Like most average persons, I wanted some extra money to supplement my regular income. I had considered a part time second job at times, but hated that option because it would take me away from the family, make me more tired and probably just pay minimum wage. I also wanted to be able to work from home.
I had surfed the internet for years and had often considered the idea of participating in the internet revolution. I had read some statistics on the use of internet and the increasing numbers of homes with computers and the increasing percentage of Christmas shopping done over the internet. So I decided to jump in with both feet.
First what is ecommerce? The online world designates web sites devoted to retail sales as an e-commerce site. E-commerce sites sell either information or hard goods such as cameras or knives. E-commerce sites also have Shopping Carts and Payment Gateways attached to them that non-sales web sites do not need.
Ok……so you want to develop an E-commerce site. You are now probably asking do I have enough skill, mental patience or aptitude to be successful?
Well if you have average intelligence, I believe that you and thousands of people just like you could have an E-commerce web site. All that is required is the willingness to learn a few things, patience, and the determination to apply yourself.
How? I am glad you asked.
Let’s begin. We first need to discuss the basics components you will need.
2. Internet connection
3. Site building software
4. Graphics Software
5. Web hosting company
6. Shopping cart
7. Payment gateway
The above elements are where most people stop when they think of what they will need when they want to start an ecommerce site. However, there are other elements that need to be considered, such as getting legal and product sourcing.
Items 1 and 2 above are pretty straight forward and most people can understand why they are necessary. The other items however are a little more complex. Site building software allows the beginner to construct a web site without knowing html programming code. What is Html programming Code?
Html is the programming language of the internet and stands for Hyper Text Mark Up Language. The two best software programs currently available to write Html are Microsoft’s FrontPage 2003 or Macromedia’s Dreamweaver. These programs are more correctly known as HTML Editors.
These two programs are the best ones available. I have them both but use FrontPage 2003 primarily. I think FrontPage 2003 is easier to use and does better tables then Dreamweaver. Most professional web site developers, however consider Dreamweaver the better of the two because some claim it has more features, but I find it is a little more complicated to use. I would recommend that you surf the internet and read the reviews on both of these programs and make you own choice.
Next you will need a good graphic program such as Adobe Photoshop. A graphics program allows you manipulate the size of images create images in different formats and create special effects. “PhotoShop” is the current version from Adobe and is the best software program for graphics. Adobe
“Photoshop Elements” can also be used, but is a limited version of the full Photoshop software. The programs from Adobe are expensive so shop around for the best price.
Web hosting is very important and you need to comparison shop for features first, not on price. Web hosting and ecommerce are extremely related, and learned by personal experience the mistake trying to separate ecommerce from web hosting. The web host company is the company that rents room on their server for your web site, but they can much more. They can offer an integrated shopping cart.
The shopping cart is the heart of the ecommerce web site. The shopping cart for all intents and purposes runs your ecommerce web site so it is critical to get a good one. It contains and displays the products you intend to sell. It also does other neat administrative functions that will make your store easier to run. There are some stand alone shopping carts for sale but most come with web hosting service attached.
The “Payment Gateway” is the cashier in the store and is also known as a “Merchant Account.” This is basically a business credit card account. The payment gateway allows your se store to accept credit cards and transfer money to you. Merchant Accounts are very important and you should also carefully review their services and prices. If you do not get a merchant account you are pretty much limited to papal. Search the web and check out the available shopping carts and payment gateways.
Now what are you going to sell, and where are you going to get it? You can look every where for the products you want to sell. How do you know what will sell well? You need to do some market research. Not everything sells well, including electronics. If you have no preference on what to sell, find some marketing software that will allow you to determine which products ell well online.
Next, you will need a source for those products. Assuming you are not making them yourself. The best way is to drop ship them. The trouble is finding a reliable drop ship source and avoiding the imposters.
Once you find you product source you need to open an account and stock your store and start selling. There munch more to an ecommerce store then can be explained in a brief article format. As someone who recently went from zero to an online store Cynscorion.com), I know first hand of the pit falls that await the beginning ecommerce site builder.