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Online Store 101

Shopping online is becoming more widely accepted, making the Internet an important source of revenue for any serious business-person with online store. The overhead for running an ecommerce website is low when compared with a brick and mortar storefront, and the potential rewards are many. Building an online store is not unlike building any other type of website with many of the options and their respective benefits remaining the same. Just as there are different types of content management software available, there are also different types of online stores out there for merchants to use. The prospective online store owner will face a number of options and which online store they choose will be based on their budget as well as their technical knowledge.

The Benefits of having an Online Store
Obviously, the first and most important consideration is exactly which of the many online store options a merchant will implement. The ability to inform shoppers about products and to perform transactions are the core of business and the right online store will enable this to be done quickly and efficiently. These days starting an online store is simple, with multiple user-friendly online store options available; each designed to be used by those with little or no technical knowledge. The user can implement a shopping cart and configure an online store in which they may display images and information about their products as well as upload a logo and customize colors. With the right online store, all of this can be done in a relatively short period of time.

Readymade vs Self-hosted Online store
Much like with starting a blog, an online store that is readymade and hosted will take the complicated technical tasks out of the hands of the storeowner. They will not have to worry about finding a website host or uploading the online store. They simply have to decide how they want their site to look and upload their content. Different programs provide different customization features. The handling of each step of the transaction, from such matters storing the customer's name and address to calculating shipping costs and safely handling credit card information is done by the online store itself. With a self-hosted option, store-owners must upload and configure the software themselves. They may opt for an online store that is free or they may pay for a license. The availability and quality of technical assistance varies between the different types of online stores as do the features included with the various packages.

Three Important Features of an Online store
1. Most people navigate the Internet with the help of search engines. Therefore, optimizing an online store for search engines is arguably the most important part of bringing in customers. When choosing an online store, it is important to look for one that makes search engine optimization easy.

2. Ease of configuration is another significant factor when choosing an online store. For most people, the less time they have to spend figuring out an interface, the better. There are demos available for most online store so that users can try them out before buying.

3. A support ticketing feature is an essential part of keeping customers satisfied. This feature allow users to contact the site owner with any questions and concerns they may have, whether about the site’s functionality or about a particular product. Customers like knowing that they can get in touch with a merchant regarding their issues or queries. A merchant should therefore choose an online store that allows them to do this.