Selling products and services over the Internet is not difficult, and can be extremely rewarding. You might be wondering what exactly is needed to sell products on the Internet. Flexible and feature-rich ecommerce software like ProductCart is certainly one of the requirements, but there are a few other things to review.
Here is some information on how to get started:
1. What you need to sell online
You’re ready to start selling your products or services over the Internet, but what’s really needed? Here is a quick look:
- You will need a Web site
… and you probably already have one. If not, ask one of our partners to build you a turnkey ecommerce Web site. These are expert Web designers, who are also very familiar with our shopping carts.
- You will need ecommerce software to take and process orders
You can purchase a shopping cart and integrated it with your Web site or subscribe to a service (see Item 2 for more about these two options). Here at NetSource Commerce we focus on developing top-quality shopping cart software for businesses.
- You will need a way to collect payments
A sophisticated shopping cart like ProductCart provides you with many ways to collect payments: real-time credit card processing through a number of supported payment gateways, offline credit card processing (e.g. you can use your POS if you have a retail store), check, purchase order, PayPal, Google Checkout, all sorts of custom payment options that you can design, etc.
If you decide to process credit cards in real time you will need:
- A business bank account
… to connect to whichever payment system you opt to use.
- A credit card merchant account
Your bank or the gateway that you sign up with will help you get a merchant account. The exceptions are PayPal (Express Checkout, Payments Pro, and PayPal Payments Standard) and Google Checkout, for which you don’t need a merchant account as they provide a merchant account as part of their payment services.
- An account with a payment gateway
Some credit card processors also act as a payment gateway (e.g. Google Checkout and PayPal Payments Pro or Express Checkout), in which case you would not be required to take this further step. In all other cases, you will need to connect your store with a payment gateway, and ProductCart supports many leading payment gateways.
- A secure certificate (SSL)
You should have one even if you do not take payments. Customers want to be on a secure page even if they are simply setting up an account.
2. Buying a shopping cart vs. a service
There are companies that will offer you some or all of the services mentioned above as part of one package. Although this may sound good at first, the cost of running a store is typically much higher in that scenario, and you are a lot less flexible in what you can do with your Web shop. The advantages of using a shopping cart like ProductCart, rather than a pre-packaged ecommerce service such as Yahoo! Stores are many. Among them:
- No monthly fees
- No percentage of sales taken away from you
- Unlimited products, categories, customers, etc.
- Total control on the storefront look & feel
- Total control on the shopping cart functionality. You own the software. If you need new features, you can hire somebody to add them just for you.
- Total control on where you Web store is hosted. If you don’t like the service provide by the Web hosting company, you can move to another one and bring your store with you.
More information on the licensed vs. hosted shopping cart debate >>
3. Which shopping cart should you buy?
There are so many licensed shopping carts and hosted ecommerce solutions out there! Which one should you choose? Which one will work best for you? Reviewing and comparing different software can be very time consuming. To help you, we have put together the following articles:
- Shopping cart software comparison
Quickly compare our shopping cart software to other shopping carts
- Tips on comparing shopping carts
What to look for when you are comparing different shopping carts
4. Next steps: see if our shopping cart software is a good fit!
- Learn more about our shopping cart software and the hundreds of features that it offers. Using a top quality ecommerce system like ProductCart is the first step to running a successful online store.
- View a partial list of ecommerce stores that use our software. That will give you an idea of how other companies are using ProductCart. You will notice that the software blends seamlessly with any Web site design.
- Ready to go? Then buy ProductCart today and be up and running in no time.
- Are you thinking of having somebody build the store for you? We provide complete ecommerce solutions through a network of Web design companies that are ready to help you. You focus on running your company, and they build a powerful ecommerce store for you.