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August 20, 2014 View Original Article

How to Set Up an Online Store

by Melinda Young

on August 20, 2014

Transient

The world has changed, and the opportunity for creating your own business is easier than ever. There are a number of options for retail owners who want to open up shop, and they are no longer limited to a brick-and-mortar store with overhead expenses, high marketing costs and staffing needs. With several storefront options available, you can take control of your inventory and create a business from the comfort of your own home, even without computer experience or a retail background. By taking advantage of the surge in internet shopping and the ease with which it can be done, you can achieve your own goals for selling a product and generating an income at the same time.

Your website will be the face of your company. Your clients won’t have the ability to see your winning personality or work with your friendly sales team, so the site should work in your favor. There are several options for a storefront, and each one has positives and negatives to their overall usage.

E-Commerce Solutions

Whereas e-commerce marketplaces are sites that feature multiple listings from a large number of sellers, the following e-commerce platform providers host customizable, standalone storefronts that are separate from other sellers’ listings. They allow for branded and unique online shops specific only to your company. But while this is better from both a branding and aesthetic perspective, a personal store often comes at a higher price that its marketplace alternatives.

Squarespace

More than simply an e-commerce platform, Squarespace features templates for entire sites, with e-commerce being just one of its many options. If you’re just starting out, Squarespace is a great resource that lets you build your site(s) and integrate them with an e-commerce storefront. Its sites come with search engine optimization, social media integration, analytics and 24/7 customer support. Squarespace offers a 14-day free trial, and pricing starts as low as $8 per month and tops off at $24 per month. One of its main disadvantages when compared with other options is its lack of open-source coding, which limits its customization.

See Melinda's other suggestions on Quickbooks.Intuit.com!