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Old 3rd July 2008, 02:15 AM   #1
andrea32145
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Default E-commerce Site Funding?

Hi people, I have been running my own business in my hometown and Iím wishing to offer my services to a wider range of customers, so I decided to get a domain, a server and some IT staff to run an online Business. I have spent some money at the moment and I read on several sites that big businesses spend money by the million! I wonder if I also have to spend this amount of money for a site with some e-commerce tools, member base and some news. Thanks for your feedback.

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Old 16th July 2008, 07:35 PM   #2
dotnetter_ohio
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No, you definately do not have to spend millions. The first step, and that is the free one, is getting a shopping cart application up. You can find many free shopping carts at various places, I personally recomend Zen Cart at zen-cart.com. Another freebee is OsCommerce.org. These companies have "open source" shopping carts, they do require some expertise, but they have great forums that will tell you what you need to do with your site.

The second step, and where the millions come in is through website promotion. If you have a unique product, or just want to advertise regionally, this won't be too bad, and you can almost build up your popularity with word of mouth.

You can hire a website design firm to publicize your site, or use Google AdWords or other promotional / advertising means to further your efforts.

So... long story short, yes you can do it by yourself for free technically, but most website design companies can do it for you in a quick timeframe for a fraction of the cost. I own a design firm, and we usually can do a small Zen Cart installation (our preference) for around $500 and do some basic SEO. I am not recruiting your business, just trying to give you a ballpark.

Best of luck to you.

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Old 18th July 2008, 02:50 PM   #3
torka
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Rather than starting off with your own server and IT staff to run the store, you may also want to take a look at some externally hosted alternatives. Many web hosting companies offer the ability to host a secure shopping cart these days.

My day job company runs an online store that does hundreds of thousands of dollars in business every year, spending about $900 a year on hosting. If you shop around, you can likely get hosting for a smaller store for less money. While we already had IT staff, and opted for external hosting for other reasons, for a business just starting out external hosting would be the way to go, IMHO.

And, of course, as dotnetter says - the big bucks are in the site promotion. If you're not paying an IT staff, you've got more money left for promotion, right?

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Old 5th September 2008, 10:25 AM   #4
E-Commerce Guy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andrea32145 View Post
Hi people, I have been running my own business in my hometown and Iím wishing to offer my services to a wider range of customers, so I decided to get a domain, a server and some IT staff to run an online Business. I have spent some money at the moment and I read on several sites that big businesses spend money by the million! I wonder if I also have to spend this amount of money for a site with some e-commerce tools, member base and some news. Thanks for your feedback.
Hi andrea, and congrats on taking the first step in starting your online store.

As mentioned, you can generally start selling for little or nothing. What will you be selling, exactly?

I am not too familiar with the extent of the functionality of the shopping cart solutions that were mentioned, but if you are going to run a member base (membership) site in addition to selling the e-commerce tools, you will want to look into a solution that offers recurring billing so you can keep members as long as possible.

You could ultimately get your site online, implement a third party e-commerce solution, and start earning money to spend on advertising-so your upfront out of pocket costs stay to a minimum.

Since it sounds like you already have an audience in your hometown, word-of-mouth advertising for the new site would be a great way to start to build up your member base.

What are the key ingredients you're looking for when it comes to selling your products and information online? What do you think will help you sell efficiently and effectively?

There is a lot involved when it comes to e-commerce so it's good to start by writing down what tools are important and what fits best with your business plan.

Here are a few questions to think about:
  • How do you want to sell your products and information?
  • Who is your audience? Local/Global?
  • Do you want the ability to automatically renew your customers memberships?
  • Will you need a shopping cart?
  • How/when do you want to be able to get the money you've earned?
  • Will you need people to answer billing questions? Do you have people to do that?
  • What payment options do you want to offer?
  • What other options do you want available to you?

I hope some of this stuff helps.

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Old 24th September 2008, 08:59 PM   #5
towholesale
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I started by buying a domain for 9$ , using the host of my friends, download the open source zen-cart. I think its the lowest cost in the world !

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Old 9th December 2008, 09:36 PM   #6
Josephy
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Update your site every day and improve your site PR to be 3. Then you are easier to get some backlinks.

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