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Things to think about before you set up a jewelry e-commerce website.

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Here are several things to think about before you jump right in and decided to set up a jewelry store online.

When looking at different website platforms, you need to find out if you can import your inventory list. How difficult was it to type all your inventory into your point of sale software initially? Imagine having to retype it all again into your website.

It would be great if you could do an initial import from Excel while building the website. And then if you could upload your current inventory list on a regular basis would also be great for updating your site. Look for an import routine that uses a .txt (text) file or an .xls (Excel) file type.

Although, uploading your inventory list is only one part. You will also need to upload the images associated with each item. Sometimes you can upload images in bulk and then associate them with the individual records in the upload file, but you better expect to have to upload the images individually. That's a lot of work.

What are your needs for the e-commerce? Do you want a built in shopping cart that will accept credit cards right on your website? OR are you satisfied with using a PayPal or Google Checkout "BuyNow" button?

I want to forewarn you, that if you want your own shopping cart you will have higher setup costs, then you will have to pay another company to certify you monthly for PCI compliance. You will also need to pay for a secure certificate for your domain name (commonly called an SSL cert).

I'm sure every website programming company would happily take your money if you want your own shopping cart website, but I want to be TOTALLY HONEST and tell you we are managing 300+ jewelry store websites right now and absolutely None, Zero, Zilch, Nada... NONE of them are successful selling through their website.

The problem is not with our service, but rather because none of them have the resources (ie man power) to dedicate to their e-commerce website to make them successful. There's only so much we can do and teach, the rest is up to our customers.

In the past 14 months we have tried to provide each of our customers with a lot of education material to explain how they can do the SEO work on their websites, and how they can gain local business. Very few of them are trying to compete in the national arena.

Are you hoping for local foot traffic to a store, Or are you hoping for a 100% online store to sell nationally?

To avoid the expensive PCI compliance requirements, we've been teaching our customer how to use PayPal and Google Checkout BuyNow buttons. Using their payment gateway you completely avoid that extra expense. I consider it a total headache to deal with PCI compliance, and I think those compliance companies charge way too much money... but your bank will require it, and you can't get credit card capturing on your website without it.

To put it into dollars, if you go with an e-commerce website you should expect to pay about $300 monthly just to keep your website turned on and running. That's my estimate of all monthly charges: PCI Compliance, Credit Card company, hosting, service & support, etc. That's at least $3600 per year.

Without the PCI you would only pay $2340 or less per year depending on who your hosting and programming company is.




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AT: 11/07/2009 08:39:39 PM   LINK TO THIS ARTICLE
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