How to Set Up Your Own Online Store

Last week, we discussed about services that enabled you to sell digital products online. Today, we’re going to be looking at how you can sell a physical product online.

The process for selling physical products involves a bit more effort because the product cannot be delivered online. You need to have an online store set up where you can sell the product. And once the customer purchases the product, you have to be intimated, so you can ship the product to the them.

There are two ways to set up an online store for physical products – your own store front, or a third party platform.

Your Own Store Front Option

In this option, you install a shopping cart software onto your web host as a separate sub-domain. For example, if your website’s domain is bestproducts.com, the store can be store.bestproducts.com.

The advantage of having your own store front is that you have full control over the look and feel of the store. You can also imprint on customers the branding that comes along with your main website. As the store is tied to your blog/website, you can continue the user interaction and connect with customers well.

There are several softwares and plugins available online that enable you to set up your store from your website itself.

WordPress Plugins:

These WordPress plugins make it very easy to turn your blog/website into an online store. You can pick one that best suits your requirements.

WooCommerce

WooCommerce

WooCommerce is a free WordPress plugin that helps you transform your WordPress site to an online store. It enables you to also create shipping rules and configure local tax rates. They also provide premium extensions at reasonable rates to improve your online store.

Jigoshop

Jigoshop

Jigoshop is another popular free WordPress eCommerce plugin. It allows you to create your online store using in-built widgets and shortcodes. They also sell premium themes and extensions to improve the interface and functionality of your online store. Check out a demo store here.

Online Softwares

These are external shopping cart softwares that can be installed onto your web host, that will transform your website into a complete eCommerce platform.

Zen Cart

Zen Cart

Zen Cart is a very popular, free, user-friendly, open source shopping cart software. This is a complete shopping cart solution that can be easily installed on your site, even if you don’t have advanced technical knowledge.

OSCommerce

OSCommerce

OSCommerce is another open source software that allows you to set up your very own online store website for free. This service has been around for about 12 years and it’s still going strong. They also provide over 7000 add-ons to enhance your online store. Check out the demo store here.

Third Party Platform Option

In this option, you use an external platform to create your online store. You can either set up your own store on an external marketplace or go with a fully hosted option.

Online Store in a Marketplace

There are several online marketplaces that allow you to create your own stores. So, your customers can be directed to the portion of the marketplace that is solely yours. Examples of marketplaces that allow you to create your own store are CafePress, Doba and Zazzle. Below are two more popular options.

Etsy

Etsy

Etsy is a popular online marketplace where you can create your own store and sell just about any of your products. There is no membership fee to join Etsy, but it costs $0.20 to list an item for 4 months. And they also take 3.5% of the sale price once your product is sold. Check out a sample store here.

Folksy

Folksy

Folksy is a UK based online marketplace where you can create your own store and sell any craft products. They have a basic pay as you go plan which costs £0.15 for each item listed and 6% sales commission. If you plan to have a lot of items stocked in your store, then you can go for the premium plan which is £45 per year and 6% sales commission. Check out a sample store here.

Fully Hosted Online Stores

This is a slightly higher priced option, but if your only desire is to have a site solely for selling physical products, you can go with the fully hosted version. There are online services that allow you to create you shop there and they will take care of the hosting also.

Shopify

Shopify

Shopify is a complete hosted solution to create your own online store. You just have to choose a website design, customize your online store, add your products, and start selling them online. You can have your own custom domain and utilize the full fledged support they provide to get started. Plans start at $14 per month + a 2% transaction fee for a limited number of products. You can utilize their 14 day free trial to see the features they provide. Check out the sample stores here.

Magento Go

Magento Go

Magento Go is a hosted eCommerce solution for small businesses. You can completely customize the look and feel of your store and set it up with a custom domain name. They don’t charge a transaction fee, and the monthly charges range from $15 – $125. They also offer a free 30 day trial with a fully functional store – no credit card required.

I hope you find this list of online services helpful in creating your own online store. Which do you feel would best suit your business needs?