How To Sucessfully Set Up And Run An Online Store
There are plenty of online marketplaces where individuals can sell merchandise but business owners who are serious about selling products or services online need the freedom that having their own ecommerce online store provides. Anyone, regardless of his or her Web site building skills, can open and operate an online store successfully.
Every online store will need a domain name from a domain name registrar. This should be the name of the business but thousands of domain names are registered daily and there is a good chance that a person’s first choice will already be taken. It pays a business owner to take his or her time and select a domain name that will be easy for customers to remember and not easily misspelled.
Domain names need to be hosted somewhere. Budding online entrepreneurs who are not particularly Web savvy should select a Web site host who offers a one-click install of shopping cart scripts. These scripts are usually open source, meaning they are free to use. The shopping cart script acts as a website, with extra pages for shipping and business information. Web savvy entrepreneurs can purchase or license shopping cart software and upload it to his or her Web site host.
A third choice is to install a blog and add a shopping cart plug-in. This works best for people only planning to sell a few items.
Pre-Built Online Store
A pre-built ecommerce online store is also an option for getting online and selling quickly. Companies which host pre-built stores will provides templates for shop owners to customize his or her store. Individuals add products, set up shipping and payment information and they are ready to open. The drawback to this solution is a higher monthly cost as opposed to traditional hosting and many pre-built store hosts take a small percentage of each sale.
No mater which hosting solution is chosen, the next steps are the same. The online store needs customization so it reflects the business owner’s brand. This includes choosing colors, adding a logo, and adding text about the business.
Shop owners need to add a payment gateway as a means for customers to pay by credit card. Existing business owners will probably already have a merchant account. If not, one is needed, as few customers are willing to send checks to make online purchases.
Next, at least one method of shipping the product or delivering the service has to be selected, with a page written to explain the shipping policy to customers.
Finally, upload the products, along with descriptions and pictures and add text to the Web site explaining everything potential customers would need to know to feel confident making a purchase.
An ecommerce online store will succeed only if customers know the store exists. Business owners have to make sure search engines find the store easily; this is search engine optimization. SEO alone usually is not enough, business owners have to promote their store, either by social media, blogging, submitting their products to shopping portals or by purchasing advertising.
Running an online store, between keeping the store updated with new products and promoting the store, is a full-time job. It is also a very rewarding job, with the potential to earn a full time income working from home.