Posts Tagged "ecommerce"

Do You Really Need E-Commerce?

E-Commerce, for many online sellers, is somewhat like the last frontier. You want to offer the service, you think you’re ready, but something keeps holding you back. What if you make a mistake? What if something goes wrong? What if…what if…?

This type of thinking, although common, is ultimately bad for business. Your web space deserves all the time and attention you can give it, and your customers deserve the utmost in convenience. In short, if you’re selling products, you do need e-commerce. Here, we’ll review the best ways to get started and the benefits your customers will enjoy.

Start with Existing Marketplaces

For the truly commerce-phobic, sites which incorporate e-commerce are an excellent way to become familiar with selling online. Etsy, which is dedicated to handmade and vintage products, is a great example. Through these sites, you can become familiar with the process of handling credit card and PayPal orders. After a while, once you feel more confident, you can move up to offering e-commerce in your own personal web space.

Choose a Trusted Platform or Software

There are several reliable and trustworthy selling platforms out there, each backed by a reputable security guarantee. These are your choices—don’t be tempted to cut costs by choosing an unknown provider. When dealing with customers’ money, safety is key. Your web space needs to be a safe place for customers to shop, and a cut-rate e-commerce provider is a very dangerous way to save a few bucks.

Make It Convenient

In the past, you’ve probably found a product or service online, only to find that you can’t purchase it. Frustrating, right? Don’t let your customers go through this—they’re likely to end up becoming somebody else’s customers.

Convenience is huge when it comes to online shopping, and a checkout right on your web space is the most convenient option. While some online sellers start by offering products through a larger site such as Amazon, keep in mind that this also automatically places other products in front of your customers. Start small if you must, but keep your own e-commerce web space as your ultimate goal. In today’s society, where we’ve all been conditioned to expect service at a single click, your customers will appreciate the effort.

Show Your Accepted Payment Methods

Whether it’s actually true or not, seeing a verified, familiar e-commerce checkout logo on a web space automatically instills a level of trust in customers. Seeing that your web space will accept their credit card or PayPal lets them know that you’re serious about your business, and have taken the steps to ensure a speedy, convenient checkout experience. This speaks volumes about your reliability as a seller, and nearly always leads to increased sales.

If you’re on an extremely tight budget, you may want to begin by accepting only PayPal. This is low-cost in nearly every scenario, and is quickly becoming one of the most trusted forms of e-commerce. Once the increased sales start rolling in, you’ll have enough extra cash to advance your e-commerce into having your own credit card merchant account. In the meantime, however, your customers will still feel an increased level of trust at seeing an e-commerce name they know related to your web space.

Look Professional

There are a few major, nationally-known sites which simply do not offer e-commerce. This is common in the worlds of haute couture, for example. However, these sites can afford to avoid e-commerce because they are so well known. For most small businesses, this level of name recognition is still years into the future.

In order to appear as professional as possible, e-commerce is a must. Regardless of how detailed your product or service descriptions, or how beautiful your photographs, customers will feel they’re dealing with an amateur if they can’t purchase via your own web space.

Conclusion

Although it can be daunting at first, e-commerce is a true must for any serious business-related web space. Not only will it make purchasing more convenient for your customers, but it will lend your site an air of professionalism and consumer trust which can’t be found through any other site component. Want to get started today? Check out these hosts, all of which let you install an e-commerce system with a few clicks!

Top 5 Ecommerce Website Systems

One of the biggest reasons you might want to get your own web space is for the promise of ecommerce. Ecommerce systems have allowed niche shops to reach wider customer bases than ever before. For more general mass-market businesses, they’ve created enormous success stories by connecting merchants directly to consumers worldwide. In this article, we examine the best ecommerce website systems available right now.

Note: Before you can start using any of these ecommerce systems, you need a web host to install it on. Check out this list of established and reliable web hosts that provide the necessary technical platform for an ecommerce system.

Magento

Magento is an open-source shopping cart application, written in PHP and developed by Magento, Inc. It provides you and your users with a stable platform and a robust feature set, including a product search engine, an easy-to-use category system, and a built-in search engine optimization toolkit.

Magento is a scalable solution, one that you can adapt to your needs; the Magento Community Edition is free and suitable for small businesses, while the more expensive Go and enterprise editions provide you with access to Magento’s tech support as well as a few more features that’ll be invaluable in managing a large business storefront.

Modest system requirements mean that even if you’re on a tight budget, your web space should be able to handle Magento. The Go version is hosted, and doesn’t even need independent web space.

nopCommerce

nopCommerce is another open-source shopping cart option. Generally, most of the worthwhile options will be open-source; being able to adjust the code to fit your needs is very useful.

nopCommerce  is written in ASP.NET, and is one of a fairly small number of options if your web space is on a Windows server. The feature set is sound, providing full support for even more esoteric things like kits of separate products.

nopCommerce’s full feature set is free; the only catch is that you have to keep a small copyright notice on each page of your site. You can eliminate even that for a one-time payment of $50.

PrestaShop

Open-source and written in PHP, PrestaShop provides a fantastic plug-in system alongside a robust overall feature set. The catalog is very manageable, and the SEO features help to get your site new customers; the aforementioned plug-in system lets a large number of community plug-ins patch up any sore spots in the feature set.

