Online sales have gone from a niche market segment to a leading area of consumer spending over the last decade. The good news is that it is easier than ever for companies to get started in online sales. E-commerce software packages have made setting up a sales website simple and inexpensive. Affordable hosting has also helped lower the barriers to entry for an online sales presence.
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Things you need
- Website hosting
- E-commerce software
- Payment processing
Create a web hosting account for the site. This involves getting server space and registering the domain name. It is important to find a web host that supports third party software to use during site development. As of August 2010, reputable hosts are offering this variety of hosting for around £2 per month.
Choose e-commerce software to run the site. There are many available choices. Explore the options before choosing. Packages range from open-source to commercial. If in doubt, ask the web host for their recommendation.
Install the e-commerce software on the server. Most hosts offering third party software hosting, use Fantastico De Luxe to install this software with. From the Fantastico options, choose the software package's name and click "New Installation." Follow the installation wizard until complete.
Configure the e-commerce software settings. This includes selecting the theme of the site to give it a customised look and feel. You will also add items for sale to the site's catalogue at this point.
Set-up a payment processing account. This will allow customers to pay online with credit cards and other forms of payment. Many small businesses choose to use PayPal and Google initially, but there are also several other inexpensive choices for payment processing.
Integrate the payment processing set-up into the e-commerce software. This is usually as simple as copying and pasting some code provided by the payment processor into the administration area of the e-commerce software.
Open the site to the public. When the site is prepared, go into the administration settings, set access to public, and save the configuration. The site is now ready to begin selling products.
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