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E-store Hosting: Free Options for Beginners
By: Katie Gatto
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    2010-04-21

    Table of Contents:
  • E-store Hosting: Free Options for Beginners
  • Free E-stores: the Good and the Bad
  • Choosing a Free E-Store
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    E-store Hosting: Free Options for Beginners


    (Page 1 of 4 )

    You have decided to become a part of the world of shopping online -- this time not as a consumer, but as a retailer. Before you can begin to build your online retail empire, there are a few things that you are going to have to do. One of the most important things that you have to do is set up an e-store. Today we are going to look at some of your best no-cost options for creating your own e-store. That way you can test the waters without having to make a large upfront investment.

    What is an E-store exactly?

    That may seem like a basic question at first, but many people have a hard time distinguishing an e-store from another staple of the world of online commerce: a digital payment processor. In order to clear this up let's define an e-store.  An e-store is a piece of software or code that allows you to do all of the following things:

    • List items for sale in a catalog.

    • Organize those items in some logical fashion and ideally perform searches on them as well.

    • Allow shoppers to create a virtual cart so that they can select items to purchase.

    • Allow users to register or identify themselves in some way so that they can receive their products.

    • Allow end users to make payments that you can receive. This task, though, may be accomplished via a digital payment processor.

    So with this definition we can clearly rule out sites like PayPal and other online payment centers as e-stores. We can also rule out shopping comparison sites that give cost listings for multiple stores and merchandise catalogs for brick-and-mortar stores with no way to buy the product online. Now that we have talked a bit about what exactly an e-store is, we can look at why you might need one right now.  

    Why would I need an e-store right now?

    There are any number of reasons why an e-store may be important for your needs right now. Let's take a look at some of the most common reasons.

    1. You have a retail location and you want to expand your business without the cost of a new location.

    2. You are starting a business and your model encompasses being able to sell online.

    3. You have an existing blog or website with a fan base that might be willing to buy merchandise if you offered it. The extra stream of revenue and promotions would be a help.

    4. You want to create items like T-shirts to promote a cause and raise awareness while getting some donations at the same time.

    Of course those reasons are only the tip of the iceberg. Who knows why you might need a store now? It doesn't matter, as long as you know why you need one. Now that we have gone over the basics, we can take a look at why choosing a free e-store host may, or may not, be right for your needs.

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