In this lesson, let's talk about your options for E-commerce. With E-commerce, it's important to understand there are a lot of different ways to sell online. If you're just starting out, my advice would be to keep it simple. Start small with an uncomplicated way for people to buy your product and then move on to more complex options as you get a return on your investment. One option for E-commerce is to sell a single product. You just need a way for customers to pay for that product. You could use something like a PayPal Buy Now button. You simply put in your information, it creates the code for you, you add it to your Web page. You could use this to, say, sell an eBook or maybe a craft item you create or pay for a class reunion fee. There's no shopping cart needed. You just simply add the button, people hit it, and they buy your product. Now if you want to sell multiple products you want to set up an online store. One thing you can do is set up and online store that is hosted. There's many hosted solutions out there. There's things like this Volusion. There's Shopify. I could use eBay to sell my product. I could set up a quick shopping cart design on Go Daddy. Of course, we all know there's Amazon stores, Yahoo stores Ð basically all of these things provide a wizard step-by-step solution. They walk you through what you need to get your items sold. Typically, you create the store. It's hosted on their server, and you pay them a monthly fee. If you have digital items that you're wanting to sell in your store you can use something like the Fetch app. They will take your digital goods, keep them safe, and allow people to purchase them through this app. Now for these stores, the advantages are, it's really quick and fast to set them up. The disadvantage would be that monthly fee, and you have somewhat limited customization. The next type of products you can pick from are commercial and open source. Now there's many options available in both areas. Some of those products can even plug into a current system that you're using. An example of an open source product is VirtueMart. It plugs into the Joomla! content management system. There are others. There's OS Commerce, there's Zen Cart, there's Magento. You can take a look at all the open source options out there. They have demos. Then if you do find one that you really like, check to see if whoever your hosting provider is can handle that software. If you use open source you have a community that you can go to to get help from, or you can hire a freelancer that you can pay to develop that product to fit your business. Many businesses start out with open source because they don't have the finances to support a great big commercial product. And many stay with it because they can control that software. They can develop it to fit their needs. But again, if you're going to use open source you've got to have somebody who will take the time to understand the software and really work with your store. We will go through VirtueMart in detail so that you can see how an open source platform is set up. Now your other option we talked about is commercial products. DLGuard would be a commercial product that you could use to set up your store. I could use CubeCart. I could use AbleCommerce. The upside of using this type of software that's commercial paid for is that you get support. If you have problems they're going to be there to help you. And last but not least, you could do custom E-commerce development. You could have somebody develop your store to your specifications. You have to hire a developer to build it for you and do note that if you do that they are not going to be building an exact replica of Amazon. Amazon has amazing features and amazing areas that make it so easy to use. But typically that's not what you're going to get if you build your own store from scratch. So, due to all these amazing options that we have available, the majority of business owners go online and find the product that works best for them. The software that's out there now makes it so fast, so quick, efficient, and effective you don't have to know everything you need to sell online so people use these online options that are out there. We no longer have to code and program every single thing to make a site store work. This will save us so much frustration it's wonderful. So in this E-commerce course we're going to look at all the options we have available. We're going to look at selling a single product. We're going to look at these online stores. We're going to look at open source and commercial E-commerce software. Because once you've learned these different types you can adapt to any program that you select.
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