Expand Your Online Business to an Online Storefront - dummies

Expand Your Online Business to an Online Storefront

By Greg Holden

Connecting with customers one on one from several approaches is how smaller sellers, businesses, and service providers compete with bigger businesses. Successful online businesses have a website, a blog, a Facebook page (or some other kind of social marketing presence), and one or more storefronts.

An online storefront is a site you don’t own yourself. It’s one you set up with a marketplace that charges you a monthly fee for e-commerce hosting. Those hosts (maybe big marketplaces, like eBay and Amazon.com) let you sell all kinds of merchandise. Other storefronts are set up for people who sell a particular kind of item and attract people who are looking for that type of product or service. For instance:

  • Etsy is set up for handmade arts and crafts

  • Ruby Lane offers antiques and collectibles

  • Abebooks sells used books

After you create your own website, why should you open another storefront on someone else’s site and pay additional fees? Here’s why:

  • Storefronts give you a ready-made set of potential customers. A site like eBay, with millions of visitors a month, is bound to bring some eyeballs to your sales catalog.

  • Storefronts can be personalized and set up quickly. Your storefront will be up and running before you know it because the platform work (all the behind the scenes programming stuff) was already done by someone else. Storefronts come with all the essentials you need to do business online: a shopping cart, shipping system, a way to accept credit card payments securely, and so on.

  • You can connect with other merchants on the same site. Within the user community, you can talk to and consult with them about the site, the general state of commerce, or other issues and concerns.