Thursday, July 1, 2010

Online Shopping Leveled The Playing Field For Mom and Pop Stores

As online shopping grew in popularity it allowed many small businesses to expand their customers bases and even compete with the big box stores. In many cases, "P&J's Custom Candy" began shipping product across the country to customers who preferred complete the transaction online for the specific product they wanted. Even if it meant foregoing a 2-mile trip to their corner mall. Today, small businesses have just as many options as the larger companies: for example, software for professional online storefronts and shopping cart systems, and services that enable them to offer the same payment options as larger stores. While many of the major retailers have programmers, designers, and other technical personnel on staff, most small and mid-size businesses don’t have that luxury available to them -- nor do they need to. Online stores today can choose from a variety of options for doing business, including:

·    Taking orders via phone and email. They may have products listed online, with a phone number or email address set up for checkout, but this method typically inspires the least confidence in online shoppers, who are used to features such as shopping carts, accounts, and one-click checkout from the major online stores.
·    Using a services  such as PayPal. PayPal has revolutionized online stores by making it possible for even the smallest sellers to offer credit cards as a payment option. PayPal and similar services offer sellers everything from “Buy Now” buttons for single items, to integrated shopping carts.
·    Using online store software. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel -- for sellers who want the professional appearance of a sophisticated online store, there are plenty of software packages on the market. This software allows entrepreneurs to quickly and easily build a professional-quality online store.


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