Starting a Small E-commerce

With a little knowledge, skills, and determination, anyone can start an e-commerce business. In this article, I’ll go over a few of the basic components that you’ll need when starting a small e-commerce business:

1. Product or Service

If you don’t have your own product or service to market, you can market other people’s products, either via affiliate programs, drop-shippers, or network marketing programs. Once you’ve found a top quality product or service to market, you’re ready to get started!

2. Shopping Cart Software

To sell products online, you will need some kind of shopping cart software, to facilitate online ordering and order processing.  I recommend Oscommerce – It is free, very flexible, and feature-filled.

3. Online Payments

To sell online, you’ll need a way to accept online payments. The easiest way to do this is via Paypal. However, Paypal is not the most convenient for your customers – it’s better for them if you get a merchant account and accept credit cards.

4. Communications

Even in e-commerce, communication with your customers is very important. At the bare minimum, you should have an e-mail address and physical address for your customers to contact you at. Ideally, you should also have a toll-free number.

5. Webhosting

Of course, you’ll need a server to host your website and software on. There are many reputable hosts that offer everything you’ll need for under ten dollars. Use a web host rating website to find a good host.

6. Marketing

Many small business owners fail at one of the most important points – marketing. If you don’t properly market your website, you won’t make any sales, and your business will fail. The key is to utilize marketing methods which are effective and profitable for your business. Experiment to find what works best, but here are a few tried and true methods to start with: pay-per-click (PPC) marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), article marketing, shopping comparison websites, e-mail marketing, and joint ventures.

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