Everybody has told you that you need to sell your products online; that you’ll make more money, that you’ll get new clients, etc., etc. But when it comes to actually implementing it, you find that it’s not as easy. You get offers and packages from different suppliers, but you are not sure what they exactly mean, much less whether they will help you achieve what you want and whether they are a good deal or not.
Here is a brief explanation of the four most important tools that you need to sell online.
Hosting: Web hosting is a service provided that companies. It allows you to put your website on the Internet, normally through the use of their servers. Simple hosting services include a web page and limited hosting of files, while more complex ones include bigger file storage limits, database support and application development support for specific features. Think of hosting as the floor, walls, ceiling and storage of a real store, ready for you to move in your equipment and products.
Shopping cart: Shopping cart is a type of software that allows you to categorize your products and present them to your customers. The most important feature of a shopping cart is that it allows your customer to select several items and pay for them as a group, rather than having to purchase them individually. This usually allows you to give discounts in price or shipping costs for orders that involve several items. A good shopping cart makes it easy for customers to find the items they’re looking for. Think of shopping cart software as the aisles and shopping carts of a real store.
Payment gateway: A payment gateway is a service that allows you to process payments from your clients. It allows you to receive payments from credit cards, with Visa and MasterCard being the most common, as well as other online forms of payments, such as PayPal. Think of a payment gateway as the cashier or point of sale terminal of a real store.
SSL: SSL is short for Secure Sockets Layer and it’s a computer protocol (a form of communication between computers) that allows the exchange of information between a customer’s web browser (such as Explorer or Firefox) and a seller’s web site in a discreet, secure, and integral way. This allows you to protect the financial information of your customers, such as their credit card numbers. Think of SSL as a virtual policeman that is standing next to your cashier making sure that your clients are protected.
Of course, there are more elements to a web site, but these are the most important ones. Understanding them is crucial for your commercial success in the Internet.