How to Set Up an Online Store - Of Payments and Shopping Carts
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Obviously, this is one part of the business you have a strong incentive to get right. There are a number of options here. You can buy an online shopping cart program. You can use the services of an application service provider (ASP) to manage a shopping cart system for you. Or you can program a shopping cart yourself. Some web hosts offer a shopping cart program you can use on your website; you might want to look into that as well.
Googling “shopping cart services” (without the quotes) turns up hundreds of millions of web pages. You might find it is worth shopping around to compare prices, features, and customer service. If you have friends who engage in ecommerce, you might also check with them as to their shopping cart services.
Buying a shopping cart program can be an expensive option; you can expect to spend at least $200 if you choose that route, and some shopping carts cost $800 or more. Some shopping cart software might seem affordable at first, but then the company charges you extra if you want certain plug-ins (such as one that lets you display the shipping rates from all the shippers you use at the same time). You might want to put this off until you are more established and have a good idea of what shopping cart features are most important to you and your customers.
Your best option might be following through with a decision you may have made earlier, when you built your website: using ecommerce website templates. Many of those have shopping cart systems pre-installed. They make setting up an online store quick and easy.
Shopping carts bring up the issue of how you will accept payments. If you are doing business on the Internet, you’ll want a way to accept instant payment from your customers. PayPal might work for a while when you’re starting out, but you’ll need a more direct way to accept credit cards. That means you’ll need a merchant account from a bank or financial institution that accepts Internet transactions. You can find more details about how to get yourself set up to accept credit cards in this article.
I haven’t covered everything involved in setting up an online business, but I hope I’ve given you some idea of what’s involved. Take it step by step, and you’ll be on your way to success!
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