Beginner's Guide to Selling on eBay

Beginner's Guide to Selling on eBay

In the last 15 years or so, the Internet has revolutionized business and the global opportunities available. Not only is it your own website that will provide the ability to sell goods and services worldwide. eBay also allows you to reach an international marketplace and as such, there are seemingly endless
ebay

Introduction to eBay

In the last 15 years or so, the Internet has revolutionized business and the global opportunities available. Not only is it your own website that will provide the ability to sell goods and services worldwide. eBay also allows you to reach an international marketplace and as such, there are seemingly endless prospects and avenues for your business to explore.

This resource has been developed to provide a breakdown of how eBay can have a positive impact on your business and the tools available to ensure that selling and managing your stock is a simple and straightforward process.

What is eBay?

eBay is the world's most popular website for buying and selling goods from both private and business accounts. There are millions and millions of registered accounts on eBay, with 17 million unique visits per month from the UK. According to Experian Hitwise, eBay accounts for approximately 15% of all online transactions.

So what about the prospect of buying? Well, there are around four million choosing eBay to sell their products online each month, with around 190,000 UK businesses included in this. Fashion has proven to be one of the most successful industries for online businesses, making up around a fifth of this total (around 4.5 million shoppers search the eBay fashion category monthly as well).

Cell phone technology has only added to eBay's success and today, 40% of sales come through the app. With it only taking a minute to quickly list items and having access to potentially millions of buying customers, it makes perfect sense to turn to eBay for your business sales.

When you combine both business and personal sale items on eBay, you have close to 60 million listings at once. This is huge. In addition, eBay is becoming increasingly popular, with sale items tripling since 2009.

eBay allows you to sell the odd listing or even create an online store, so you benefit from cheaper rates for several listings at once. This allows you to change stock quickly and sell internationally at the touch of a button.

The eBay Story

eBay has been in operation for more than two decades, first founded in 1995 at the dawn of the Internet. From Pierre Omidyar's initial conception, eBay was always envisioned as an online marketplace for the sale of goods and services. But even in his wildest dreams, he probably never expected the global success he has clearly witnessed.

eBay quickly grew from strength to strength, especially as dial-up Internet reached homes around the world. To take the business to the Millennium, Pierre and co-founder Jeff Skoll began building a team that would take eBay to the next level.

Meg Whitman was chosen to lead this team and was charged with branding eBay to become a household name. With staff from companies like PepsiCo and Disney, a strong vision was created and eBay became a website for connecting, rather than just selling.

Now, eBay is the largest auction-style selling website on the Internet. It brings buyers and sellers together in a secure environment and users can search for almost any product, bidding quickly and easily.

Bidding on eBay is free, while selling must pay for each listing. There are two options available in this regard:

  • Insertion fees: Range from 30 cents to $3.30, depending on the price set by the seller. With additional selling options included, you may be charged a higher rate.
  • Final Value: This is a flat fee charged when an ad is completed. It will usually be a percentage of the sale value - between 1.25% and 5%.

When each offer reaches a conclusion, the seller will be notified and the money can be transacted. Successfully winning an offer enforces a binding contract between buyer and seller.

Why should I sell on eBay?

Selling online offers huge opportunities for individuals and businesses. In today's world, it is important to sell in any way possible, whether it is on your website, in a high street store or on eBay or Amazon. Thanks to its unprecedented levels of success, eBay has become a legitimate route to market.

In fact, the eBay marketplace is not just for small businesses. It is a very competitive environment and even large retailers are using the power and popularity of eBay to attract customers to their brand. eBay's virtual shelves are full of household names, not just independent businesses.

So, with that said, why should you sell your products on eBay? There are several excellent reasons to choose eBay and some of the excellent benefits are listed below.

A global marketplace: where else could you advertise your products and services, while reaching a worldwide audience? eBay and Amazon dictate the marketplace, with more traffic than the other top 20 online stores combined. Therefore, it makes clear business sense to use the mass audience.