PrestaShop has a lot of great features; you can even sell downloadable products completely out of the box. Furthermore, PrestaShop is multiplatform and runs on a wide variety of server software.

osCommerce

Like PrestaShop, osCommerce is an open-source PHP solution. It’s basic, but it does the job, providing your site with a simple and effective shopping system. The community add-ons are what make osCommerce worth your while, augmenting its core feature set with more uncommon or region-specific elements.

osCommerce can be installed in one click on certain web hosts, such as Just Host.

Zen Cart

A fork of the osCommerce project, Zen Cart has a template system which allows it to do a bit more out of the box than its metaphorical parent; it’s also notable for a heavy emphasis on AJAX both in the shop and in the admin panel, giving nice “dynamic” qualities to pages.

The downside is that it’s not able to run on lower-end hardware like osCommerce. The plug-in system is just as solid as that in PrestaShop or osCommerce; do note, however, that Zen Cart isn’t compatible with osCommerce plug-ins despite their shared lineage.

Zen Cart can be installed in one click on certain web hosts, such as Just Host.

 

Ecommerce Web Space

If you want to sell products or services online, you need an ecommerce website. Ecommerce web space offers many features. Here are a few of them:

Product Categories

You don’t want your customers getting lost while shopping. If you have enough products for sale, organize them by category in a way that’s easy for shoppers to navigate.

Search Features

Adding a search bar to your ecommerce web space can make shopping a much simpler experience for your guests. Instead of reading through every product you have for sale, they can simply type in a request such as “kids’ tees” and be directed to all the children’s shirts you have for sale.

Secure Checkout

In this day and age, nobody is going to purchase anything from you if the checkout process isn’t safe and secure. People trust companies they know, so choose a popular payment service, one which customers will recognize. Encrypted checkouts are the only way to go in terms of keeping your customers’ sensitive information safe.

Shopping Cart

Just as in a real-life store, a shopping cart is a way for your customers to collect their items before making their final purchase. This makes shopping simpler and more convenient, which translates into more and bigger sales for you.

Visual Appeal

Regardless of whether you use a gallery, a slideshow, or individual pictures for each product page, pictures are essential to boosting sales. Would you buy a product you couldn’t see? Of course not. You’ll need quality, high resolution shots of every single item for sale, from all angles. Let your customers see exactly what they’ll be getting. This inspires confidence. The more pictures featured on your web space, the higher your sales are likely to climb.

Do You Need Ecommerce?

The only question you need to ask yourself in determining whether ecommerce systems are right for you is whether or not you want to sell online. It’s that simple. Your web space may be advertising a retail establishment such as a restaurant, but not taking online orders. If this is your situation, you have no need for ecommerce features, so spend your money improving your web space in other ways.

Ecommerce Web Space Hosts

Choosing a hosting provider for your web space is an important step. You want affordability combined with reliability. While many sites offer ecommerce, some stand out from the pack. Just Host is a hosting service we highly recommend for this purpose. It has received outstanding ratings from independent reviewers and consistently delivers on the features which matter most to small business owners.

Conclusion

While ecommerce can seem intimidating, it’s really not a complicated matter. Make smart decisions for your web space by choosing a good ecommerce hosting provider, and you’ll see those sales start rolling in!

Image by zorraquino.

Fantastico Web Hosting

Do you want to install a blog, forum, or photo gallery on your website? Here’s a secret: you don’t need to hire a web developer to do it! Thanks to Fantastico web hosting, you can easily deploy web applications yourself with just a few clicks.

Fantastico is a powerful, easy-to-use piece of software that lets you install popular web applications on your website. It often comes bundled with web hosting plans. With Fantastico web hosting, you can easily install any of the following applications:

  • Blogs. A blog is a regularly-updated website, much like a journal or a magazine. Blogs can be used in a variety of ways, ranging from personal diaries to newspapers to company newsletters. With Fantastico web hosting, you can not only set up a blog on your website; you can also add search functionality, customize the design, and arrange the layout in a few clicks. Two popular examples of blog applications are WordPress and b2evolution.
  • Forums. These are discussion boards where people can interact online. With Fantastico web hosting, it’s easy to set up a forum without the need to program it from the scratch. Fantastico also lets you customize the forum design to match your main website. phpBB and SMF are examples of forum applications.
  • Customer service systems. Fantastico lets you set up help features, FAQ pages, and chat scripts so you can support your customers. A lot of companies use osTicket and Help Center Live, for example.
  • E-commerce systems. If you’re used to buying things online, you’ve probably seen this kind of system already. With Fantastico, you can install shopping carts and e-commerce applications instantly. You can also select the design and features to suit your business needs. osCommerce and Zencart are popular examples.
  • Photo galleries. More and more people use photo galleries to exhibit their creative work or share personal pictures. You have more control and reliability when you do this on your own website instead of uploading to third-party image hosting sites. Fantastico web hosting lets you install powerful web-based image gallery systems. You can even include commenting functionality, user registrations, and browser-based uploads. Among the many applications you can use are 4images and Gallery.

In summary, Fantastico web hosting is ideal for any website owner or administrator. It’s great for beginners, as it lets you build and manage your website in a few easy steps. No extra fees. No database setup. No programming. You can choose from more than 50 applications to install.

Note that there are many web hosts that provide Fantastico web hosting. When choosing your web host, you should of course make sure they bundle Fantastico with their plans. But in addition to that, make sure they have adequate disk space and bandwidth, good customer support, and reliable service. Check out some recommended providers of Fantastico web hosting.