How Can I Add E-Commerce to My Business?
The first option for selling online is selling your products through third-party retail e-commerce sites such as e-bay stores or Amazon stores. The advantage of selling through third-party sites is that you don't have to build and maintain your own website. You also have access to a built-in audience of prospective customers who already search for products using these sites.
The second option for selling online is adding online ordering or a shopping cart to your current website. If your needs and your product lines are simple, you can add buy buttons and external shopping carts with services such as 1shoppingcart.com or Shopify. These services have the advantage of simplifying the technology you need to sell online while allowing you to place a storefront into the structure of your current website without a lot of programming.
The third option for selling online is building and maintaining a fully integrated online e-commerce store. For a simple solution, you can use out-of-the-box options such as Homestead, Yahoo! Small business or Network Solutions. Or, you can build a more customized site by using an established e-commerce platform provider.
No matter which option you choose, remember that e-commerce depends on driving qualified traffic to your store and giving people a shopping experience that meets the expectations set by your marketing. Make sure you have a plan and a budget for acquiring new visitors and for servicing them when they have questions or encounter technical issues.
Related: 12 Ways to Increase Online Sales
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John Arnold is a Boulder, Colo.- based consultant, speaker and trainer specializing in marketing advice for small businesses. He is the author of three marketing books in the 'For Dummies' series including Web Marketing All-In-One Desk Reference and Mobile Marketing for Dummies. Follow him on Twitter: @ArnoldMarketing