Want to make your fortune on the Internet? Setting up a web store takes a whole lot more than a $5 a month host can provide. If you’re looking to sell goods or services over the Internet, you’re a likely candidate for an ecommerce hosting package. When you sign up for an ecommerce hosting package, you’ll be on your way to creating an enticing and secure environment for your customers. Ecommerce hosting is different from standard hosting …
The most basic ecommerce hosting package should include both a shopping cart and a Secure Socket Layer (SSL). These two important features are at the core of any offering.
The shopping cart is key to the customer experience. You’ll want to visit a few of the ecommerce host’s clients to see how their shopping cart functions. To be sure, this subject is worthy of its own column … (fear not, we have an article in the works).
SSL allows for encrypted data transfer, delivering a secure environment for the entry of credit card information and other personal information. Your customers will know that they’re on a secure page when they see the HTTPS in the URL, along with the secure icon in their browser status bar. In order to use SSL, you’ll need to purchase a certificate from a provider such as Thawte or Verisign.
There are a number of web sites that allow you to compare one ecommerce hosting plan to another. As with standard hosting, you’ll want to compare the amount of disk space and data transfer, along with the monthly and setup fees. Since you’re just looking at numbers, those are the easy points of comparison.
With your business on the line, tech support is a crucial issue. Does the ecommerce hosting plan offer 24/7 support or is it limited to business hours? Is there a toll-free phone number or is everything done through chat and email?
You’ll want to pay close attention to the store template and inventory management features. Can you fully customize the store layout or will you be stuck with an unattractive standard design? Can you upload your products from an existing database or do you have to manually enter each one?
Setting up shop should never be something you rush into … whether it’s in the real world or online. If you do your homework and find the right ecommerce hosting package the first time, you’ll make your life just a little bit less stressful … 🙂