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5 Ecommerce Solutions for Starting Online Stores

5 Ecommerce Solutions for Starting Online Stores

In recent years, the number of online stores has exploded, making the Internet a very crowded – and competitive – marketplace. Ecommerce websites are connecting businesses with customers in an unprecedented fashion. Chances are, you already know how important it is to establish an online business, but aren't quite sure how to get started. Whether you're feeling the peer pressure to join the burgeoning online arena, or you're simply excited by the prospect of a new business channel, there are five ecommerce solutions for online stores that you should consider before you start.

#1: Domain Name

All online stores must have a unique web address, which makes registering a domain name an important ecommerce solution. When you buy a domain name, you become the sole owner of that web address and your online business has a place to call home. Your personal information will also be provided to the WHOIS database, where it will be available to the public. You can keep this information private by electing Private Registration when you register your domain name.

#2: Ecommerce Shopping Cart Software

Ecommerce shopping cart software encompasses many aspects of online stores, including setting up inventory, managing orders from customers, delivery of products, and customer service. Choosing an ecommerce solution is a difficult process -- many different options exist, including open source, licensed, and hosted solutions. Determine which ecommerce solution is right for your business, instead of allowing the solution to determine your business model.

#3: Ecommerce Web Hosting

Professional Web hosting for online stores is an ecommerce solution that offers several benefits. When you work with a web hosting company, you can choose an ecommerce Web hosting package that satisfies your individual needs for space, bandwidth, merchandising and even design. Another benefit a Web hosting company should provide online stores: peace of mind that comes from knowing customer support is available to assist you 24/7, should problems or questions arise regarding your online store.

#4: Professional Web Design

Looks may not be everything, but they are definitely something to consider when starting online stores. Ecommerce websites can be created with easy-to-use web design templates or with the help of a professional web designer. Either way, the rules for this ecommerce solution are the same: keep it simple and avoid overuse of flash and graphics. If you choose to hire a professional, make sure they are focused on the user experience as well, instead of just the look of your new site.

#5: Merchant Account

No matter how impressive your site is in terms of design and usability, you may lose customers if you cannot accept credit card payments. Online stores that cannot process credit card transactions are fighting an uphill battle, as the vast majority of online shoppers favor credit card payments. In order to accept credit card payments online, ecommerce websites need a merchant account to take money from the bank, and an online gateway to take the money from the merchant account.

Ecommerce websites continue to solidify their standing as a smart choice for business owners and customers alike. If you're ready to start selling online, keep the five ecommerce solutions for online stores in mind as you plan for this exciting new venture.

Also, don't forget about the importance of having an SSL certificate if you are accepting payments online. SSL certificates give your customers confidence that you are protecting their sensitive information and encourage them to complete their transactions.