Online Store Recommendations?

Discussion in 'Website Development & Design' started by NathanN, Oct 28, 2009.

  1. NathanN

    NathanN
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    Hey guys,
    I am new here and new to online business so get ready for all the FNG questions.
    Here is the scenario: I have a business idea that will be an online retail store (medium amount of product that vary in price, shape, weight, etc but expect less than $5k/month in sales for the first three years). It is SUPER niche but I have a product line, marketing strategy, and the majority of a business plan written.

    Here comes the hard part, I have NO idea how to go about setting up an online store. I have read several books and a little online but seem to just add to the list of options. What experience does anyone have with setting up an online store? Would it be best to go through someone like Ebay Prostores or Yahoo! or should I get into something like SBI and learn to design everything myself. I have 10 hours a week to work on this and would like to have the website functional by the end of the year. I want my website to be of high quality as it will be my storefront but cannot spend a ton of money on a website designer.

    I need to be able to add/remove/change products very easily and would like as many features as possible for a low price. I would like to inbed video in the online store, have a blog, have an large or unlimited # of products, etc. I will probably use PayPal unless I find another easy and reputable merchant service.

    Anybody who has any experience with online stores (Ebay, Yahoo, Vendido) or SBI type of website designing I would welcome your input. If nothing else some suggestions on a reputable and creative web designer that could sell me a template that I could just plug my brand, products, etc into.

    Wow, alot of info there but I figured you would need some of this to offer any kind of relevant info. Thanks in advance for your help here.

    Nathan
     
  2. sajjad.axe

    sajjad.axe
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    Nathan , i feel based on ur requirement open ur own web site and link them with others , wigix offered this option , pls check
     
  3. Fergal

    Fergal
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    Welcome to Business Advice Forum Nathan and thanks for asking your business questions. My first suggestion is that you try not to do all this yourself. The fact that you haven't done it before would mean that it would take up a lot of your time to set the store up, probably distracting you from more important things you could be doing for your business.

    Yahoo Merchant Services and eBay stores are working very successfully for a lot of business. You can view a video on how the Yahoo option works here. They are a great option to get your store up and running, if you don't have the skills to do it yourself. There are other members with more experience in this area than me and hopefully some of them will also reply.

    Have you considered outsourcing your website build to a web designer who could handle everything on your behalf? A web developer could use an off the shelf e-commerce software package (such as osCommerce) so you would not have to pay for them to custom build a site for you.

    Please post back with your thoughts and we will do our best to help you and point you in the right direction.
     
  4. NathanN

    NathanN
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    Feral, I think you are right. I should not try to do all this myself. I would like to concentrate on marketing and running my business. That said I really do want to keep costs low. I am selling a very niche product to consumers who are very set in their ways (not my product) so my profits will be small for the first year or more.
    Also, thanks for the info on Yahoo and Ebay. I also hope the members with more experience chime in here. These options seem pretty straight forward but I need some input from people who have used them.
    In response to your web designer query: Yes I have considered it but there are so many options that I feel overwhelmed. Some direction on this would be very helpful. Again, cost is a big factor and as I will already be paying hefty fees through PayPal I would like to minimize all other profit reducing activities. Also I need to be able to add/remove/change products myself and fear that handing over my website to someone else would make it impossible to operate by myself.
    Again, thank you for any advice in this area and for your warm welcome.:)
     
  5. kiatsiang

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    You means you want some advice from those seller that setup ebay store before? Almost all the ebay buyer can sell something in ebay, the options and setup of the items, price and description is pretty straight forward, no hassle on doing that. But take notes that ebay will charge services fees on some items you sell there. I am not really doing much selling in ebay, but just set it up to sell some used items that i will never used anymore. I advices you if you plan to sell anything, do a research in ebay first about the similiar items that you sell at ebay, analysis their price, before setting bidding price or sell price. You can also get some supplier from ebay for some high demand items that you may interest to resell it. You can sell the item to particular region members too. Another important tips is to find a good local courrier services from your country, get a good deal on it, then you can sell you items with low shipping cost where most buyer is looking for. You have to try then you will know.
     
  6. Fergal

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    Nathan as a first step I'd suggest that you find some online stores that you like. They don't necessarily have to be selling the same type of product of you, just do some searches on the web and pick out a couple of examples of online stores with a site design and functionality that you would like for your own site. Then have a contact some website designers in your local area and arrange to meet them to discuss your requirements. You should be able to find designers on the Internet or in your local telephone book.

    Once you have found examples of stores that you like and had an initial chat with local designers you should have a much better understanding of what is possible and the associated costs.

    Another option that you might consider is that you don't set up a store at all, instead agree deals with existing online businesses, whereby they would sell your products on a commission basis. This would save you from the set up costs and you would only have to pay them when they actually make a sale. Do you think this could work for you?

    Selling your products on Amazon might even work for you.

    You might find it helpful to look through these similar threads here on Business Advice Forum;

    How much for a great E-Commerce?
    I want to start my own online business.?
    How can i start a online business selling products?
    Ecommerce hosting vs Shared hosting

    As always please post back with your thoughts and we will do our best to help you.
     
  7. realitybites.in

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    I would recommend this script
    http://www.magentocommerce.com/
    for your online store
    and u can also use http://www.silverstripe.org/ , http://wordpress.com/ and http://www.joomla.org/ etc

    Magento is best for online store where u can update ur product information easily

    and script like silverstripe , wordpress , joomla etc
    u need to have certain plugines ...to make it like online store ....and u can use it as cma ..and also have blog

    i would recommend to using Magento or Silverstripe

    i personally very much impressed with Silverstripe

    Where u can have blog , forum , online stores , and many things in a signal script

    if u are planing to sell it through ebay or amazon ...then it a good move
     
  8. junglekid

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    Oscommerce offers an excellent free script for online stores. The main website is http://www.oscommerce.com but you can see a demo store at http://demo.oscommerce.com/.

    More than 12 thousand live online stores use this script and the best thing: you can have support and help directly from the users forum.
     
  9. NathanN

    NathanN
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    Thanks guys for you input again. I did more reading and looked into more options. I am thinking I will probably go with Ebay Prostores right now but will be talking to a web designer as well. I liked the idea of Oscommerce (as it is free), but might want to pay a little more to have a site that looked a more like a custom designed website. Thanks again for your input and will get back sooner next time. It was a rough Halloween :D
     
  10. Fergal

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    Thanks for the update NathanN, I'm glad to hear you are making some progress. Please do post back again to let us know how things are working out for you or if you feel that there is anything else we can help you with.

    I know what that's like. It can take a while to recover :)
     
  11. magician661

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