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How do I start an eCommerce business?

The most important thing to consider is your competitive advantage over others that may compete for the same type of eCommerce store. Low barriers to entry is both a pro and con to eCommerce.

It can be incredibly competitive, and the competition makes it harder and more expensive to acquire customers. This level of competition also drives down prices.

The first step to starting any business is research and planning -- in this case figuring out who is already selling the goods you plan to sell. Look at what they are doing well and where there might be opportunity, and then figure out what your niche will be. Determine how you will build this niche into a big enough segment of the market where you can meet your business goals.

This preliminary research will ensure that your investment in eCommerce is well spent and you have the best opportunity to be successful online. If this sounds intimidating, consultants like Atlantic BT can help you analyze the market and plan strategies to win online.

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Questions & Answers

How do I build a WordPress eCommerce website?
There are two strategies to build eCommerce into your existing Wordpress site. First, you need to figure out if you need a complete eCommerce platform (ie. you need to sell many products, complex products, integration into other systems, etc.). The reason this matters is there are many eCommerce plugins for Wordpress with limited functionalities.
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What is Magento eCommerce?
Magento is an increasingly popular eCommerce platform. It is written in PHP on the ZEND framework and is distributed under the Open Source Initiative.
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How do I find out what eCommerce platform a site is using?
There are a couple different ways to determine this-- if you are technically savvy you can right click on an e-commerce page (either catalog, checkout page, etc) and look at the source code.
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What is an eCommerce platform?
An eCommerce platform is software that online businesses use to build functions needed to conduct business. The platform may be as simple as a catalog and shopping cart, but traditionally "platform" refers to a more robust set of tools and services.
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What is the difference between eCommerce and eBusiness?
Because people like to define these terms to suit their purposes, there are many different definitions of eBusiness and eCommerce. We define eBusiness as completing primary business functions online.
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