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By : Karen Lasser, 08-13-2015
The Internet has made it easy for small and medium sized businesses to leverage on the benefits of e-commerce by reducing overhead costs and increasing potential sales. With an e-commerce website, a business can reach thousands if not millions of new potential consumers on a daily basis. Setting up an e-commerce site has become much easy and achievable within minutes. There are two models to follow when considering creating an e-commerce website for a business; do it yourself model and outsource model. 

Do it yourself
With today’s technology, building your own e-commerce website has become much easier. This is credited to the inexpensive, easy-to-use yet sophisticated e-commerce tools and services available. Some level of web design competence is necessary to accomplish the goal. Regardless, if the business is one-man or two-man firm, one of you can get started on building the website from scratch. The effort put into building your own e-commerce website corresponds directly to potential revenue. It also gives you control over everything in your website.

Designing an e-commerce website may be daunting at first, especially when no technical skills are existent in your business ecosystem. Nonetheless, popular website design tools are readily available to help in the endeavor. For instance, Wordpress, Wix and Squarespace all provide popular options. Each of these tools accomplish virtually the same thing,the choice of which tool to use is merely a matter of predilection.

Obtaining a merchant account from your bank and incorporating it into your website will allow you to accept and process credit card payments. Such processing is done by a payment gateway, which verifies card information, payment requests and authorizes the use of credit cards in real time. The leading gateway providers include VeriSign, Authorize.Net and CyberSource. An even less expensive way of accepting online payments is by setting up an account with PayPal. It is a free service but as a business, you will be charged 2.9% plus 30 cents for every transaction under $3000.

Finally, hosting your website can be done on either a dedicated server or a shared server. For small businesses or start-ups, a shared server is enough to get by with but as you customer base increases, a dedicated server is an appropriate choice since it gives you control of processing performance and storage capacity. A cloud-server is another option to explore. Under a cloud-server, you only pay for want you need.

Outsource model
In the event building your own website becomes hard, outsourcing becomes the next option. Web hosting companies offer site-building tools that facilitate setting up of a website. Such tools are a combination of shopping-cart tools, shipping and tracking tools, payment tools, marketing tools, domain registration, and hosting services. Most popular storefront solution is Pro Stores from eBay, which is fully featured and highly customizable e-commerce platform. Merchants are responsible for marketing and driving traffic into their Pro Stores website.

Do it yourself model has some advantages over outsource model and the reverse is true. Nonetheless, the type of model does not matter. What matters is having your e-commerce website up and running.
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