So you’ve decided decided to take your store to the next level and explore opportunities in e-commerce?
There are a lot of options for getting your store online. You can start from scratch and pay a web design firm to build you a brand-new web store or you can take advantage of the technology platform that industry leaders in e-commerce are offering. Companies such as eBay, Amazon and Yahoo! offer already designed solutions that handle the most tedious parts of e-commerce: credit card processing, security issues, ability to handle large amounts of traffic and orders. I advise all of my clients to invest in a web store that has already been built. I don’t believe in re-inventing the wheel and I don’t believe that any web development or design company hired will be able to reproduce what Amazon.com has already produced and is successful with.
On the face value let’s look at it from just a cost perspective.
If you hire a web development firm to create a new web store for your business, you can expect to pay $4000-$5000 easily. You may have some web development companies that offer it for less, but you get what you pay for in those instances. Not to mention you’re stuck with that technology. Two years from now, if the web takes a new turn in web browsers, video, computers, etc. then your website is still going to be a website that was built two years ago, unless you pay the company to come back and redesign the website again.
If you pay Amazon, Yahoo!, or eBay to build your web store and you build your website on top of their already proven technology, you can expect your business to pay around $40-$60 a month on average. Compute the costs and you’ll find that you’ll pay approximately $600-$700 per year to host your store on a state of the art platform. This solution is cheaper, more efficient and the most flexible.
Flexibility in business technology is worth its weight in gold. You’re not going to be stuck with an outdated website in 3 to 4 years. Amazon, Yahoo! and eBay are going to continually update their web design and web architecture for your store.
The System That Jack Built.
The last thing any business wants is to pay advertising costs, drive a customer into the store, the customer is ready to buy, has the money in hand, but can’t make the transaction because the cash register is down. That is a nightmare for the business and it can’t happen in an efficient business.
You may find an excellent web designer or web developer that can put your website together for minimal costs, but can this web developer be 100% sure that his technology is 100% failsafe?
Take into account the amount of money lost by an order not processing correctly: now multiply that by just one order a day for a year. That kind of loss starts to add up. What if the website they build experiences a glitch and your website goes down during the night. Customers are ready to buy, but your website is down. These are unnecessary costs and it takes away from your business efficiency.
A Quick Overview of Each Web Store.
Yahoo! Small Business Merchant Solutions
As of October 2009 Yahoo! Merchant solutions hosts more top 500 Internet retailers that any other e-commerce provider. They offer design tools where you can create the store yourself with easy-to-use tools or you can hire developer to developer site for you on their platform. Adding products to your web store is extremely easy, Yahoo has a product Wizard that guides you through this process. You have the ability to accept credit and debit and PayPal payments. You also have the ability to measure your success with reporting capabilities offered to you by Yahoo!
Web store by Amazon
Amazon offers a simple easy solution to creating your own store. The technology offered to your store is the same technology that powers Amazon.com, therefore very reliable.
Amazon sets themselves apart in one category: the ability to allow product recommendations, customer reviews and recently viewed items. Amazon.com increase their sales every day with this technology. How many times have you been on Amazon.com looking for particular book and found another book that you wanted too? This is because Amazon uses product recommendation technology to target customers interests. This technology would cost several thousand dollars alone to add to your website.
Amazon offers the ability to put your products in Amazon’s marketplace. Already millions of people are viewing Amazon.com and searching for products, they will have the opportunity to view your products in the Amazon search feature.
eBay’s Pro Stores
Pro stores also offers easy e-commerce storefronts: built in templates and custom designs. What sets ProStores apart is the built in inventory and order management tools they offer. EBay has this down to a science and you’ll receive that benefit if you host with ProStores.
A few other recommendations:
People want to know they can trust your business. Features like PayPal give the customer the option of not giving their credit card number to the merchant is a big plus.
Features such as SSL security certificates provide some comfort to customers.
Registering with or making it known through your web store that your business is registered with the Better Business Bureau is a big help.
The number one reason that customers don’t buy from a web store that has the product at the price they want is for fear of fraud or the theft of their credit card numbers.
Now that you have this information you will be better informed about making decisions about putting your store online. Hope this helps, if you have any questions about Small Business Consulting [http://www.thesmartcio.com] or Small Business Web Design feel free to contact me on my website [http://www.thesmartcio.com].
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