E-commerce, the short form of electronic commerce is buying and selling of product and services by use of Internet. E-commerce draws on technologies such as electronic funds transfer, internet marketing, online transaction processing, online supply chain management, automated data collection systems, and mobile commerce among others. E-commerce is on the rise all over the globe with an estimated growth of 20 percent annually. Online sales topped $ 1.3 Trillion in 2014 and estimated to grow to a higher amount. Naturally, as an entrepreneur, you don’t want to miss out.
With cheap web hosting and free tools, there’s in no reason you can’t setup your e-commerce website if you’ve got something to sell. Whether you’re looking for a lifetime source of income or a real project, here’s an easy step by step guide to starting an online shop.
A majority of entrepreneurs, when they make a decision to sell online, either chose to register with a third party online selling platform or develop their custom e-commerce website. The latter is the most popular choice for most business owners.
The 1st Step: Get the requirements.
Here’s all that you need to get started:
· A business name
· Services or products you want to sell
· The pricing criteria for those items.
After you acquire the above basic needs for business, you’ll also need the following to have your online shop completely set up.
A domain name
It is highly recommended that you get a web host that provides “cPanel” with Fantastico scripts or, a Windows-based server. These features makes installation of third-party scripts such as shopping cart systems extremely easy.
Remember to get a dedicated Internet Protocol (IP) address for your site and a private SSL certificate. Secure Sockets Layer protocol (SSL) encrypts the data between the website server and the browser; it’s useful in protecting client data, and this raises the level of trust they have for your business.
A free shopping cart script
Shopping cart scripts such as Zen Cart and osCommerce are the most important backbones of many online stores. Most business owners prefer osCommerce since it is widely accessible.
A payment gateway
In simple terms, payment gateways check the information in the credit card and complete the transactions in real time. They take a cut of the transaction, in the meantime, and deposits the rest into your bank account. There are various payment gateway options, take you time to research on your choice while considering your transaction needs and the sales volume expected.
2nd Step: Setting up your site
After you have your domain name registered which points to your web host, you need to set up your website’s homepage and other pages. In these pages, you provide the background information about you or your products. The shopping cart script can also stand alone as your entire website.
3rd Step: Installation of the shopping cart system
If you have QuickInstall or Fantastico in your site cPanel, you can use these tools to auto-install the shopping cart system. Click on the “New installation” link or button to setup a new facility. After this, you can set the fundamental shop features such as the email address and the name of the shop owner and the SSL option.
4th Step: Customization of your online shop
This is done by use of logos and appealing web design. A website’s branding and design can have a significant impact on how frequently website visitors purchase. Hiring a website designer and having a website customization done can cost more than $1,000. If you want to reduce start-up costs, many solutions are available to ensure a presentable website with no need to break the bank. Some of the solutions include:
Purchase a website template
There are thousands of different templates available in online marketplaces for example Theme Forest. A majority of these themes are mobile friendly and beautifully designed. They usually cost $20-$50 which is just a fraction of what you would pay a designer. Also, these themes primarily have built in customization options. These options make it easy to customize your website the way you want.
Get a cheap logo
A logo is a crucial component of any marketing and branding efforts. Once again, hiring a graphic designer is always not the most reasonable option. Instead, take a keen look at 19 Dollar Logos ($19+) and 99Designs ($299+). 99Designs is a platform where a crowd of designers submits their logo design. In this platform, you’ll only pay the logo design that you like best. Logo quality is great and especially when you give detailed instructions on what you want.
19 Dollar Logos are much cheaper, but they only have a few concepts and revisions. The quality isn’t as good as 99Designs. However, it’s the best solution for those on a tight budget.
Bringing online experience into your business will not only enhance its financial development but also the interaction between the business and the customers. The experience of buying becomes more entertaining and vivid bringing you more customers. Hoping that you’re now equipped with all the information you need, it’s now the best time for you to get into the World of eCommerce.