The first step in setting up an online store on your website is to make a checklist of what you will need:
1. Shopping Cart software to organize and categorize the products you are selling and to upload product images. Your visitors will be able to add products to their shopping cart, and the cart will organize check out and payment. You can use services like PayPal which have their shopping cart tied into their merchant services, or you can use a shopping cart which ties into your web site’s look and feel. GreenGeeks offers several free shopping carts like Zen Cart, OS Commerce, and CubeCart via Fantastico. You can also purchase a shopping cart if there is one that you prefer.
GreenGeeks cannot provide direct support for third-party programs. Please consult the shopping cart website or user manuals for details on configuration and use.
2. An SSL (Secure Socket Layer) certificate is the primary method for making online transactions secure so that neither your customer’s information nor your company’s information can be accessed through the transaction. Using an SSL certificate also allows you to change your site from HTTP to HTTPS, so your customers know they are purchasing through a secure connection.
3. A Dedicated IP address may also be necessary for your e-commerce store. Depending on the merchant account (see below) that you choose, a dedicated IP address may be required. The dedicated IP address is another way your visitors are protected, as no other web sites can use that IP address. GreenGeeks is a shared environment, so by default, your account is assigned a shared IP. You can purchase a dedicated IP address for your e-commerce store through GreenGeeks for as little as $48 per year. Many people also purchase a dedicated IP address to help with their SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
4. A Payment Gateway facilitates communication between your shopping cart and a payment processing system, allowing you to take credit cards and other payment options online. A popular option is Paypal which allows shoppers to pay with their credit cards or Paypal funds. Paypal also provides a merchant account (see below) to process transactions and collect payments. Read more about payment gateways.
5. A Merchant Account, also known as payment processing or credit card processing, is the last piece of your store set up. It’s also the most important, as it is where you receive your payments. In most cases, you will work with a bank to establish a merchant account. Check with a bank you already use to find out what they require to open a merchant account. Read more about merchant accounts.
Perhaps the easiest way to get started with an all-in-one solution is to set up your online store through your PayPal account. PayPal provides a payment gateway, shopping cart buttons, merchant account, and a secure connection.
If you have a very large or popular online store you may find yourself in need of a larger hosting plan. GreenGeeks offers VPS hosting for larger, busier websites.
Please let us know if you have any questions and good luck with your online store.