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Mon, Oct 23, 2017 03:11 AM
Wednesday, March 8, 2017 issue

Strike it rich with an online store


01/25/2008 - Want your own online store? Creating one from scratch is a real challenge. Fortunately, major Web sites offer one-stop e-commerce solutions. This helps take the hassle out of developing an online store.

For a monthly fee, these sites will host your store. You don't need to worry about programming computer code. Built-in software helps you list products and fulfill orders. And customers will find it easy to buy your products online.

Amazon WebStores

For $60 monthly, you can open an Amazon WebStore. Payment processing is included. You pay a 7 percent fee on sold items.

You can promote your products with Amazon's reviews and ratings. Need more items for your store? List Amazon products and earn commissions.

You also get antifraud, order and inventory management tools. And your store integrates with Amazon's fulfillment services.

If you already have an online store, consider joining Amazon Marketplace. You're listed as a seller on product pages. Amazon handles payment processing.

Listing items is free, but you pay 99 cents per transaction. Commission costs range from 6 to 15 percent. There's also a variable closing fee.

High-volume sellers should become Pro Merchants. For $40 monthly, you can list products in bulk. And you can create product pages for items not listed on Amazon. You also get an Amazon storefront, and the 99-cent transaction fee is waived.

Yahoo! Merchant Solutions

Yahoo! offers three types of stores ranging from $40 to $300 monthly. Your domain name is included, but there's a $50 setup fee. Transaction fees range from 0.75 percent to 1.5 percent.

Each level is optimized by projected monthly sales. For example, if you sell less than $12,000 monthly, open a Starter store ($40). For greater sales or advanced features, Yahoo! offers Standard ($100) and Professional ($300) stores.

Whichever you choose, wizards help you design your store and add products. You can upload a product database if you have one. You can list up to 50,000 products.

You'll get a shopping cart and encrypted payment pages. However, you'll need to find a payment-processing system. Yahoo! suggests a couple vendors.

You'll be able to integrate your site with accounting and inventory management software. Additional tools help you manage inventory and calculate shipping.

There are tools to help reduce fraud. For example, you can block suspect customers.

eBay ProStores

eBay's ProStores offers stores ranging from $7 to $250 monthly. You get a varying amount of traffic and storage space.

With Express stores ($7), you pay 1.5 percent per transaction. Other stores are Business ($30), Advanced ($75) or Enterprise ($250). There's a .5 percent transaction fee for each.

Each store includes a setup wizard and professionally designed templates. All but Express can be customized with third-party programs.

Express stores are limited to 10 products. The other stores are not limited.

You'll get a shopping cart and encrypted checkout pages. You can get help calculating shipping and tax. You can use PayPal or your own payment processing system.

You'll get help organizing, managing and tracking your inventory.

Before signing up for a store, read the fine print. Make sure you understand how customer data will be used. And look for marketing tools. Just because you built the store doesn't mean people will come.

Copyright 2008, WestStar TalkRadio Network. All rights reserved. Kim Komando hosts the nation's largest talk radio show about consumer electronics, computers and the Internet. To get the podcast or find the station nearest you, visit: http://www.komando.com/listen. To subscribe to Kim's free e-mail newsletters, sign-up at www.komando.com/newsletters.

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