E-Commerce – Solutions

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e-commerce optionsAre you new to this whole e-commerce thing? Check out our e-commerce basics and what to ask yourself before you get started. There are a lot of e-commerce solutions out there. Read on to pick out the right solution for you.

What Types of E-Commerce Solutions Are Available?

There are a number of e-commerce solutions available that can meet your needs, whether they are high-end, custom programs that require a staff to maintain them, easy to use with training solutions for selling from your existing site, or off-site selling options that make the process very simple.

Enterprise Computing solutions mean that you purchase hardware and software and hire a staff of developers (contract or internal) to create your e-commerce site for you. Amazon, Dell, and all other large online retailers participate in e-commerce at this level.

Who should use enterprise computing?
• You have immensely high traffic (millions of visitors per month)
• You have a large database that holds your catalog of products (especially if it changes constantly)
• You have a complicated sales cycle that requires a lot of customized forms, pricing tables, etc.
• You have other business processes already in place and you want your e-commerce offering to integrate them

Enterprise made simple options: Amazon Solutions (will do order fulfillment)

Virtual Hosting Services give you some of the flexibility of enterprise computing, but what you get depends on the vendor. In general, the vendor maintains the equipment and software and sells them in standardized packages. Part of the package includes security, and almost always a merchant account is also an option. Database access is sometimes a part of the package. You provide the web designers and developers to create and maintain your site.

Who should use Virtual Hosting?
• You want your shop to be part of your existing website
• You have any number of products that you sell regularly (you can maintain a set of items, but you may or may not carry all of them at any given time)
• You use another company to handle payment by credit or debit card

Virtual Hosting options:
• As an Opensource CMS (Content Management System): Magento, OS Commerce, Zen Cart
• As a module to an existing CMS: WordPress, Drupal, Joomla
• As an added Javascript to any website: Pay Pal, Google Checkout

Simplified e-commerce
is what most small businesses and individuals are using to get into e-commerce. In this option the vendor provides a simplified system for creating your store. The system usually involves a set of forms that you fill out online. The vendor’s software then generates all of the web pages for the store for you. You pay by the month for these services.

Who should use Simplified E-commerce?
• You may or may not have an existing website or blog
• You don’t want to handle the actual sales, but will handle shipping
• You don’t mind paying a fee to a service
• You want the exposure that is offered by a popular external source

Simplified e-commerce options:
• Handmade marketplace: ETSY
• Auction and Marketplace: Amazon, Ebay
• Hosted monthly solutions: Shopify, Yahoo Stores

With so many options, it may be difficult to choose the right one for you. Let Alphabetix help you pick the best e-commerce solution for your business needs.

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