An online store is a great way to capture your customers at the time they are interested (even if that is 2am in the morning!). Unlike a conventional 'bricks & mortar' store your customers can purchase from you at the time most convenient for them, and often the cost of selling to them is reduced from the standard overheads you might otherwise experience with a conventional retail outlet.
With an online store you can offer promotions, coupon codes, discounts etc very simply. Ecommerce shopping carts allow you to configure many different promotions and offer great reporting for you to measure how effective your promotion has been. You can also highlight 'recommended' or complimentary products, what other customers bought, product wish lists and so much more!
Things to consider...
There are a few things you will need to consider when deciding on whether to set up an online store;
- Payment - how do you want your customers to pay for their goods? PayPal is often a great starting point, but their are other options such as Eway that will also allow you to take payments. If you want to use your bank, you will need to see if your account allows internet transactions.
- Shipping - will your products be sold with free shipping, flat rate shipping or based on weight/cubic volume. If you are selling large bulky items you may need to establish an account with a shipping/courier company
- Overseas sales - will you ship to countries outside of your own? If so do you want to accept payment in different currencies? Will you need your site translated to another language?
Ecommerce Shopping Carts
Depending on the number of items you have to sell and whether selling these items is your core business or a secondary purpose for your site, will help determine the best ecommerce shopping cart for your needs.
For a simple cart that is serving as a complimentary part of the website Silverstripe may be sufficient. However should you require promotions, discounts, recommended products etc products such as Magento and Open Cart may be better suited. These shopping carts allow for many features and detailed reporting on customer history and sales.