Know your costs: eBay selling costs are fixed, so there will be no nasty surprises. eBay lets you know how much the ads will cost and there are some advantages to starting your own online store. This provides more stability to your online selling than using paid search or other advertising channels.

Earn a glowing reputation: With eBay you can build your online reputation with good practices-the key is to keep customers happy. Whether this is achieved with excellent response time to questions or exceptional post and packaging, you can boost your reputation and ensure that people are more likely to shop with you.

Become part of a larger shopping cart: with eBay, customers can browse and buy a range of items in one visit, all from multiple sellers. This is, of course, much more convenient for the customer and, in turn, ensures more sales.

Range of payment options: eBay is convenient for both customers and sellers, offering a range of payment methods. PayPal is also a useful addition to eBay, as customers are more likely to shop online with spare cash available in their account.

Ease of use: eBay is fairly easy to use, there's no denying this. You can have several listings online in no time, easing the minds of those who think they will have to spend hours at a time.

A beginner's guide to selling on eBay

If you're not already taking advantage of eBay for financial gain, why not? There are so many opportunities to take your business to the global marketplace and your options are seemingly endless.

Setting up an eBay listing

First things first, to get your product in front of the eyes of millions of potential customers, you need to set up an ad. It's fairly easy to get going with this, so take a look at the process it would ideally take.

Do your research

Before adding your first listing to eBay, it's recommended that you do a little initial research. This may include how many similar items are for sale, the starting price you should set, and the category you would place your products in.

You should also factor posting and packaging costs into the equation. Customers will want to know if there are additional charges for this up front, so be sure to weigh and check with your local post office before creating the listing.

Make sure you are also aware of when eBay prohibited items are involved and what is acceptable. This initial research will put you in good stead for the future.

Include a FAQ section

If eBay customers have any questions about your selling items, they will want to find the answers to their questions available. You can include a FAQ section in your listing. For other inquiries, the buyer can contact you directly - be sure to respond in a timely manner or you could lose their business.

Create your product listing

So, you've conducted a lot of research on the market and have a better understanding of how eBay works, now it's time to start selling your stock. For the first item on the list, it's worth taking a little time to make sure you include everything, but after that the process will be quicker and faster.

To get started, click the Sell button at the top of most eBay pages and start selecting the options that apply. Include a starting price, images and a full description, so customers know exactly what they are bidding for. The more information you include, the more likely you are to attract bidders and guarantee a higher selling price.

Check how much it will be to add your eBay listing and even consider donating a portion of the sale to the charity, which could encourage people to bid even more.

Set up your eBay account

If you haven't already set up an eBay account, you'll need to do so before the listing goes live. Again, this is a simple process and details can be changed and updated as you wish. Some of the things that can be added to your eBay account include:

  • Phone number (including dialing code).
  • Arrange your automatic payment method for seller fees.
  • Make sure your feedback profile is public.
  • Choose the different payment methods that buyers can use.
  • Verify your PayPal account.

Keep an eye on your listings

The more eBay listings you have active; the more work you will have to do. However, it's actually quite easy to receive updates when they occur. When you set up your eBay account, you can choose to receive notifications of each person viewing your listing, placing a bid, and even when the selling period expires.

You'll also be notified when a potential buyer asks questions and can also change your listing if necessary.

Liquidate the listing

If you have a winning bid when your sale comes to an end, congratulations: you've successfully sold on eBay. See, it wasn't so hard after all. What's left to do, however, is to make sure the money is placed in your account and your product is shipped to the correct address in a timely manner.

You'll likely be notified when the ad is finalized and, if you use PayPal, you'll be able to verify that the funds are in place. Whichever way you accept cash, make sure you have this before you ship. If your buyer still hasn't paid within three days, get in touch to find out what's going on.

Once the goods have been paid for, send delivery as agreed in the listing and consider protection such as bubble wrap to keep the product safe during transport. The better the better service you provide to the customer, the better your feedback rating is likely to be.

And that's it. You've sold on eBay and you're ready to come back. You'll only get better at posting listings and managing your account, so you could eventually sell hundreds of products at a time.

