How to build an online shop
Either way you’ll need to host your solution somewhere. This is an extra cost and if you have to pay for hosting it may make sense to use your ISP’s solution (if it offers one), but look at its capabilities. We review 1&1’s extensive offering in this feature, but there are many others.
These type of products always have limitations which may or may not affect you, but bear in mind these limitations often boil down to your inability to “code around”. All you can do is email the company about the limitation and hope it’s sorted in the next version.
If you want to dip your proverbial toe into selling on the internet you could use online shops such as Ebay and Amazon where the costs are directly related to the amount of business you do. That isn’t to say this way of doing business is only for small traders, far from it: many larger traders benefit from traffic through Ebay, but these customers are looking for a product, not for your company in particular, so their loyalty won’t be that great.
However, if your company already has a brand or recognisable name that customers are going to find you by, then there’s no substitute for having your own online shop with a proper way of handling online transactions. This gives your prospective customers the impression that you’re serious about your online shop and hence serious about your online customers.
If you’re only going to sell a few items that don’t change much then adding a PayPal button to your website may be an easy solution (we even explain the code to do it opposite). You can even sell via your own blog. But most companies need a little more than this.
Do you need full order processing so you can handle the orders in a professional fashion? Do you expect a large volume of orders? Does your site bring the number and type of visitors that you need to sell your products or would you be better setting up shop in a site such as Amazon or Ebay? These are all questions you have to consider.
For example, we’ve heard a business wanting to sell high-prestige goods suggesting that it only uses PayPal on its website. While this would be one solution, it doesn’t give the right impression about the size and professionalism of your company to your customers who might spend several hundred pounds.
Selling on the internet is becoming more and more competitive. The rewards can be great but you need to give it as much thought as you would setting up a shop in the high street.
The simplest way to start handling payments over the internet is probably via PayPal. Users can pay for goods from their own PayPal account or via credit card. Selling using PayPal can be as simple as putting an HTTP form on a page with your item to sell, something like: