How to set up a retail website

Updated July 19, 2017

Recent developments in e-commerce software have made setting up online retail sites cheaper and faster than ever. Setting up a retail website is no longer only the domain of large companies. With a little bit of planning and some products to sell, nearly anyone can quickly establish an online sales presence.

Set up a web-hosting account. Many companies offer virtual hosting packages for small-business e-commerce. An important feature to look for while shopping for a web host is the ability to add software packages to the hosted domain. This usually comes in the form of a program known as Fantastico De Luxe. This program allows you the ability to add the e-commerce package of your choice to the website.

Install the e-commerce software package that will run the website. There are many popular open source and free choices available. Experiment with the available choices to find one that best fits your needs.

Create an account with a payment processor who will handle credit card payments from customers. Popular choices for small businesses include Google Checkout and PayPal. Smaller alternatives to Google and PayPal also exist.

Design the website. Depending on the e-commerce package chosen, this may be as simple as selecting a design template and uploading your own logo.

Test the website. Run through the website from the customer’s point of view. Look for any glaring omissions or things that may not work. Once you are satisfied that everything works, the site is ready to go live.

Things You'll Need

  • Web hosting
  • E-commerce software
  • Payment processor
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About the Author

Adam Parker has been writing professionally since 1996 and is an expert in the areas of international business development and technology. He has 15 years of global experience in 20 countries consulting businesses and governments on these topics. His writing has appeared in industry papers and journals for Citibank, Nestle and Bechtel. Adam holds a Bachelor of Science in information systems.