Seller costs and fees

If you use eBay for commercial purposes, the fees payable will be determined by the number of products you sell and whether you have an eBay store. See the chart below for the commercial fees (excluding VAT) that apply on eBay.

There are certain times when you can also benefit from reduced eBay fees:

  • Top Rated Sellers: if your listings meet eBay Premium Service guidelines, you will receive a 10% discount on the final value fee. This will be explained in more detail later in the guide.
  • Donate to charity: If you choose to donate up to 100% of your final sale to charity, eBay will remove a percentage of the fees. This is determined by the total amount that goes to a charitable cause.

Managing your eBay activity

For those with many listings all running simultaneously, the ability to manage all of these is crucial. Of course, eBay may only form a part of your business or it could even be something you do on the side, so being able to manage this effectively is important. The better equipped you are to manage eBay listings, the more you will enjoy the whole process.

To help you with this, take a look at the following checklist of what to do immediately after creating a new listing and managing your eBay activity.

Once your eBay listing is live:

  • Make sure it appears in the live listings and the listing is showing as you would like it to be.
  • If something is missing, add a description or include a few more images to give your item a better chance of commanding a higher bid price.
  • Be sure to answer any buyer questions in a timely manner and then edit your listing to show the answers (other buyers may have similar queries)
  • Use My eBay to monitor your listings and set up notifications to your email address as needed.
  • Consider blocking certain users based on providing negative feedback or even living in certain regions of the world.

If at any time you need to revise your listing or make changes, it's easy to do so. The exact information you can change depends on the time remaining on the auction item and whether you have any bids in place. For example, you could not change the time the ad is in place, the category or even the title.

How to create better ads

With millions of items for sale on eBay, how can you make sure your listing stands out from the crowd and attracts a lot of potential bidders? Chances are, your product isn't unique. There could be dozens of similar items to grab, so what sets yours apart from the crowd?

Check out the following tips to increase traffic to your listing, which in turn, will hopefully lead to you receiving more bids.

Build your reputation on eBay

This is something that doesn't happen overnight and instead needs to be worked on over a number of weeks, months and possibly even years. The more items you sell on eBay; the more feedback you will receive. Positive feedback will lead to more customers viewing you as a genuine seller who won't let you down, which in itself will bring in more bids.

Have a sensible username

If you use eBay for business sales, choose a sensible name for your account. Your business name would be ideal, so create a new account if you've decided to switch from eBay private to business.

Include as much information as possible

To attract more customers to your sale items, try to include as much detail as possible. This could be product quality, shipping information and, of course, high quality images. With every eBay listing, you get in the habit of including:

  1. A series of quality images
  2. A full description, including damage where appropriate
  3. The cost of packing and shipping
  4. Your return policy
  5. How you will accept payment from the buyer

Add an about me section

By parting with their hard-earned money, eBay users will be more trusting of businesses, including this section. Tell everyone about your business to give them confidence that they are dealing with a reputable company. Strangely, only 6% of eBayers use this feature, so you can certainly stand out from the crowd by using it.

Start an eBay store

eBay allows you to start your own online store. From here you can better manage listings and ensure a strong brand presence online. Customize the store to reflect your business and link to it wherever possible; from your listings, about me section and other custom pages.

Consider selling internationally

Selling internationally has its problems and you will need to find out the costs and fees associated with shipping to foreign countries. However, it does open your business to a worldwide audience. eBay items that are available internationally, sell on average 16% more.

Think about enhanced listings

There is the option to further enhance your listings and doing so can lead to receiving even more bids.

  • First photo: This is free and adding an image will increase the chances of a sale by 15
  • Gallery: Ads with a gallery sell, on average, for 12% more.
  • Subtitle: Subtitles help add about 10% to the sale value.


Keywords are king

If you want as many eBay users to find your product, choose keywords that they are likely to type into their computer, laptop, tablet or phone. 'Amazing', 'Incredible', 'Awesome' or 'Excellent' are unlikely to be used. Instead, focus on important keywords: 'Brand New Russell Hobbs Russell Hobbs Kettle' would be a good listing title.

