If your business offers online retail, or you are thinking of starting one, then you should make it as easy as possible for customers to pay you. I have run into an online company that still doesn’t allow for payments online, and it’s frustrating enough that I am thinking of finding another place to “shop”.
There is more than one way to offer online payment, but perhaps the most popular these days is PayPal, which is a global ecommerce company that allows businesses and customers to interact with invoices and payments on the Internet. Transfers of funds online are an electronic alternative to writing and depositing checks.
It’s popular because it is easy for business owners and customers alike. There are a few other reasons such as quick access to monies, cost, and fraud protection. So, if you are looking for a safe, easy, and an inexpensive way to make it easier for your customers to pay their bill, then PayPal is what you need.
Read on to see how you can be up and running with your online store in no time.
Step #1 Go to PayPal’s Website
Sign up for a business account directly on their website. There are 3 different business categories to choose from, Standard (free), Advanced ($5 per month) and the Pro ($30 a month). There will be a percentage charged per sale any time a transaction is made. However, on average, it’s about 14% less costly than traditional merchant accounts.
Online banking has made it easy for most of us, such as we can order cheap checks online, transfer funds, and reconcile our account. PayPal is similar as it makes it easy for financial transactions with your customers without leaving the office. Gotta love the Internet!
Don’t worry about which business account to choose. It can always be upgraded or downgraded if you find your choice is not adequate, or too much for your business.
Step #2 Choose a Domain Name
Choose a domain name (and hosting), or a sub-domain for no charge. This should be a name that relates to your business and what you are promoting, in order to attract more customers. For example, if you are selling personalized throw blankets, it could be nameyourthrow.com, or personalblankets.com. Just make sure that you are allowed to paste “custom” HTML into the code.
Step #3 “Shop” at PayPal
Go to PayPal’s home page, and locate the “Merchant Services” tab. Find the “Add to Cart” button and click on it. From there you should choose all the right options for each item you plan on selling. You will then need to enter a name and an ID for each item, as well as the price you plan on charging with the shipping price, plus tax.
When you have entered all the information for your online store, then you click the “Create” button.
Step #4 HTML Code
A HTML code will be provided, which you need to copy and save.
Step #5 Create and Upload Images
In order to enhance your products, each item should have an image associated with it. You can either create your own, or use stock photos purchased online, or use royalty free photos, also found online. Next, you need to locate an image-hosting website to provide an image code for each photo. Make sure to keep track of each code and it’s coordinated image.
Step #6 Pasting Codes
Your hosting company provides a site editor. You will need to paste the codes for both your images and HTML into the site editor. Next, paste your HTML for the button located under the image code for each product.
Step #7 Repeat
For each product you want to enter, repeat steps 3-6. Once you have everything entered, “save” your new online store and distribute it to the world through the Internet.
Now, the Hard Part
Well, not NOW. The hard part is in the beginning and “ending”, actually. Setting up the online store is easy, as you can see above. However, you need to make sure you have a product that will sell, which is the first most difficult step. The other, is promoting your business.
However, “difficult” is all relative. When comparing it to the ease of setting it up, this part would be considered more difficult, even when it doesn’t have to be hard at all. If you are reading this article, you probably already have a product in mind. But, if you don’t, there are plenty of ideas you can choose from. Just choose something you are good at and passionate about promoting.
Next, is promoting your site. Establish a good site with well written content, great imaging, and a catchy name. Another way to promote it is the old fashioned way … word of mouth. And finally, print out some marketing material to distribute to friends, family, and businesses. You can do this inexpensively through sites like VistaPrint, or make your own.
Many people have successful online businesses, in various niches. PayPal is just one tool to help make that business run a bit smoother, and save on costs at the same time.
Melissa Cameron has been writing as a freelance writer for over 2 years now. Her recent topics have been online businesses, home brewing, establishing credit, and even puppy checks. Melissa was born and raised in Michigan, near the west coast. She and her husband enjoy spending time with their young son, camping, boating, and t-ball. When she has a moment to herself, she also enjoys cooking, photography, and music.