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Web Hosting Guide

What is ecommerce?

What is a Web store?

A Web store is a special-purpose Web site designed to display and sell products. Just like traditional brick-and-mortar stores, Web stores can sell just a few products or thousands of items, they can advertise their products, have sales, and accept various forms of payment. Unlike brick-and-mortar stores, however, Web stores can reach customers all over the world, instead of being limited to one city or neighborhood.

  • The Storefront
    From a customer’s point of view, a Web store is special-purpose Web site that offers products for sale. A Web store has one or more pages that display and describe products, and a shopping cart where customers can buy those products by giving their name and address and, typically, providing credit card information. Beyond that, the look and feel of a Web store can vary quite a bit, depending on the number and types of products being sold, and the taste and skill of the person who designs the store!
  • The Back Office
    Your view of the store as a merchant is quite different. Although your store is made up of pages, and there are products for sale on those pages, you don’t have to edit the store pages directly, and you don’t even have to know how to make a Web site or page. You access the store’s back office with your favorite browser, and add products and pages to your store by clicking on buttons and filling in fields.

    Your Web store will notify you when you have new orders, and it provides easy, secure access to order information. Verio ShopSite plans offer other advanced features so that you can provide your customers with the easiest and most efficient online store available.

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What is e-commerce Web hosting?

E-Commerce Web hosting adds an e-commerce application to a Web hosting package, which is what allows you to have a store on the Internet.

  • What is a Web Host?
    To have a Web site or store on the Internet you first need to have a Web server. Unfortunately, owning a Web server can be very costly and requires technical expertise that most businesses don’t have. This is where Web hosts come in. Web hosting companies provide the equipment and other technical resources that you need without the headaches that come when you have to do it yourself.

    Think of a Web host as the landlord of building. A landlord rents out storefronts to various businesses. Each business decorates and runs their store differently, and doesn’t worry about the maintenance of the building. In a similar way a Web host rents out space on a Web server – or entire Web servers – to various businesses. Each business builds its own Web store and never has to worry about the maintenance of the Web server.

    In other words, the Web host provides the place on the Internet where your Web store lives. It’s a lot cheaper than buying your own server, and you don’t have to hire the technical staff to take care of it.

  • What is an e-commerce application?
    An e-commerce application is software that makes it easy for you to build and operate a Web store. Online retail giants such as Amazon.com spend lots of money and hire large numbers of programmers to build and maintain their site, but Verio e-commerce applications let you do it from the comfort of your own home or office without any programming!

    The e-commerce application is server software, which means that it is installed and runs on the Verio server – you don’t have to install anything on your PC. You access it with your Web browser, and you simply click buttons and fill out forms to build your store. You can check orders and make changes to your store from any computer that has a connection to the Internet. It’s easy to learn and easy to use, so you can focus on running your store instead of learning a program.

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What e-commerce applications does Verio offer?

Verio offers ShopSite &msash; the market-leading e-commerce applications to meet the needs of any size store. ShopSite provides easy-to-use store building tools and secure shopping carts. Read more at our e-commerce page and ShopSite introduction and demo page.

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How do I get started?

There are two primary tasks involved in building and opening a Web store: planning and implementation.

  • Planning
    Having a successful Web store involves much more than just an “If you build it, they will come” mentality. You aren’t ready to get started until you’ve done a significant amount of planning.
  • Decide What to Sell
    The products that you offer for sale are – of course – a critical factor in ensuring the success of your store. Here are some questions that you should consider when evaluating your product offerings:
    • Uniqueness — Are you offering unique items for sale, meaning that they are either one-of-a-kind or are not offered for sale anywhere else? Or are the products in your store easy to find in other Web stores?
    • Competition — If your products are also available from other Web stores, have you spent time browsing in those stores? Have you compared their prices with what you plan to charge? What is it about your store that will draw customers away from competitors’ stores?
    • Profit Margin — For products that you buy at wholesale, is your markup enough to provide you with some profit? For products that you make, will you earn a fair return on the time that you invested? Most merchants aren’t trying to run their Web stores as non-profit organizations!
  • Organize Your Products
    The ease with which customers can find the products that they’re looking for is a critical factor in sales. If you are planning on selling more than one type of product, you need to have planned out the organization of your store prior to building it. You should categorize your products in ways that your customers are likely to look for them, and then plan to place them on pages that reflect those categories.

