5 Easy Steps to Create an Online Marketplace
- Selling and marketing your products or services online offers a number of advantages. A Web-based business can start small, requires little startup capital and runs itself day and night. Commercial Web-hosting services provide the infrastructure at reasonable prices and a tech-savvy individual can often build much of the site himself. At the same time, traps and pitfalls abound, including hackers, thieves and legislation that can trip up the most successful Web entrepreneur. As in any business venture, building an online marketplace starts with a solid business plan, people who can help make it happen and constant promotion.
- Step 1
Define the target market and customer. Whether trading sports memorabilia, homemade crafts or antique cars, step back and determine the identity of the customer and whether a Web-based marketplace makes sense. Walk through a typical sale and consider how customers and sellers meet, how prices are negotiated and how payments are made. Now put the website into the process and determine how the site facilitates the transaction.
- Step 2
Find a hosting service. Web-hosting provider already has the servers, Internet connections and e-commerce services available, ready to go, for reasonable monthly fees. The servers are preconfigured and hardened to resist hackers and are backed up frequently to prevent data loss. Research several hosting services to determine their fee structures and the services available.
- Step 3
Develop a business plan that defines your vision, goals, customers, competition, marketing, operations, budget and cash flow projections. This detailed, carefully written document forces you to consider the viability of the business and lets you know up front where and when startup capital will be needed. Business planning is not difficult; it just requires some time and research.
- Step 4
Find a lawyer who understands e-commerce. In recent years, the Internet has come under tight scrutiny from both state and federal legislatures; laws, such as the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, make it far more difficult to do commerce on the Web. Customers must agree to terms of service and online privacy statements. These must be carefully crafted to conform to strict legal requirements.
- Step 5
Build the site. Sketch out rough drawings of how the site appears and functions, then find a developer or start building the site. Take the time and spend the money to do it right. The days of homegrown, do-it-yourself sites are long gone. Even professional sites fall to automated hacking software, so make sure the site uses all known security best practices. Test the site for possible use cases and realize that when a customer thinks of your business, this is all that they see.
- About Veltrod:
Veltrod is a global software consulting company specialized in developing an ECommerce website and mobile applications for enterprises.
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