Want your own online store? Creating one from scratch is a real challenge. Fortunately, major Web sites offer one-stop e-commerce solutions. This helps take the hassle out of developing an online store.
For a monthly fee these sites will host your store. You don’t need to worry about programming computer code. Built-in software helps you list products and fulfill orders. And customers will find it easy to buy your products online.
For $60 monthly you can open an Amazon WebStore. Payment processing is included. You pay a 7 percent fee on sold items.
You can promote your products with Amazon’s reviews and ratings. Need more items for your store? List Amazon products and earn commissions.
You also get antifraud, order and inventory management tools. And your store integrates with Amazon’s fulfillment services.
If you already have an online store, consider joining Amazon Marketplace. You’re listed as a seller on product pages. Amazon handles payment processing.
Listing items is free, but you pay 99 cents per transaction. Commission costs range from 6 percent to 15 percent. There’s also a variable closing fee.
High-volume sellers should become Pro Merchants. For $40 monthly, you can list products in bulk. And you can create product pages for items not listed on Amazon. You also get an Amazon storefront, and the 99-cent transaction fee is waived.
Yahoo Merchant Solutions
Yahoo offers three types of stores ranging from $40 to $300 monthly. Your domain name is included, but there’s a $50 setup fee. Transaction fees range from 0.75 percent to 1.5 percent.
Each level is optimized by projected monthly sales. For example, if you sell less than $12,000 monthly, open a Starter store ($40). For greater sales or advanced features, Yahoo offers Standard ($100) and Professional ($300) stores.
Whichever you choose, wizards help you design your store and add products. You can upload a product database if you have one. You can list up to 50,000 products.
You’ll get a shopping cart and encrypted payment pages. However, you’ll need to find a payment-processing system. Yahoo suggests a couple of vendors.
You’ll be able to integrate your site with accounting and inventory management software.
Additional tools help you manage inventory and calculate shipping.
There are tools to help reduce fraud. For example, you can block suspect customers.
Stores offered on eBay’s ProStores range from $7 to $250 monthly. You get a varying amount of traffic and storage space.
With Express stores ($7), you pay 1.5 percent per transaction. Other stores are Business ($30), Advanced ($75) or Enterprise ($250).
There’s a 0.5 percent transaction fee for each.
Each store includes a setup wizard and professionally designed templates. All but Express can be customized with third-party programs.
Express stores are limited to 10 products. The other stores are not limited.
You’ll get a shopping cart and encrypted checkout pages. You can get help calculating shipping and tax.
You can use PayPal or your own payment processing system. You’ll get help organizing, managing and tracking your inventory.
Before signing up for a store, read the fine print. Make sure you understand how customer data will be used. And look for marketing tools.
Just because you build the store doesn’t mean people will come.
Kim Komando hosts a talk radio show about consumer electronics, computers and the Internet at noon Saturdays on KFYI (550 AM). To listen to the podcast, visit www.komando.com/listen. Sign up for her free weekly e-mail newsletter at www.komando.com/newsletters.