Learn how to sell your products online through a web store service
To sell products online, either as a side business or an addition to your regular business, you need a portal to market through. If you are a big business you should go hire someone to build out an e-commerce site, but if that is not in the budget, and you just want something easy to set up yourself, there are some good alternatives available.
eBay Online Store
eBay offers sellers the option of creating their own "store" of products. The company is obviously well recognized and there is a discount on listing fees for items in a eBay store compared to auction fees. For items you don't want to auction, the eBay solution can make some sense. However, if you want to tie the store into your website closely, than there are better solutions.
An Example of a Easy to Setup Service: MadeFreshly.com
One of the better online store services, MadeFreshly.com offers a simple to customize online store setup designed for people who do not program computers. If you can make simple decisions on colors and templates, then upload products, then you can use this online store provider.
The MadeFreshly stores include a built in shopping cart feature that captures the customer's order and payment. The shopping cart allows you to accept PayPal, American Express, Visa, MasterCard and Discover.
Coupon codes are supported, and very useful because you can distribute small text codes that give a set discount or money off amount to buyers who enter the discount code. This is good for marketing to groups or just about anyone because everyone loves a good discount.
The site plans to support digital products in the future.
The video linked below offers a mini tour of the Made Freshly service, but you can just sign up for a free online store with free online cart and explore all the options without any committment.
What to Look for in an Online Store Solution
When you set up your online store, consider the value in each of these features to you:
- Cost: what is the cost and is it reasonable? Too high a cost is obviously bad, but you also get what you pay for. If the service is free and there is no way for the shopping cart provider to make any money you are not going to get any support and the service might just shut down. Some online store providers offer the store for free but make money by providing payment collection services. Others charge for the store function and have you deal with PayPal etc.
- Ease of setup: If you are not a computer programmer, will you be able to handle the interface. Fortunately there are some very user friendly store interfaces now available
- Who owns the domain: If your store is hosted at mystore.storeprovider.com or eBay.com/mystorename (an easy and free way to go), you can't really build equity in the site that way because the store provider. If you plan to build up a business with the store (rather then just use it ancillary to your main site) than consider a service that will let you put the store under a top level domain you own like www.mystore.com
- How easy is it to add and manage products: If uploading your products and pricing them is going to take forever, keep looking.
- Marketing tools: Can you add discount codes, % off, free shipping when you spend X etc. These tools can be very helpful in increasing sales, so choose an online store provider that offers the tools you need.
Good luck with your online web commerce setup.
Introductory Tour for Made Freshly
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(price as of Sep 17, 2015)