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Now you can build your own eCommerce website

September 20, 2006

Today, a good number of e-commerce tools and related hosting services are available that make it easier than ever to build your eTail business or eCommerce storefront.

You can either start from scratch or use a finished product right out-of-the-box and be up and running in almost no time.

"There are many hosting companies that will help small businesses create, set up and host an eCommerce website," said Philbert Shih, senior analyst at Tier1 Research.

"E-commerce hosting companies offer a range of different plans and there are always a few that are focused on outfitting a site with eCommerce capabilities, complete with secure shopping cart and check-out fonctionalities". "These offerings are sometimes built in-house, but it is common and advisable for hosters to use technology developed by a specialized software vendor."

In order to assist readers who are interested in small business eTailing, this article presents a bare bones "how to" outline to help get you started. This takes a look at the small business e-tailing phenomenon itself, along with some of the factors and players driving its growth.

Overall, with job security a pale shade of what it once was, increasing numbers of Americans are considering the prospect of chucking their long-held corporate positions in favor of starting an online business.

E-Commerce retail sales will surpass the US $200-billion mark this year alone, a 20 percent increase over last year, and double the mark set just three years ago, according to Shop.org's ninth annual study of eCommerce retailing, which was conducted by Forrester Research.

What's more, total online retail sales this year are expected to reach $211.4 billion -- $138 billion excluding travel, according to the report.

Online sales of computer hardware and software, at $16.8 billion, autos and auto parts, at $15.9 billion, and apparel, accessories and footwear, at $13.8 billion, are expected to lead the way.

Compounded growth rates for the pet supply and cosmetics and fragrance categories are expected to exceed 30 percent, surpassing all other categories tracked in the survey.

E-Commerce site hosting is an active market space, and it's getting hotter. Online Site Builder, a division of Avantex Hosting is a company that provides aspiring online retailers with the e-commerce platforms and tools they need to launch their own online businesses.

B2C (business-to-consumer) pioneers and industry giants are also big players in facilitating the development of small business e-tailing. Having initially concentrated on building their own e-commerce businesses, some of the first generation of online merchants -- now big and successful -- are leveraging their technology to help smaller businesses do the same.

Companies like eBay and Yahoo are joining wireless digital telecom links, blogs, wikis and online indexing tools for marketing and lead generation with innovative search and personalization software, customer product reviews, discussion boards and user forums -- all in the interest of creating a more comprehensive, potent, and winning eCommerce platform.

"Overall, small businesses need to be where their customers are and, increasingly, that's online. As this trend continues and accelerates, small businesses should embrace the Internet as the most cost-effective way to find new customers, whether they are just around the corner or across the globe," Emily White, Google's director of online sales and operations said.

When it comes to Avantex's overall outlook for e-tailing, "We are definitely excited about the e-commerce sector's prospects going forward, particularly in the SME (small and medium-size enterprise) segment," said George Baker, Avantex's CEO. "Small businesses are still just scratching the surface of the Internet's full potential. Many do not have Web sites or anything beyond a static business card site. As familiarity with the Internet grows, and the tools become easier and easier to use, the sky really is the limit on how far this marketplace can go."

Source: eCommerce Times



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