    Obviously, a store with thousands of products will require a more advanced organization.

    Even great advertising can’t replace good organization in helping your store to succeed.

  • A Picture is Worth…
    Your store will be more useful and appealing to customers if you include pictures of each product. You should also consider having an appealing logo on the first page of your store, and perhaps a smaller version of the logo on all other pages.

    Pictures must be in jpg or gif format. If you have the ability to scan and edit images yourself, you can simply create the images and store them for later. Otherwise, hire a graphic designer to take photographs, or use photographs that you supply, and use them to produce images in jpg format. When you receive the images from the graphic artist, store them on your computer. You’ll be able to upload them to your Web store when you’re building your store.

  • Gather Product Information
    Knowing what you’re going to sell and having pictures of those items is a large part of the preparation for building your store, but you should also gather other information about your products. Having product information on hand will make building your store much faster and less frustrating. Specifically, you should have:
    • Product names
    • Product descriptions
    • Product pictures
    • Product prices
    • Product SKUs or other tracking numbers if you use that information for inventory and shipping
    • Product shipping weight, if you intend to charge for shipping by weight
  • Planning Payment, Tax, and Shipping Policies
    Once you’ve planned your products, you need to plan for transaction processing and fulfillment. Specifically:
    • What types of payment methods will you accept in your store? If you’re planning on accepting credit cards, how will you process those payments? You can perform offline credit card processing, such as with a POS machine, or you can perform online credit card processing with some e-commerce plans. Any method of credit card processing requires that you have a merchant account and an account with a transaction processing company. Your Verio sales representative can help you sign up for those accounts.
    • How much tax do you need to collect, and from whom? If you are not already an experienced merchant, you need to consult a tax expert who is familiar with tax laws in your jurisdiction. Sales tax on Internet sales is still debated and misunderstood, but generally you need to collect tax from customers in states where your store has nexus – which is defined as a physical presence – even if it is just your office or warehouse. You may also need to collect at a higher rate from customers in your home city or county. You generally do not need to collect sales tax from customers in states where your store does not have nexus. These are just general guidelines and may not apply to your situation-consult a tax professional to make sure that your store complies with the laws of your location.
    • What shipping methods will you offer and how much will you charge? 3000 and 4000 level plans offer real-time UPS shipping charges, and all plans offer many other methods of calculating shipping charges, such as shipping by weight, shipping by currency (price), and charging a base rate plus an additional amount for each product. You should register or contract with a shipping service and find out what you need to know in order to charge the correct amount for each product and shipment.
  • Implementation
    Once you’ve completed your planning, you’re ready to get started with the implementation. Study our hosting plans and find the plan that best meets the needs of your store. Remember that you can start smaller and then upgrade your plan when your business grows, but the additional features in the higher level pans can help your store to grow more quickly.

    After you’ve picked a plan, call a Verio sales representative and sign up for that plan. Your account can be active in just a few hours, and your sales representative can help you apply for merchant accounts and credit card processing, too. You can start building your store while you wait for your application to be approved.

    Once your account is set up, you’ll receive an e-mail message that has a link to the back office of your store. Click on that link and log in with your username and password, and then the store building wizard will walk you through the steps of setting up your store.

Get started with building your on-line store here.

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About Verio

Verio is a leading global provider of web hosting and cloud services. As a part of NTT, one of the world's largest telecommunications companies, we offer the stability businesses need in a long-term technology partner.

Domain Name Registration Verio offers Domain Name Registration. Every domain purchased through Verio includes a FREE 3-page website. Our Web Hosting Plans include FREE design and marketing tools and a FREE domain name to help you start your business online.

VPS Hosting For businesses looking to control costs, but that require higher security and performance, Verio VPS Hosting is ideal. You can rely on it for your high-traffic ecommerce sites, content management systems like WordPress and Joomla, or multisite hosting.

Dedicated Hosting When uptime is critical, Verio Dedicated Hosting provides you with private managed servers that let you focus on your business, test environment or website, while Verio handles the hardware.

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