If you have read Part 1 of this series, Setting Up a New Online Business, and have set up your domain and website is complete, congratulations! The battle is almost won. Below you will learn the basic final steps to getting your ecommerce store operational.
Find an online shopping cart provider for your web store. The online shopping cart is simply a piece of software or script that runs on your website. Some shopping carts are free, while others have low monthly fees but offer additional tools. 1ShoppingCart is an excellent option that offers carts for businesses of all sizes and has incredible tools to grow your business.
When searching for shopping cart providers, it’s essential to make sure that the online shopping cart you select is compatible with a major payment gateway like Authorize.net. Once you find a shopping cart system, install it using your website’s cPanel (control panel). Most hosting providers provide technical support at no charge and can walk you through this process.
In order to actually accept credit cards, you’ll need a merchant account and payment gateway from a merchant account provider. Finding a provider is not as simple as selecting the one with the best rate, as fees between providers can vary and it’s not always apples to apples (if you’re interested in learning about rates and fees, check out this article that will give you a general overview to help you understand).
A lower rate is ideal; however, fees associated with the merchant account can push a good rate out the window. Some processing companies intentionally quote low rates as a ploy, then make up for them with service charges and hidden fees. Be sure to get rates and all applicable fees in writing from each provider and compare them prior to signing a contract. If not, an early termination fee may have you frustratingly locked into a contract.
After your online store is set up and configured how you like, you’ll be ready to start selling on your web store. When just getting started, you can likely fulfill orders yourself. As business grows, you may want to look into a fulfillment service to make your life easier.