Use PayPal

OK, so with PayPal you will have to give up a percentage of the sale, but for the customer this is a very convenient tool. In fact, over 90% of eBay sales go through PayPal, so it's worth offering this option.

Setting up an eBay business

We have already discussed in some detail the opportunities that eBay brings. It's not just an auction site to get rid of your unwanted goods and instead puts you in front of millions of potential buyers. That said, why not start your own eBay business?

Whether you use eBay as your sole business or simply as a side project to help bring in more income, the platform is easy to get started with, especially for those just starting out.

In this section we will compile the reasons to start your first eBay business and help you understand everything you need to know to ensure success.

Why should I start an eBay business? Selling online offers excellent opportunities for every business for obvious reasons, but why should you explore avenues other than your own website? With the rise of the Internet, your business can reach a much larger market. This, of course, brings with it its own set of challenges, but overall it will only bring excellent benefits to your business.
So why turn to eBay to improve your online presence?

Increase brand awareness

Owning a high street store can put you in front of a couple thousand potential customers who live in the area. Online, on the other hand, gives you the power to advertise to millions of people. You no longer have to sell to a particular region and can instead sell to other towns, cities, counties and even internationally.

Unlimited opening hours

Unless you opt against a social life, you will probably operate the opening hours of somewhere in the 9-5 region. However, chances are; you'll work more than this to maintain a thriving business. By turning to eBay, customers can find your products at all hours of the day and night, so in effect you'll never be closed for business.

Add more products to your stock

With the help of eBay you can bring more products to market and increase your overall stock. You should be quicker to clear your stock and have the funds in place to buy more. Find out which products sell best and invest in them.

Develop your niche

If your business sells a niche product, eBay will help put you in the broader market and attract more customers. Plus, if you have a niche you will distance yourself from the crowd, adding value to your business and giving your company a competitive edge.

Make your customer's life easier

Consumers now expect to find products they are looking for online, quickly and with little effort. As we have already suggested, customers will be shopping online at all hours and by having a presence on eBay, your products are there and waiting for consumers to join and buy almost instantly.

Save time and money

There's no doubt about it, eBay is a cost-effective way to run your business. In fact, why open a store for a few hundred people to walk by every day, when you could be focusing your efforts on attracting millions instead?

Setting up your eBay store

For businesses, an eBay store can be extremely fruitful. You can display all your stock in one easy-to-find location, offer real customer testimonials and reviews, and have the backing of a reliable eBay hosting site.

There is a five step process to starting your own eBay store and you can read more about the basic process below.

Step 1: Sign up for eBay Stores

The first step in setting up your eBay business is to subscribe, which is pretty straightforward. With the eBay store, your business will be able to create, manage and promote stock, while tracking online orders and really maximizing your company's profits. There are certain subscription levels that depend on the size of your business, so consider these options carefully. Before subscribing, remember to choose a relevant name, which will shape the URL.

Step 2: Set up your eBay store

After your initial subscription, it's time to start setting up the store and designing the website. If you're going to maximize appeal and secure as many sales as possible, make sure the page is designed for customers to navigate with ease. The more information you include about your business and procedures, the better.

Step 3: List your online actions

So, your eBay store is live and you're ready to start selling.What's next? To start listing your products and get interest from potential customers. There are two options here and both have their own advantages; Auction style and fixed price. Generally, eBay stores tend to sell their products at a fixed price, but if you are selling something unique that will get a lot of interest, it might be worth setting up the listing for auction.

Step 4: Stay on top of your account

When you start listing multiple products and start getting interest, bids and sales, it becomes more of a necessity to stay on top of everything. Make sure every time a listing comes to an end, so you can send it to the customer quickly and ensure positive feedback.

