Ecommerce use to be about spending thousands of dollars on setting up your shop and hundreds of dollars on getting a merchant. My, how things have changed over the years. Now anyone with a few hundred of dollars in their pocket(or less if you have the time to learn it yourself) can have a great working ecommerce system up and running in the matter of days. This also includes the full ability to accept payments from Credit Cards, manage customers, create invoices and more.
The most cost effective ecommerce solution on the market today is Oscommerce.com . Why is it so cost effective, well because it is free. All you need to do is learn it yourself or get someone who works in the web world(a web designer or programmer) to set it up for you. This can run you anywhere’s from $500-$900, give or take a bit depending on the features you want and if you want it integrated into a custom built design. In a all in one solution you can set up products to sell, have a visitor sign up and pay via the osc(oscommerce) payment section, create an invoice for that client as well as deliver the product(if it can be transferred via email) or create a packing slip to be mailed out. These are just some of the features located in oscommerce.
Another great feature about oscommerce is that you can integrate it to fit right into your site design. If you view my site at www.Logo2D.com and click one of the links at the top(such as logo templates) you can see that it fits snugly into the design. You can customize any part of oscommerce including the buttons for the shopping cart. It is a really great program to use.
One of the hassle before with ecommerce was getting something that would process payment. Payment was a big issue as before it was very costly to get a merchant account, which usually cost around $400USD. Also you had to pay a % of every sale you made, which can really add up.
Today there are two great forms of payment that can be added to Oscommerce as your payment modules, they are Paypal.com and 2Checkout.com . These two options are a great way to go. Paypal.com is free to sign up, has over 78 Million accounts, only charges a small % of each sale/payment, can be funded by your credit card or bank account if you want to purchase something online and any sales you get you can take straight down into your bank account. Though the user does have to have a paypal account to pay you, but with 78 Million Accounts, you can see that is no problem.
2Checkout.com doesn't offer as many features in the way as you being able to purchase products offline, but it is great if someone is purchasing products off of you. It allows you to take payments via credit card and the customer doesn't even have to have a 2checkout.com account. It only takes a small % off when you take money down into your account. The only down side to 2checkout.com is that there is a one time fee of $49 to purchase a membership and they only send payment out twice a month(the middle of the month and the end of the month). So really not much of a downside at all.
So combine these three options and you can have a fully functional ecommerce website up for only a few hundreds of dollar!
Anthony Jewell has over 6 Years experience in the Web & Graphics World. You can visit my business at http://www.logo2d.com