E-commerce sales during the second quarter of 2010 reached over $39 billion according to the US Census Bureau. This amounts to 4.1 percent of total sales for that sales period. E-commerce sales are only going to keep growing. One of the reason that makes e-commerce sales so popular is how easy it is to set up a web site and start selling good. There are many free tools that will allow you to do this. The over head cost associated with running commerce store is next to nothing when compared to a typical brick and mortar goods store.
There are a lot of options when first setting up your e-commerce store. You can choose from paid service or free service. Here, are a few steps to help guide you to set up your on-line store:
First Step – Paid OR Free ?
The first step is to choose a service provider for your e-commerce store. You can choose a free or paid provider. Put simply free providers allow you to download the software for free however there are setup costs, either being your time or paying someone else, to get the store up and running. Paid providers allow you to set-up your store with a few clicks and you pay a recurring montly fee (between $15-$100) to use their software.
Magento is the worlds fastest growing eCommerce platform. With clients like Samsung powering their on-line presence you can be sure of a quality platform. With over 30,000 user worldwide it is a powerhouse in the eCommerce industry.
OsCommerce is the most popular on-line platform with over 240,000 users. The only downside is that it has a generic look and if you want a good design you will have to pay for the upgrade or get a custom design.
Another free option. Less popular than the other two platforms. A bit harder to use than the other platforms because of all the needed add-ons for the admin area.
Shopify is the new kid on the block. A new startup from Ottawa Canada it has made great leaps and bounds in the past few years. With a clean and crisp platform and outstanding support system you are hard to go wrong with this platform. The only downside is there is a bit of learning in regards to the functionality and getting the most out of the platform.
Volusion boast strong security and extensive set of features and add-ons. It has a simple to use website wizard that will walk you through the setup process. However they do limit the number of products you can add to your site. You can’t go wrong with a Volusion platform for the price you pay and the value they deliver.
Once you have chosen your e-commerce site the next step is to register your information about yourself and your store. Be sure to pick a user name and password that will be easy for you to remember. Write down your password offline and put it in a safe place to keep it secure.
Look through the setting menu and choose the best settings for your items. You will need to put in the product name and give your product an item ID. Check out the drop down menus options to see if there are any drop down menus you want to add to your product. You can choose from things like, colors, sizes, and other features to enhance your item description. After you are finish creating your product description, click on the create button. This will generate an item code to use on your website.
Finish setting up your e-commerce store by completing the product information. Depending on what hosting provider you have you will see either a “Upload Inventory” or an “List Item” button you will need to click on. If you are using a pay per item fee structure try using fewer items until you start selling, then slowly add more items. For a hosting site that charges a monthly fee, go ahead and upload your complete inventory.
Take a picture of your items and upload them to your site. Adding pictures to your item description will allow your buyers to see what they are buying and greatly increase the chance of getting sale.
One great tip to remember is keep the unique items out of your initial inventory. Upload one unique item every day. This will keep your customers coming back to your e-commerce site to see what new things you will have available. In turn they will end up buying some of your other products.
One of the better paid e-commerce sites is Shopify. Shopify is an easy to use way of managing your sales when you are first starting out. The interface is basic and easy to navigate. You can organize over 2,500 or your products. They do not offer down loadable product support, like ebooks, however.
Learning how to set up an e-commerce site is not that difficult. Whether you use a paid hosting site or a free hosting site there are many tools to help you succeed. Do not be shy about asking questions and getting advice from experts who have been in the business of a long time. In not time you will become an expert yourself in the lucrative world of e-commerce marketing.