What is an online store? A website which sells goods or services for money.
Things to be taken into consideration while setting up an online store:
1. Your budget for the project.
2. The products you want to sell online.
3. How will your customers pay you?
4. How are you going to get the goods delivered?
5. Security of your website and client’s information.
6. How do you plan to promote your website?
How to start an online store?
1. Target an un-served or under served niche market.
2. Choose the products you want to sell.
3. Choose a relevant domain name.
4. Set up a website with easy navigation.
5. Promote the store and start selling.
How to set up the website?
1. Study the big online stores like Amazon.com for designs, color combinations, layout etc.
2. Choose a design for your online store and display some selected products on homepage.
3. Include product details, prices and discounts. You will need a database or a content management system to keep this information updated.
4. Program it to accept the payment through credit cards.
5. Keep the financial information of your customers secured on your online store. Ask your host for Secure Servers i.e. SSL encryption. This is a must.
6. Having your own merchant account and payment gateway is the best security you can offer to the customers.
7. You will need a Shopping Cart System, which you can buy or develop yourself. There are OpenSource shopping cart systems like OsCommerce available on the Internet.
8. One of the best e-commerce solutions is Paypal which integrates Shopping Cart Management System with the payment gateway and merchant account.
Mistakes to avoid while setting up an online store:
1. Poor Navigation and confusing website
2. No marketing and promotions of the store
3. No contact details on the website
4. Lack of updates
5. No SEO
6. Unclear Return Policies
7. Overly intrusive registration policy putting off the customers.
These are some points to kick start your online store. All it needs for a good online store to succeed is innovation, commitment and the persistent efforts.