An increasing number of Internet users are shopping online these days. While it’s true that many people browse online and shop offline, there is plenty of money to be made in ecommerce.
Aspiring small business owners are often intimidated by the prospect of starting an online store, because they fear that it will be expensive and difficult. But there are ways that one can get started in the world of ecommerce with very little startup capital and a minimal amount of web design know-how.
- Find something to sell. If you are a crafter or have connections with suppliers, this part will be pretty easy. If not, there are sources online that will drop-ship products for you. That means that you get the orders through your website and collect payment, then you send payment to the company and they ship the products directly to your customer.
- Design your website, or have someone else do it for you. See the Resources section below for some options for learning how to do it yourself. Some web hosts also offer website builders as part of their hosting packages, or you can buy software that will allow you to design a website with ease.
- Sign up for an account with Mal’s E-commerce if shopping cart software is not included with your web hosting. This free service allows ecommerce store owners to put a simple shopping cart on their sites. Orders can be viewed on the Mal’s website.
- Sign up for a business PayPal account. Processing payments through PayPal eliminates the need to qualify for an expensive merchant account to accept credit cards. Buyers can pay for purchases with a credit or debit card without signing up for a PayPal account, and they can also send e-checks if they do have an account. PayPal integrates nicely with Mal’s E-commerce, and they have a free shopping cart of their own as well if you prefer to use it.
- Optimize your site for the search engines. That means including lots of keyword-rich content. This can be accomplished with articles, descriptive category pages and detailed product descriptions.