Creating an online store is necessary for businesses that want to sell online. Any home based business that sells products (and even services) should have an online store to get access to more customers (which will result in more sales revenue). Here are some tips to keep in mind when creating online stores:
Tip #1: Match the Number of Products to Shopping Cart Solution
Creating online stores can be as simple as getting a domain name, paying for a webhost, and putting up a one page product catalog with "buy now" buttons. It gets more technical if you want multiple pages of products, with a shopping cart that remembers your customers' selections. If you have just a few products to sell, then put up a one page catalog and give your customer a way to make a purchase after each description. If you have many products to sell, you can still use one or more pages. Place a box next to each product that will allow them to type in quantities, and have a checkout cart or button at the end to finalize their purchase. If you have too large of a selection, for any of these options to work, then you'll need a shopping cart system that will allow your customers to shop around your website (while remembering their selections).
Tip #2: Use Paypal
Paypal is an online payment solution that allows you to pay and get paid online. Your customers who are registered members of Paypal can pay you without sharing financial information. Those who are not registered, but are paying with a credit or debit card, don't have to register with Paypal to make a payment. All non-registered customers who want to buy your products using a check or bank transfer would have to pre-register with Paypal. Paypal will also give you a simple html code to put "buy now" buttons on your website.
There are some drawbacks to using Paypal. It's one of the most trusted brands online for sending and receiving payments, partly because of their strict guidelines. If a customer complains for any reason, your money might get "frozen" until the dispute is resolved. Also, some of your customers may not want to offer their personal information online, and you might lose a sale because of it. Consider your audience when thinking about whether to use Paypal.
Tip #3: Use a Merchant Account
If you don't want to take the risk of losing customers who don't want to register with Paypal, then sign up for a merchant account. This will allow customers to pay using their credit or debit cards the traditional way. Also, if Paypal's servers shut down temporarily, you'll have the merchant account as a backup. The problem with using merchants account is the fixed costs. Paypal charges a small percent plus a small transaction fee when the sale is made. With a merchant account, you'll have to pay a monthly fee regardless of whether you sell anything.
Creating online stores can generate much needed revenue if you pick the right combination of online catalogs and payment solutions. Consider these tips so that you don't end up paying too much in fees just to make a sale.
Daphne Mallory, Esq. is the co-owner of Mallory Writing Services and has written more than 100 articles helping home based business owners and entrepreneurs start and market their business. You can learn more about her here.