July 19th, 2009
How To Choose Your Ecommerce Hosting
Ecommerce hosting, in simple words, relates to your web host’s ability to let you sell your products or services from your website. In its primitive, ecommerce hosting usually means your website has an interface between display of your items and a shopping cart system, proceeding thereon to accepting payment real-time in secured environment. An ideal ecommerce hosting ensures complete buying experience for those viewers of your website who wish to acquire your products or services.
While this is the end-solution for ecommerce hosting, the way the process is arranged differs in more ways than one. This means that while the site users’ experience may not vary much, for merchants it will be a trade-off among several possibilities. In the paragraphs below, we will explore various tenets of ecommerce hosting from a merchant’s point of view.
Ecommerce Hosting – Where to Start
As briefly touched upon above, ecommerce hosting stands on 3 main pillars, namely display of products, selection and adding them to your virtual cart which then automatically calculates total amount payable, and lastly paying for the items selected for buying.
Since your website resides on host server, you have to choose an ecommerce hosting that ensures your buyer does not suffer inconvenience while making a purchase. At the same time you may be averse to spending on high-end ecommerce hosting, preferring instead to focus on marketing your website.
It therefore boils down to either choosing an ecommerce hosting that only supplies necessary amenities so that you can do it on your own (let’s call them ‘supplied ecommerce hosting’), or go for ‘hosted ecommerce’ that does it all for you. The principal difference between the two is how much you agree to pay and why.
Supplied Ecommerce Hosting
Necessary amenities being available, many budding web entrepreneurs short on cash prefer an ecommerce hosting like this. What do you get here? In most cases of supplied ecommerce hosting, among other things common, you will get a full-featured open-source shopping cart system (like oscommerce, zen-cart, agora cart, etc.) free of cost.
All you need to do is install the cart on your website and then dress it up as per your needs. Some programming knowledge may be necessary to make the cart work perfectly for you. If time is a constraint or you feel you are not up to it, you may outsource the small adjustments needed in the cart system. Many web hosts agree to help as a goodwill gesture to their ecommerce hosting customers. Do not forget to explore this.
Once your shopping cart is up and running, the next step will be to tie up with a payment system. If you are frugal, consider availing Paypal service. It is easy and fast to open an account and you can get going in no time. If you have chanced upon Paypal before having installed the shopping cart of your ecommerce hosting, do consider some of the excellent carts showcased there. You may get good value for your money.
Okay, you have tied up your cart with a payment acceptance system. Have you tested it? Do it before going live. It is important.
If supplied ecommerce hosting is at one end, the other end belongs to hosted ecommerce. In fact, hosted ecommerce may be the perfect ecommerce hosting if you pay extra. Since the entire shopping cart system comes installed with all bells and whistles, all you need to do is upload your products and start selling. If this sounds good, it indeed is. Examples? Try Site Build It!, ekmpowershop, Yahoo! Merchant Solutions, etc.
In final analysis, you will of course choose what best suits your need, but if you wish to start your e-business, look for a competent ecommerce hosting solution.
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