Starting out online

Over the last few months, we’ve talked to quite a few business owners looking to sell online.  Some are just starting out, others have an existing business that aren’t supported by their existing shopping cart software.   There’s basically 3 ways to sell an item online:

  • an online marketplace like eBay, etsy or Amazon
  • using a SaaS shopping cart (e.g. Volusion, Magento Go, Shopify)
  • using a self-hosted shopping cart (osCommerce, Zencart, Magento Community/Enterprise)

Deciding which of these three options works for you best depends on:

  • the number of products / skus
  • the  present revenue generated
  • expected future revenue from the cart
  • your personal HTML / CSS / Graphic Design ability
  • and of course, your budget

It’s the balance of these three that I think pushes many smaller businesses towards the first two options, and truthfully isn’t such a bad idea.   The trick is of course reviewing your options with full knowledge of what the pro’s and con’s really are.