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September 12th, 2005 by Jamie Estep

Starting an online business – Is an all-in-one ecommerce solution just an all-in-one failure? Intro

Filed in: Ecommerce |

For entrepreneurs that are new to the internet, all-in-one ecommerce solutions can seem like the perfect solution. But many times, an all-in-one solution is a recipe for an all-in-one failure. This post will consist of 4 parts, involving setting up a website online. First will be an introduction, second will cover setting up a website, third will help you understand accepting payments online, and fourth will cover marketing and SEO. Each day will have relevant resources for that day’s topics.

The internet has millions of websites and of these, thousands of them are selling products online. Of these online businesses, thousands of them use pre built, all-in-one ecommerce solutions. The problem with a pre-made solution is that no matter which company is providing it, they almost always look the same. Completely independent companies have the same cookie cutter look as everyone else. These systems make it hard to distinguish yourself from everyone else.

Why not use an all-in-one ecommerce solution?
The success of a business on the internet is determined by being able to offer great prices on your products, effective marketing, excellent customer service and support, and the ability to offer something unique from your competitors.

While all-in-one solutions can provide an easy to use, easy to edit interface, they rarely produce a professional website. When your business looks just like everyone else’s, there is no way for your visitors to distinguish you from everyone else. You will be forgotten into the depths of the web, and no one but you will ever look back.

What they don’t tell you about an all-in-one solution when you sign up, is that online shoppers don’t want to see the same website all over the place. They want something unique. Uniqueness starts at the design level and must extend through the whole of the business. Once your website is up and running, it is completely up to you to market it and funnel traffic into your website. This is not an easy task for any online business and will ultimately lead to the failure of the majority of all online businesses. A unique appearance is the foundation needed to establish an effective and permanent online business presence.

Over 75% of online businesses don’t make it.

Many former online business owners thought, all they had to do was throw together a website with some products, and watch the money pour in. Most realize very quickly that this is nowhere near reality. The truly successful entrepreneurs devote much of their time to learning about what needs to be done to effectively sell and market on the internet. The rest of their time is allocated in practicing what they research.

What is a successful business website?
To understand what shouldn’t be done, it is important to understand what a successful online business is…

To me, a successful website is one that people keep coming back to and continually driving sales. The website’s customers also refer other people to the website, because of their own good experience. A great website will have all of the information that you need for what you may be purchasing in a clear objective layout. It will also have more in-depth information about related topics to the products they sell and the industries that they represent. It must be easy to navigate and easy to purchase from. From the first visit, you have to feel that you can trust this business.

Of my favorite websites, none use an all-in-one ecommerce solution. This is not a coincidence.

Setting up an online business.

Setting up an online business consists of three major parts.
1. Setting up a website and shopping cart system.
2. Accepting payments through your website.
3. Marketing your website.

Now that we have eliminated our easy failure, we can move on to setting up an online business.

Resources for starting an online business:
Small Business Administration
Yahoo Small Business

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