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Building Your Own Online Store

Updated on June 15, 2008

A Simple Guide on Setting-Up an Online Store

A lot of business-minded individuals are now realizing the importance of having a website for their business. The major niche of having an online store is the ability to reach out to customers who cannot possibly visit the actual store. There are a lot of free webhosting services (Geocities, Freewebs) and free blogs (blogger, blogdrive) available. Just recently, social networking websites like multiply are now upgrading their systems so that the users will be able to post more details about their online stores.

Most of the stuff being sold online includes clothes, pastries, foods and everyday necessities. I noticed that the lifestyle and leisure market is the next big thing. If you are an expert in a specific field, let your costumers know about it and who knows, this can give you the income that you’ve been dreaming of by sharing your knowledge about the things you love!

If you are interested in setting up your very own online store, here are some questions that you have to answer yourself:

What are the products to be sold or the services offered? You have to finalize on what are the products to be sold? Shoes? Bags? Clothes? Food? Are you going to teach wakeboarding? Give Spa treatments? Give math tutorials? You have to choose your specialty so that your costumers won’t find it hard to identify your niche or field of expertise.

What are the contents of your website? Now that you’ve already identified the products and services, how will you present it to your visitors? It is advisable that you post the actual photo, description of products, the advantages of having such service, the real price and other necessary details the costumer needs to know. It is advisable that you update your ‘About Me’ to be able to gain the trust of your clients. You also have to make sure that you have the right design (no super glittery images, please!), user-friendly navigation and simple template. Don’t overdo your online shop because this can drive your costumers away.

Do you have a business permit? Just like any other business in town, it is much better to have your business permit so that you can avoid the problems that can be encountered when it comes to the legality of your online store.

How will the costumers pay you? You must provide the details on how the costumers can pay you in your website. If you are just a newbie and you are offering these items on your country, bank deposit is okay, but if your business grows more and you gained a lot of costumers from different parts of the world, it is advisable that you get your online merchant account where your clients can pay you thru their credit card. There are a number of merchant accounts websites available.

Do you have a "Shopping Cart"? If you already have a credit card where you can receive the payments of your costumers, you will need to install shopping cart software so that you can process the orders without much trouble. It is much better if you pick a webhosting plan which includes a shopping cart to avoid too much hassle.

Are you willing to devote your time maintaining your website? The hard work doesn't stop in building the website. Maintaining it is much harder especially if you are receiving a big number of orders a day. To be able to be successful with your online store, you must devote your time to it. Spread the word by posting the address of your online store at message boards, newsletters and social networking sites (but please, avoid spamming!). You must also have a fast and reliable internet connection so that you won't miss any order. You must be ready all the time.

If you want your business to be a ‘hit' globally, you must learn to embrace the benefits technology can give you. If you have positive answers in the questions above, I guess it's about time for you to build your online store and attract more costumers!

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