Seven Required Elements of a Home Business E-Commerce Package

By: Frederic Thomson

Does managing your own e-commerce business sound appealing to you? Remain in the comfort of your home. Spend more time with your family. Be your own boss. The benefits of having a home business are numerous. That is why so many people are trying to determine what the best home businesses are. Being enthusiastic about igniting their own income through the Internet, people search to find how they can create their own home based business income opportunities. Then they realize there are an awful lot of options to choose from. So, what is the best e-commerce package for you? When it comes to e-commerce packages, most online merchants have the same basic needs. The trick is to make sure an e-commerce package satisfies your needs. You should try to find something that will be easy to use to increase your chances of sticking with it and becoming successful.
Some important things to look for in an e-commerce package are:

1. Website and Hosting Combination
Choosing a provider that helps you set up a site, or better yet, provides a ready-made site, and hosts it for you can save you a lot of time. It can also save you a lot of frustration if you are not particularly interested in the "techie" stuff. After all, you want to run a business and that is where you should spend your time.

2. Templates
If the provider gives you tools to help build your own site, be sure there are a variety of templates available. While all templates can be customized, sometimes that just does not work for every business. If there are a large number of templates to choose from, there is bound to be one that will fit your business.

3. Payment Methods
You need to make sure that the payment options that your e-commerce package uses will satisfy your customer’s needs. For example, if your e-commerce package only accepts Paypal, you will miss out on the customers that do not use Paypal. This will decrease your earnings. Be sure to accept MasterCard and Visa as a minimum. You can always add Discover and American Express if you like as they broaden the payment possibilities.

4. Shopping Cart
Be sure the shopping cart is easy to use, pleasing to the eye, allows customers to add or subtract from their order and provides a link back to where the customer came from so they can continue shopping before checking out. An easy to use shopping cart is a must. Anything that makes it difficult for a customer to complete their shopping experience, will either chase them away, or at the very least, keep them from ever returning.

5. Tax and Shipping Cost Calculation
This only applies if you are selling hard goods and not downloadable information products. While most customers probably will not be shopping from your state, tax is not a major problem, but you need to check with your state to find out what laws may apply to you. Shipping is a different matter. Shipping must be calculated for all customers. Customers also want to see what their shipping costs will be. The easiest way around this is to offer free shipping and build it into your product cost.

6. Performance Reports
These are a must have as they are essential for seeing how your business is operating. E-commerce packages offer reports to help you keep track of your expenses and earnings. They can also tell you the number of people who visited your site, what pages they looked at, where they came from to get to your site and other valuable information to assist you in your marketing effort.

7. Marketing Assistance
And speaking of marketing, here is a biggie. There are packages available that provide valuable information and training on how to market your website. Seek these out. If you are new to e-commerce, this can be invaluable because just having a website is not worth much if no one knows about it. Driving traffic to your site can be done for free as well for money. Look for a package that offers information on a variety of methods so you can find the best fit for your business and your budget.

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The author, Rick Thomson, is the founder of the MindStream Marketing Group, and is dedicated to researching select home business ideas, opportunities and resources. Find the results of his extensive research at

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