Step 5: Marketed your business

Just because your business has an eBay store, don't assume that this is marketing enough. Instead, you need to make sure that

There are several things that your business will need to ensure, if you wish to be accepted into the program and these include:

  • Selling online in high volume (minimum of €1,000 over a 12 month period).
  • Offering a high quality service to customers
  • Receiving positive feedback from consumers (98% positive over a 12 month period)
  • Comply with PayPal's buyer protection standards
  • Have an account of at least 90 days.

There is no application process and instead you will be automatically added to the scheme. The merchant dashboard will detail whether you are a power merchant, with five levels achievable: bronze, silver, gold, platinum and titanium.

The good news is, however; anyone can become a Power Seller. You simply have to work on meeting the requirements.

It's also worth noting that if your eBay account falls below the required criteria, you could lose your Power Seller status. So even if this is something you achieve, make sure you keep working hard on the basics to maintain it.

eBay Dispute Resolution

When selling on eBay, one of your priorities should be to maintain positive overall feedback. After each sale, customers can rate your service based on things like responsiveness, packaging, and whether the delivery date was as promised.

Not only will customers rate you very highly, but disgruntled consumers may voice their concerns about your feedback for all to see. This can be detrimental to your business and at all costs should be avoided.

How to improve your feedback rating

The feedback system on eBay is what many prospective buyers will use to sell businesses. If you have received glowing reviews, you will be seen in a good light. However, any imperfections in your record will be picked up and unfortunately potential customers will turn their attention to these. If your eBay rival has a better overall feedback score, chances are they will buy from them. Keeping on top of your feedback score and improving this part of your business will increase buyer confidence.

Build an excellent brand

Want to improve your overall feedback score and ensure you attract new customers? Then it's important to set high standards for your company and continue to offer quality products to consumers. Think of yourself as the buyer - what would you expect when shopping online? By meeting these customer needs, you will build a company that people can trust and, in turn, will be delighted to delight in.

Maintain high-quality customer service

Customer service is a key component of any business. This applies to your eBay business as well. Goodwill gestures, for example, will go a long way toward improving your brand's reputation, even if you may lose a few pounds in the process. For example, if you want to ensure positive feedback, include a small free gift with customer orders. Also, include a note to say that you will work to the best of your ability to resolve any disputes if they arise, rather than leaving a disgruntled customer to vent their feelings online. Be sure to have an email address or phone number handy as well.

The customer is always right, so the old saying goes - even if you have to smile through sharp teeth. After all, customers will make your business tick, so keep them on board and your company will thrive. Apologize even if a problem is not your fault and do everything you can to resolve situations that arise. Discounts and returning the item may not make sense financially, but they will certainly keep people happy. Plus, you can always sell again in the future.

Keep shipping prices low.

This is perhaps one to attract customers, but sometimes it can also be a cause of negative feedback. Don't charge extortionate rates for your shipping and handling charges. Instead, set reasonable rates and in some cases consider completely free shipping. You may lose the pod by the odd pound here or there, but it will do wonders for your sales.

Keep an eye on your inbox

If you have several ads all running at the same time, chances are you'll receive several messages each day from customers interested in your offers. For each new message, be sure to respond quickly. The longer you delay, the greater the chances that they will look elsewhere and bid with rival sellers. Whatever the question, respond promptly and you'll be on to a winner.

What is also almost guaranteed is that, if you give negative feedback, you are likely to get something back in return. In particular, new eBay users are quick to add negative feedback, often through a lack of understanding about the detrimental impact it could have.

As a headline for ten, avoid giving negative feedback to buyers, even if they really deserve it. It can only spell bad news for you later down the line. If, for example, a buyer takes their time to pay after winning the bid, you can submit an unpaid item reminder on eBay. This will help actively encourage the buyer to pay quickly. Users with three unpaid item tickets may be suspended from eBay.

Unpaid item disputes can be filed after seven days after the bid has been successfully placed and closed 10 days after that. On eBay, 90% of buyers who remember to pay, do so in this window.

