Ecommerce Web Hosting
Category: Web Hosting Categories
Ecommerce, the abbreviation for "Electronic Commerce" is the practice of buying and selling goods and services over computer networks, like the Internet. Ecommerce, also spelled e-commerce, is used by merchants with regular storefronts who have added an online presence to their real-world retail stores, as well as by "e-tailers" who do business exclusively on the Internet, like the bookseller-grown-into-everything-seller, Amazon.com.
In the thirty years since its introduction, ecommerce has grown enormously. The three percent decline in the fourth quarter of 2008 was the first decline in at least 8 years, according to ComScore, with losses in books and magazines; computer software except for PC games; computer hardware; flowers, greetings and gifts; jewelry and watches; music, movies, and video; office supplies; and toys and hobbies.
Merchants can have a website online without engaging in ecommerce, which involves critical elements such as electronic funds transfer, data collection, and inventory management. While some companies build their own ecommerce sites, others take advantage of ecommerce web hosting solutions that provide the array of technologies that are needed by emerchants.
Finding Ecommerce Web Hosting
The first thing to do in finding ecommerce web hosting is to figure out what applications your particular ecommerce solution needs to include. Some applications to consider are:
- shopping cart
- payment system
- online banking
- instant messaging for live chat customer assistance
- enterprise content management
In addition, you should check for the following features, as they pertain to your business:
- website builder to help you set up your website
- web master control panel to help you administer your web site
- disk space for your web operation, many offer unlimited free web space
- disk transfer amount for both your and your clients' contacts with your site
- website statistics to help you analyze your success with ecommerce
- SSL (Secure Socket Layer) for security
- 24/7 telephone support to make sure you can get answers when you need them
- database import to ensure that you don't have to start your product catalogue from scratch
- maximum number of products or maximum number of pages to make sure that your level of need is a good match
- maximum number of categories to organize your products and offerings
- OS limitations to make sure your existing systems will work with the software
- affiliate program to increase your web traffic
- PayPal transactions for ease of payment processing
- Google checkout transactions for ease of payment processing
- search engine and Internet directory submissions to spread the word about your site
- email marketing templates and tracking software to drive traffic to your site
- ease of offering coupons , bulk pricing, and discounts, so you can fine-tune your prices when and how you wish
- customer mailing lists to help you keep in touch
- customer shopping lists to enhance their shopping experience
- customizability of the site design (as opposed to limitations that require the use only of pre-fabricated designs without alteration)
- customer feedback forms
- Quick Books ® integration
- Order history
- FedEx, UPS, and USPS shipping integration
The second thing to do is to consider whether to add features to your existing website if you have one, or to create a new website with the additional features and applications that you need. Or, if you've never had a website, you'll be considering whether to build an ecommerce site to begin your business web hosting presence.
In any case, you should also investigate the possibility of the following charges:
- transaction fees because these can add up quickly and take a bit out of your profits
- a set-up fee because they're not necessary
and check into the ecommerce web hosting plan's refund policy.
and ask about discounts or other benefits that may come with the program(s) you're considering.
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