or wrong payment option. You just need to compare details, such as the commission each bank charges per purchase, to find the model that best suits your business.

Finally, we should stress how important payment security is. The 3D-Secure protocol for card payments (an interactive transaction verification process between the issuing bank and the cardholder) is essential for both your and your customers’ security.


Step 5: Customer support

It is one of the most important functions of the business. Since your customers do not have direct contact with you and your staff, prompt and efficient customer service is vital.

The e-shop will be open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so you need to offer extended support hours beyond normal store hours and through different communication channels (e.g. phone, email, online chat).

A key rule of good service is to respond promptly to customer requests. To make sure you don’t forget to respond to their messages, make sure to use the help desk management software that your online store should include.


Step 6: Marketing & Sales

For the targeted promotion and promotion of your online store, it is essential to have a well-organized plan. The number of tools and means (channels) of online promotion and communication is quite large. Indicatively we mention:

  • SEO and search engine marketing (e.g. Google ads)
  • Google search engine marketing and social media marketing and advertising (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.)
  • Price comparison websites (Skroutz, Best Price, etc.)
  • Marketplaces (amazon, eBay, etc.)
  • Retargeting (advertising your products and services to e-shop visitors after they leave your site without buying)
  • YouTube
  • Email Marketing

In terms of sales, it is particularly important that your e-shop has mechanisms that help increase sales such as:

  • Discounts and discount coupons
  • Gift cards and gift lists
  • Check-out (departure) offers
  • Special offers (of the month, week, day, etc.)


Step 7: Design and technical support of the e-shop

You should have your corporate identity (branding) if you don’t already have one and design your online store based on user experience (UX & UI). The company that will be responsible for the technical support of your online store should have the following:

  • Long experience in web & eCommerce technologies
  • Rich case studies with well-known e-shops & portals.
  • Expertise in software development for the inevitable interfaces and customizations that will be needed in the future (e.g. ERP, CRM, analytics, metrics, payment systems, vendor systems, etc.).
  • Experienced technical support team.

The average life cycle of your online store platform is between three and five years. As you can see, the choice of the company that will take care of the e-shop development is a very important factor in your new business plans. Make sure that your startup is done methodically and properly prepared, with qualified and experienced technical partners close to you.