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Transferring Ownership of a Web Store

Web stores are available in many types and sizes. Standard packages that can be rented as SAAS (software as a service) such as Lightspeed and CCVshop to own servers with Magento, Woocommerce or similar software. When selling an online business, you will usually purchase an operational web store: you can get started right away and no history or value will be lost. But what is the best way to transfer the store?

Domain name

The domain name is an important asset of a modern enterprise. It is a reflection of the brand and the place online where the shop can be found. Over the years, your store becomes bigger and the domain name represents a part of that value. This is because people remember the name (url), but also because you will collect links to the domain of your web store, which will heavily support its findability in the search engines like Google and Yahoo. Does your web store rank high in Google on the main keywords of your business?  This will provide you with loads of (free and) relevant traffic: A very valuable asset nowadays, because their is a lot of competition for the top positions in Google.

Software

Every web store needs software. There are many packages to choose from and they can be divided into 2 main groups:

  1. Self-hosted
    Do you have your own server at a hosting provider? Then you have a self-hosted web store. This usually applies to shops based on Magento and Woocommerce. It may also be that you have a self-developed web store. This had been quite common before the emerge of good opensource software.
    1. Opensource
      When your shop uses an opensource package, it’s important that your own changes, themes and all customizations are well documented. Ask the relevant webmaster /technical staff to write as much information as possible. An undocumented system is a risk to potential buyers.
    2. Self-developed
      In self-developed web stores, documentation is even essential. Self-developed stores have their use (for example) in shops in specific industries where standard packages do not meet the requirements (because of of product configuration tools for example). In the past, it used to be more beneficial to link a self-developed store to an existing corporate website. Generally, nowadays, a full-scale self-developed web store is only useful for large multinationals with large ERP systems, where the shop is linked to. For most SMEs, an Opensource or SaaS solution will always be the better choice. 
  2. Software as a Service (SaaS)
    In recent years, parties like Lightspeed have become very popular. The costs to launch an online business of your own are very clear and manageable, and you can build a beautiful store without too much technical knowledge. Growth is possible within these platforms nowadays, although many web store owners often choose a self-hosted solution when their turnover is growing. These SaaS shops are easy to transfer and have a limited risk to the buyer.

Hosting

In case of SaaS, the cost of hosting is included in the subscription fee, but if you use an opensource package, the server (or hosting account) will be rented or leased. Companies that exist for many years, often have many websites, landing pages and domain names, all mixed to 1 server or 1 account. If you sell your entire company, make sure you can transfer the whole server (check them and delete your private holiday pictures, ZIPs, etc.). Will you keep your company and only sell part of its business? Then create a completely separate hosting account and start transferring the to be sold web store to this account as soon as possible. 

E-mail

Keep in mind that besides the domain name, the e-mail (history) belongs to the sold business. Make sure personal mails are not in the history. Don’t delete any conversations with customers or suppliers, whether they are negative or contain compliments.

Social Media

An online business is more than the store itself. Linked Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts add value. These are therefore usually be part of the sale.

Affiliate & Andere Accounts

Adwords – Google Adwords. Make sure the account is transferred and the bank account is updated afterwards.

Analytics – This is transferable to another Google Account. Preferably, create an account on your business email account and not a private Gmail account.

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