The first thing to think about is do you want to host it on your domain, use a third party service or just list your products on different sites. Each of these has a place in different business models so what is best for you will depend. Let me outline what I see as the pros and cons depending upon where you are in your business and then you can decide what is best for you.
Host your own shopping cart on your Domain
This is my least favorite option and what I typically guide people away from – this can be financially the cheapest but unless you really know what you are doing you are going to pay way more for it in time and maintenance. Not to mention all the security concerns and the increase in liability making sure that you and your servers are PCI compliant.
The business that benefit the most from this are typically much larger in size and need the ability to completely customize every little aspect (or think they do). They will typically have full time programmer, server admins and own all their own servers. Typically this is not done as a cost savings but more from a control stand point.
Third Party Shopping Carts
This is a great option for small to mid-size businesses. Especially with all the different shopping carts out their you can get an amazing amount of features for a realatively small amount of money. When you are starting out I think you can get more than you need for less than $50 a month.
That may sound like a lot when you are starting out but you have to remember that this is your way to collect money – so if you are not able to sell at least several times what you pay for your shopping cart each month – then you are not ready quite yet and should focus on improving your marketing skills first before taking on this expense.
I find once you have a certain level of basic marketing – building lists, driving traffics, etc that is when you look to start selling your own products on your own websites. At this point you will start making more money from all of your marketing because you will have created the product and sell them on your own which mean more profits for you.
Sell on Other Site
There are lots of great sites online that you can list your product for sale – the best part is some of them already get tons of traffic while others already have tons of affiliates. This gives you a great way to put your product online without much up front cost and allow you to then focus on learning the basics of marketing – growing a list, converting sales from your list and driving traffic.
So if you are brand new to selling online and don’t have anything (no list, no market, no relationships, no money) then I would start by putting your product on these sites and then focus on learning and refining your skills. If I had to choose one first I would start with building a list followed by driving traffic.
If you are at the point of hosting your own shopping cart then you will want to do a Google search for the latest and greatest carts out their to buy and discuss with your programmers which one is a good base for you to customize from.
If you are looking for a third party shopping cart I would start by asking your friends in the business who they use and then look at your competitors to see who they use and what you like and don’t like about it. I will tell you we chose Red Oak Cart and have been very happy with them.
If you are looking for other sites to sell on it really depends on your product a few that we have used (and still use they are great for new customers and leads) are Amazon.com, Ebay.com, Clickbank.com