1) Do I need ecommerce? This is important. Generally speaking, consumers are comfortable making purchases online for under $250. If your product or service costs more than that, then you may be better served creating a "Lead Generation" web site and an eSales team who are comfortable working with internet based leads.
2) How much time do I have? Setting up an ecommerce store is relatively easy for any experienced web designer and can be done and out to market in a couple days, assuming you have a limited number back end products in place and ready to be shipped. But, if you are a newbie, then you face a substantial learning curve. We encourage everyone to learn HTML, and to be entrepreneurial in their endeavors, but it does take a large time commitment to learn enough to succeed. Also, keep in mind, that the learning is never done. There are always new technologies effecting the Internet and the way people buy and sell online and you need to keep up to date with them to succeed. Another thing to keep in mind is internet marketing. If you plan on acquiring sales through the search engines, then you have to have a real seo strategy that works.
3) What is your budget? Everyday you hear of people making millions online by just having an ecommerce enabled web site that they got for free. We would like to dispel this myth. It's simply not true. There are technology costs associated with operating an ecommerce site, not to mention the cost of products, fulfillment, standard overhead costs, and marketing. The old idiom of "It cost money to make money." is 100% true. However, starting an ecommerce store is generally less expensive than a traditional brick and mortar, especially if you have a successful brick and mortar business already. However, the bare bones start up costs associated with an ecommerce store is the cost of your computer and ISP. This is possible, but not very probable. In truth, you should expect to spend somewhere in the range of $50-$1000 a month in technology costs alone. That does not account for variables listed above.
If you have thought about the questions above and still want to proceed, here is a quick check list of things you recommend you have.
1) Product or service to sell
2) Ecommerce Web Design and Designers
3) Shopping cart with a secure check out
4) Merchant account so you can accept credit cards
5) Back end technology and order fulfillment in place
If all of this seems overwhelming, or confusing, you may want to consider a ecommerce consultant . To find an ecommerce consultant use this link: Ecommerce Consultants.
If you know all of this already, and are ready to open an ecommerce merchant account, then please use this link. Choose an Ecommerce merchant account.
Article Courtesy of 121merchantaccount.com