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How Can I Add E-Commerce to My Business?

We sell luggage products like trolley bags, suitcases, laptop bags, backpacks and more. We'd like to start selling them online, too. How should we get started? What should we consider? What resources can we use?
Selling online can take several forms, so it's important to consider whether you want to build an entire e-commerce store or just complement your in-store sales with e-commerce. Here are three popular options along with some pros and cons to consider.

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
Related: A Guide to Online Shopping Carts
Related: Five to Follow on Twitter for Ecommerce

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