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Simply put it means selling your goods or services online from your web site. The tricky part is knowing how to make it work for you and deciding what system to buy. There's a lot of off-the-shelf cart programs, and every one says it will offer you everything you need to get you up and running... but be careful. If you don't do some homework first, you might end up buying something that won't even run on your server.
We have been installing web stores for customers for years - after trying many systems - we now specialize in Opencart and the CGI based system from Extropia. We like these two... they are robust and allow us to configure anything to how you want it. For a simpler way to sell your products online, there are some excellent and easy to install solutions available from Paypal that don't require a complex shopping cart system on your site.
The advantage of free open source systems means that you only pay for the set up itself... while that involves laying out the pages to show your products, adding all relevant product information, configuring it to calculate shipping charges, work out applicable sales taxes, e-mail confirmation order numbers, applying any wholesale discounts, etc., etc., it's a whole lot better than having to pay for the system as well.
The BIG Pro: Makes ordering of your products easy for people anywhere in the world, 24 hours a day.
Some Cons: If you're not set up to accept credit cards already, it can be expensive to do so and eat up profits. If you want to offer safe secure credit card ordering, you'll need a secure server or an account with a third-party credit card merchant such as Authorize.Net or Paypal.
It would be easy to write a book on the subject - and several people have - so we'd rather just talk to you about selling your products online. We can tell you what we think is best... but before we even do that, take a look at the features on e-Commerce set up below and some of our e-Commerce sites for others.
Some people like us to set up their store and maintain it. Others, who know some html, find it works for them to do their own updates after we've completed the initial set up. You're not obligated to hire us every time you want to add a new item or change a price. We even offer three basic lessons to people who want to do their own updates.
The bottom line is we're flexible in our approach and will give you honest answers - as we see them - to your questions. If you like the e-Commerce sites we've set up for others, you'll love the one we'll do for you... we guarantee it.