Help me create the best online store for my buck?
May 28, 2010 4:24 AM   Subscribe

How do I successfully build an online store and what online tools do I use?

I want to create an online store, it will also need a way for customers to post their own products and I'm getting a little lost out there with all the information.

1. Should I depend on an online e-commerce store where I can pay them to use their products? If so then which are the best ones, I've been browsing a bit but I'd like personal opinions on this.

2. If I go with one, what are the products I need?

3. What sort of licensing of my online business do I need to do (Massachusetts, US)?

4. I noticed that some of the online stores sell both an online store product and templates separately. I also noticed that the templates seem much nicer than the standard web templates that come with the store. If I bought one of these would they automatically apply it to my entire website?

5. In order for customers to pay with a credit card or Paypal do I need to buy separate products in order to accomplish this?

6. I have a certain domain name in mind and it is available, should I purchase that on my own and have the e-commerce site host it?

A lot of these questions will involve me getting feedback from the various e-commerce options out there. I probably don't have enough expertise to build this site on my own so that's why I'm researching this as a viable option. However, I did want to get some information from people who have done it before so I can frame my questions and have a better idea on the direction I want to go in before I start making moves.
posted by modoriculous to Work & Money (2 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I am so sorry but I think we're in unicycle territory here. The questions you are asking are not mapping to a fundamental understanding of ecommerce development.

I think your best option is to find a developer, sit down and tell them what your ultimate goal is (to open an online marketplace where individual members can list and sell their products, along the lines of I'm not clear here) and let them work backwards from there to help you identify the tools and services you need to get where you want to go, step by step.
posted by DarlingBri at 10:49 AM on May 28, 2010 [2 favorites]

I'm going to agree with DarlingBri for the most part. You seem unclear as to what your ultimate goal is. In terms of e-commerce, allowing customers to list items seems like der schwerpunkt of your needs. You need to figure this out first.

One thing I do recommend regarding No. 6 on your list is that if your desired domain is available, register it immediately. If you use any of the major domain registrars you won't be limiting your options for the future. Just don't buy hosting at the same time because you aren't sure what your needs will be.

As for licensing, the State of Massachusetts provides a step-by-step guide to starting a business. IANAL, but the fact that you'll be doing business online doesn't change anything in the paperwork side of starting a business.

If all you needed was a web based catalog and payment system I'd suggest Amazon WebStore because it allows you to leverage both Amazon's marketplace to sell your goods and their payment system to protect you from fraud and help you comply with the credit card industry's security requirements. It's not really feasible to let your customers list their items on your Amazon store though.
posted by ob1quixote at 5:37 PM on May 28, 2010

« Older I think Aunt Flo is trying to kill me   |   BayAreaDrivingFilter: help me get from 237... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.