E-Commerce has fast become a major part of every day consumerism and is now ingrained into daily life. Just as traditional brick and mortar companies like Macy’s and Target are household names, companies such as Amazon and eBay have also become household names and are often the go to for when you are looking to purchase just about anything. It is estimated that worldwide E-Commerce were at $1.25 trillion in the year 2013 which was a 26% increase from the previous year. 80% of the online population has used the Internet to make a purchase and 50% of the online population has purchased more than once in their lifetime. In the United States, E-Commerce is predicted to top $434 billion by 2017.
With trends like this, E-Commerce presents a massive revenue generating opportunity for just about any business with very low cost of entry and GreenGeeks can help you start an online store in less than an hour.
GreenGeeks is a web hosting provider that provides individuals, developers and small businesses web presence tools and services, including e-commerce solutions that will help you start and have your online store flourish to help you generate more sales for your business. For as little as $3.96 per month, you will be equipped to run a fully functioning online store.
I will now go into detail how you can start an online store using GreenGeeks as your E-Commerce partner.
1. Selecting your domain name & hosting package.
- Domain Name: A domain name will allow online shoppers to find your website. For example, if you sold leather jackets, you could use the domain name (if available) www.leatherjacketstore.com. If you already have a brand, you can use that as your domain name too. Be creative, but stay on point. Use the KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) principle. When you purchase web hosting through GreenGeeks, your domain name registration is free. If you already have a domain name registered elsewhere, we can transfer it to us free as well.
- Hosting Package: There are a multitude of hosting options available to you with GreenGeeks ranging from our Shared Hosting to advanced Dedicated hosting solutions. For starters, I recommend that you start with our shared hosting service. It will provide you all the tools and services you need to start your online store with the lowest cost of entry. From there as you grow your online store, our hosting experts will be able to assist you in accommodating the growth of your online store.
To sign up for your e-commerce ready hosting plan, click here. Once you’ve selected your domain name and have signed up for hosting, continue reading on.
2. SSL (Secure Socket Layer) Setup
It is standard that when dealing with customer information and potentially payment information that you will need to setup an SSL certificate on your domain name/hosting package. Not only will this encrypt the data that is transmitted between your website and the customer across the Internet, but it will also make you legitimate in the eyes of the customer, provide safety to the customer and as a result actually increase sales on your online store. This will cost you $50/year in addition to your web hosting package. You can contact our support to enable this feature on your account.
3. Payment Gateways
Unless you plan to offer your products for free, you’re going to want to be able to collect money via credit card or via PayPal which are the two most popular payment options that customers utilize when making a purchase online. GreenGeeks works with e-OnlineData to provide our customers with discounted merchant accounts via Authorize.net, a popular payment gateway supported by all of the online store platforms that we offer. You will be able to accept Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express on your website. Learn more about obtaining your merchant account. You will also have PayPal as an option and is fully supported by the online store platforms offered by GreenGeeks. You can sign up for a PayPal account on their website.
4. Selecting your E-Commerce Online Store Software Platform
There are a lot of e-commerce software platforms available, some are are paid and some are absolutely free. With GreenGeeks you can use either a paid product or a free product. In fact, we make it exceptionally easy to install free shopping carts with our pre-loaded 1-click installer feature. Below I’ve listed some of the most popular online shopping cart software platforms that you will be able to install and use.
- OpenCart – (Documentation) OpenCart is an open source PHP-based online shopping cart system. A robust e-commerce solution for Internet merchants with the ability to create their own online business and participate in e-commerce at a minimal cost. OpenCart is designed feature rich, easy to use, search engine friendly and with a visually appealing interface.
- PrestaShop – (Documentation) PrestaShop e-Commerce Solution was built to take advantage of essential Web 2.0 innovations such as dynamic AJAX-powered features and next-generation ergonomy. PrestaShop guides users through your product catalog intelligently and effortlessly, turning intrigued visitors into paying customers.
- Magento – (Documentation) Magento is an Open Source ecommerce web application launched on March 31, 2008. It was created by Varien, building on components of the Zend Framework.
- ZenCart – (Documentation) Zen Cart truly is the art of e-commerce; free, user-friendly, open source shopping cart software. The ecommerce web site design program is being developed by group of like-minded shop owners, programmers, designers, and consultants that think ecommerce web design could be and should be done differently.
- AbanteCart – (Documentation) Abante Cart is a free PHP based eCommerce solution for merchants to provide ability creating online business and sell products online quick and efficient. AbanteCart application is built and supported by experienced enthusiasts that are passionate about their work and contribution to rapidly evolving eCommerce industry. AbanteCart is more than just a shopping cart, it is rapidly growing eCommerce platform with many benefits.
Installing any of the shopping carts above is easy. Simply log into your control panel, click on the Softaculous icon and then click on E-Commerce. You’ll see the different software options. Simply click install. If you have any issues with installing the software, contact our support and they’ll be more than happy to walk you through the process.
Once you’ve installed the software, you’ve essentially have now started your very own online store. You’ll have to tinker with the options that are available to you, but from inside the administrative areas you will be able to add products, view customers, view orders and pretty much anything you could ever imagine. Each of the platforms have detailed documentation on how to do each of these functions, including the initial setup of your payment gateways, shipping and tax details. I have included the links to the documentation in the above list.
If you prefer to speak to one of our e-commerce hosting experts, don’t hesitate to contact us.