Creating an online store as a business or to expand your existing business is an efficient and effective way to increase your profit margin. Online shopping is a multi-billion dollar industry and small businesses are getting in on the profits by starting their own online store. Creating an online store is relatively easy, but it does take time, patience and effort. By following these simple steps, you can have an online store up and ready to go.
Step One: Create a Domain Name
If you do not already have a website selected, you will need to register a domain name. You will want to choose a name that is under sixty three characters and for this case, shorter is definitely better. It should also be memorable and relevant to your business. Once you have chosen a name, you will need to check to see if it is still available. Usually, you can do this on the site you are registering your domain. You will need to then register your domain name with an accredited domain name registrar.
Step Two: Create Your Online Store
You will need to decide if you would rather build your store from scratch using one of the various software programs available or to go with a hosted site. If you are not fluent in the language of computers, it is usually better to choose a hosted site. Hosted websites can cost as little as ten dollars a month but could also run upwards of a couple hundred dollars depending on the size and scope of your online store.
Step Three: Add Products
You will next want to add your products (unless you are selling a service) to your online store. You will want to use clear images with descriptive phrases to attract and tempt your customers into buying from you rather than your competitors. There are some hosted and inclusive packages that will include a shopping cart with your domain, but you may need to purchase shopping cart software separately.
Step Four: Design Your Store
There are countless pre-made and easily installed templates and designs available on the Internet for your online store. There are many that can be customized for your individual preferences such as a custom logo, font and color scheme. Many of the designs are free, but there are also themes that have more to offer, better designs and a more aesthetically pleasing appearance for a nominal fee.
Step Five: Set Up Payment Options
Depending on which type of payments you wish to accept, there are many choices for both a merchant account and a payment gateway. You will need a merchant account in order to receive funds from processing credit or debit cards online and you will need a payment gateway in order to authorize and process credit or debit card transactions. You can set up a merchant account through PayPal, your bank or through one of the many online account providers. You should also set up shipping options at this time as well. Choose which shipping method your business will use, set shipping rates and set any applicable taxes.
Set Six: Advertise
The last thing you need to do before launching your online store is letting people know when and where they can access it. Come up with a great marketing campaign and get ready to do business.
Author Bio: Shannon Martin is a content manager and writer for MerchantSeek.Com.