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    Creating an online store

    I currently sell online through eBay and want to create my own online store. How do I go about doing this?

    RachelM - GoDaddy | Community Manager | 24/7 support available at x.co/247support | Remember to choose a solution and give kudos.
    7 REPLIES 7
    Advocate III

    Shopping carts on the Web come in two basic flavors.

     

    1. Software as a service shopping (SaaS) cart.
    2. Stand-alone cart.

     

    The devil is in the details on this, as you will find pricing and options that can make your head spin.

     

    • The main benefit of SaaS is that you pay per month for the service, so you do not have an initial capital expenditure in developing the shopping cart. The downside is that you pay for this service for its entire life. Some companies don't even charge for the cart service opting instead to take a percentage of gross sales over the cart's life. The other benefit is that should something go wrong, you pick up the phone, complain, and they fix it.

     

    • With a stand-alone cart, there may be some expense incurred due to the need of working with a professional web developer to get the cart going. Once it's operational, you shouldn't incur any further charges though, unless something goes wrong or you need to extend the functionality of the cart. There isn't usually anyone to call for help though except your web guy. This is why a web guy is so good to have in your corner, but I digress... 

     

    One thing to bear in mind about all of this is that, while it is possible to change from one type of cart to another, it is typically not easy and surely requires the skill of a web developer.

    StarNet Solutions www.starnetsolutions.net

    To add to what StarNet expertly stated. Depending on which SaaS option you may choose to go with, you may be limited in your selection of payment processor/merchant services. Going with the standalone cart option gives you complete and total control of the shopper's payment options and thus gives you better control of the user experience. One of my personal favorites is WordPress+WooCommerce+Stripe. WooTheme's WooCommerce Stripe Add-On to add Stripe functionality used to be $70~ dollars PER SITE. As of about a week ago, it's now free and Stripe has no initiation fees (just 2.9% +.30 per transaction) See https://stripe.com/us/pricing for more pricing details. A moderately skilled WordPresser can get WooCommerce+Stripe Shop up and running pretty easily. The Striple Add-On for WooCommerce can be found here. https://www.woothemes.com/products/stripe/

    Just wanted to throw this in about some of the SaaS options - you may be charged based on the number of items in your catalog.  While many say "I'll only have just xxx items," what often happens is that once those items start selling you'll want to add more.  If you SaaS option limits you on this, you may have to make an upgrade, and sometimes "upgrades" don't always go as smoothly as one would like! 

     

    Later!

    James

     

     

    Not Just Pretty Sites, Pretty Doggone Smart Sites
    Advocate II

    I have a friend who was in the exact situation you describe - he was selling several hundred dollars worth of his product on ebay each month, but wanted a website.

    I started building him a website with Joomla, with custom functionality added in PHP, mostly by including PHP code modules within articles.  Before I knew it, I had built a shopping cart from scratch!  It interfaces with PayPal for payment, and sends my friend order notification emails, and sends confirmation emails to the customer.

     

    Next time I am in this spot, I'll probably research available shopping cart options before "reinventing the wheel".  However, my solution does work, and doesn't incur monthly fees.

     

    You can have a look if you like at http://couplers.co

     

     

    Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing

    Selling online is not just about the cart, but also about the site that surrounds/advertises/manages customer interaction.  I'm a big fan of EcommerceTemplates.com and WooCommerce, depending on the requirement.  Keep in mind that you may want to offer "automatic coupons", run an affiliate program with your cart, have a customer ticketing system for support, and.....

     

    The key is to write down EVERYTHING YOU THINK YOU WANT YOUR online store to do for you.  Then you can evaluate what direction you want to take. As you grow your store you'll want to add functionality, just make sure you leave yourself a growth path.  For example, I'm dealing with a 3rd party provider for some of my cart services now and their cart cannot provide me with any sort of real tracking data for me to use with my loyalty points program and email lists.  In this case, its going to be extremely difficult for me to grow my brand with their cart/service because my brand doesn't have the information we need.  I'm actually in the process of developing my own cart for this service.

     

    Hope this helps,

    James

    Not Just Pretty Sites, Pretty Doggone Smart Sites
    Helper I

    Hey Rachel!

     

    Take a look at "Creating an online business?".

     

    Scroll down to the response from valasaurus. It's quite instructive!

     

    Bless!

    Rockstar II

    Depending on how many products you're selling I would recommend ecwid (https://www.ecwid.com/). I used to own/run 2 large websites and I would sell all of my products using them. They also have a wordpress plugin which makes integration a breeze. As far as I can remember they offer a free option and an upgraded option, I used both but preferred the upgraded option for a nominal fee. The upgraded option allows you to implement promo codes, email past customers, setup triggers, etc. I highly recommend it.