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7 magic steps to create an Online Store

December 5th, 2011
Create an online store

As far as the Internet is penetrating into every house, sellers begin to understand all the importance of online business. Many people don't want to go anywhere to shop because it's now possible to get all you need without leaving a seat.

If you finally came to an idea to create an online store, here are 7 magic steps you need to take. If you need help in any step, don't hesitate to contact us. We are ready to help you every step of the way and that's a promise.

1. Choose Content Management System (CMS)

The first step in building an online store is choosing the e-commerce system which will allow to administrate your business, manage products, control selling process, etc.

There are a lot of CMS, both free and commercial, different and alike, each with their own advantages. As a rule, you can see advantages only after trying a certain CMS at work, as every person has his own vision of comfort and necessary functionality. But there are must-have items for every online store such as Product Categories, Product Options, Product Features, etc. When choosing a CMS, pay attention to how many products and categories you can create and how easy you can set up product features. Besides, there are several useful characteristics of a good CMS - promotional tools, statistics about different store processes, sales report, automatic inventory tracking, etc. On this basis we can highlight two CMS which offer more possibilities than others:

Magento (http://www.magentocommerce.com/)

Demo: http://www.magentocommerce.com/demo

CS-Cart (http://www.cs-cart.com/)

Demo: http://www.cs-cart.com/demo-item.html

* Our Company is an authorized reseller of CS-Cart Professional offering it at a cheaper price than the original developer. You can view our offer here.

We are conducting an independent research which aims to find the best CMS. Of course, all researches of this kind are a bit subjective, that's why the best way to find your own CMS is to try different systems as work. Good CMS always offer demo site where you can try it.

2. Choose payment methods

Second, but very important step is choosing a payment method you will use to get payments from your customers. Again, there are lots of available payment methods and you should choose your own depending on your location and preferences. If a payment method you prefer is already integrated in some CMS, it's a good deal.

The most popular payment methods which are compatible almost with all CMS are as follows:

Paypal (http://www.paypal.com/)

2CO (http://www.2checkout.com/)

Google Checkout (http://checkout.google.com)

Authorize.net (http://www.authorize.net/)

Providers of these payment methods take commissions for their service but it's worth paying because their reputation allows you to be sure that your customers won't be cheated.

3. Choose shipping methods

If you sell goods that require shipping to a customer, you should think about a shipping method. No problem if you sell goods within your city only, but if your goal is the whole country or even international business you have to get to know the most reliable shipping companies. Here are some of them:

FedEx (http://www.fedex.com) 

UPS (http://www.ups.com/)

USPS (https://www.usps.com/) 

InterShipper (http://www.intershipper.net) 

Swiss Post (http://www.swisspost.com)  

DHL (http://www.dhl.com) 

Postes Canada (http://www.canadapost.ca/) 

Australia Post (http://drc.edeliver.com.au/)

You can safely consider these shipping companies because their reputation is a good value for money.

4. Custom development works

You've chosen CMS, payment and shipping methods and you seem to be completely satisfied but after examining all functions you will probably decide to change something, be it adding some features or necessity to integrate some payment or shipping method which is not provided by default. Whatever it be, it requires custom development. Some sellers come to this step right after testing a preferable CMS, others - after starting up an online shop. Early or late but everybody faces custom development service.

Many companies specializing on certain e-commerce platforms will be glad to offer such service. Our company is not an exclusion.

5. Create and integrate new design

Your on-line store has already a fully-featured body and now you need to give it a face. In order to create nice, eye-catching design you obviously need to find a designer with «tasty» portfolio. Once the design layout is ready, it requires integration into your CMS. It means the layout must be turned into HTML format and must be adjusted to your system. It's not as easy as it seems. Integration process supposes adjustments for different browsers, it requires time and effort but an experienced layout designer can perfectly do this job. Our team is ready to help you with design and integration process (see our portfolio).

6. Choose a Web Hosting Company and a Domain name

Choosing a web host and domain name is a very important step. A web hosting company provides you with a place for your online shop where all files are stored and all actions happen. There are lots of hosting providers. The following ones are among the most popular:

SiteGround (http://www.siteground.com/)

JaguarPC (http://www.jaguarpc.com/)

Go Daddy (http://www.godaddy.com/)

Domain name is the name of your store in the web. For example, to get to the internationally popular on-line store Amazon, you should enter http://www.amazon.com/ in your browser window. Many hosting companies will register the domain name for you but you can certainly invent your own name. Of course, the most catching and easy-to-remember names are already taken. But one's imagination has no limits, and you always can pick something suitable. We recommend to use the following service www.domainname.com/domainchecker.php to check the availability of a domain name.

7. Advertise and promote your on-line store

Congratulations! Your on-line store is created, it has a fully-featured body with a nice face , descriptive name and even a «home» location. You are ready to start selling but here is one more important step to take. You should necessary advertise and promote your shop to attract customers, otherwise all your efforts can go down the drain.

Promotion is obviously a huge separate topic for discussion. Some people promote their e-business themselves, others trust this process to marketing companies. Anyway, it's up to you to decide.



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