In recent blog posts, I’ve talked about different ways to work from home and covered providing a service to clients, network marketing and affiliate marketing. In this post, I’ll write about the basics of setting up your own online store from home.
Becoming a retailer from home isn’t as hard as you may think. There are a lot of tools to use to set up your store and many of them are free. There are companies that will even provide you with the products to sell, handle the shipping and even process the payments from your customers for you.
How do I get started with my Online Store then?
I’m so glad you asked. The first choice to make is whether you want to set up a store on your own domain name or set up a store within someone else’s system. We’ll start with using someone else’s system.
BigCommerce.com offers a way to set up an online store whether you have your own domain name or not. They even have a 15 day free trial so you can test it before you decide to use it. Fair warning; The only thing you can evaluate in 15 days is whether or not you like their setup, not whether or not you will be successful running an online store. But they do offer support by phone and the monthly fees are low. They will process your payments for you or you can use your own payment gateway.
Ebay.com is well known for it’s easy setup for online stores. A lot of people run their own home business through eBay. Payment processing is easy.
Yahoo Stores is another option you can choose. They offer payment processing, hosting and more. There are a lot of both large and small retailers who use Yahoo as their online storefronts.
There are others to choose from. You should take a lot of time searching for more than those suggested here and find the right place for your online store. Trust your gut. Pick the one that makes you feel the most comfortable and the one that you believe will provide you the best support. Contact some of them. See if you like them before you move forward.
Jason Fitzpatrick from Lifehacker.com wrote a great blogpost here that suggests what he considers the top 5 places to set up your online store from home. The most popular choice on Jason’s blog post was using your own domain name, so I’ll cover that below.
Setting up an Online Store using your own Domain Name
First, of course you need a domain name. There is a basic guide to registering your own domain name here if you need that. Next, you need a Hosting Account for your new domain name. You can set up your web hosting account with a very reliable company here.
Once you have done those two things, you need to choose your shopping cart software. I like SunShop. My reasons are simple. Some shopping cart providers charge you every month for using their software. With Sunshop, you buy it outright for $199 here and don’t have to keep paying them. They will even help with installing it for you.
There is also a ton of features listed on this page. You can choose from a lot of templates for SunShop as well and you can edit the HTML. Most shopping carts are coded in such a way that you are limited as to how much you can change the look and feel of your online store. Not Sunshop. You can customize it any way you like. Here are some examples of how others have customized their Sunshop Stores. Here are more Sunshop Templates you can buy.
I have helped a lot of people get started with Sunshop. If you have questions or need help setting up an online store on your own domain name, contact us using this form and we’ll be happy to help.