It is also important to remember that it is difficult to remove negative comments once posted. There are some cases where eBay will remove the comment, though they include:

  • Comments contain links or scripts in it.
  • Comments contain "profane, obscene or racist language or adult material."
  • Comments contain personal information about the user, such as real name, address, phone number, etc.
  • Negative was posted by mistake to the wrong seller.
  • Comments were left by members who were suspended indefinitely within 90 days of registration for providing false contact information or any other offense other than

non-payment of eBay fees.

  • Comments are left by users who bid on or purchased an item only for the purpose of leaving negative feedback for another user, with no intent to pay.

eBay will not investigate negative feedback based on accuracy, so your best option would be to negotiate with the buyer and resolve the dispute.

Resolving an eBay dispute

eBay disputes can be a real pain, as some buyers will simply see themselves in the right, until you decide it's best to offer a refund. However, there are a few ways you can resolve a dispute.

Decide on a mutual agreement

If you want negative feedback removed, the best way to do this is to contact the seller and negotiate a change. If you log in to eBay and detect the dreaded red comments, it's time to contact the seller by phone of email. Chances are there is a way to resolve the problem and remove the comments.

Online Dispute Resolution

If you have a complex case with your customer, another option is eBay's dispute resolution service. An outside company, SquareTrade, is used to mediate the situation. If successful in resolution, the feedback will be removed, but the comment will remain. The mediator will contact both parties and work out an agreement. If agreed, the comments can be removed within 14 working days.

However, there is a better way to resolve eBay problems: prevent them from occurring in the first place. You have to be professional to the extreme to ensure this is taken care of - bite it comes to rude customers, avoid a combative attitude and talk to people on the phone if there is a dispute. While email is handy, it can often be cold and impersonal.

Remember that if you have a problem with a buyer on eBay, you can always block them from tying future bids.

Advanced Selling Tools

If you've been running an eBay business for some time, or are just investigating the idea, you'll want to know about some great tools that can be used to make the whole process much simpler. In this section we'll offer you guidance on some of the best features available to progress your online business.

8 Shopping Cart Power Listing Tools

eBay compatible shopping cart power
eBay sellers who want to extend sales to their own small business e-commerce website should use a shopping cart or third-party software that integrates an e-commerce shopping cart with eBay.

This integration will allow sharing of sales and inventory data between systems and save you a lot of time, while helping to manage your online selling business across both channels.

Back-end integration with eBay is important if you plan to sell on your own website and eBay. E-commerce integration with eBay allows you to easily manage all orders; no matter which site generates the sale. You can list all your items in one system and have your inventory displayed on both sales channels. In addition, each system will recognize a sale on the other site and provide a single inventory, sales and customer history.

To help integrate your online sales channels, here are eight of the best eBay-compatible shopping carts to choose from.

1. AuctionBlox eMarketConnect

AuctionBlox provides access to eBay and Amazon (through your storefront management screens) from your existing online store. By connecting your store to eBay, AuctionBlox allows you to list your products on eBay and process payments in your own store. CRE Loaded, oscommerce, Zen Cart and Magento art software is supported. eMarketConnect is free with a paid subscription to an AuctionBlox store.

2. DesignCart

DesignCart is a third-party hosted online shopping cart designed for small and medium-sized businesses that want to sell products on the web. It works on any hosting platform and provides the ability to list and complete payment for your eBay auctions. Winning bidders will be presented with an add button via email and, upon successful payment, the cart will automatically update the eBay auction status.

3 Kosmos Central

Kosmos' eBay e-commerce intqegration software allows you to upload items from your online store to your eBay account and download eBay orders to your commerce website integrating all purchases into one system to keep your eBay and online storefronts in sync. The latest version of X-Cart is required in addition to eBay e-commerce integration software.

4. Mercantec E-Commerce Express

Mercantec offers an entry-level storefront and cart service that allows you to sell in several places, including your own site and eBay. You can use E-Commerce Express for payments and auction (and other) payments and it can also be used to create eBay fixed price listings.

5. ProStores

ProStores is an online e-commerce platform for eBay merchants and sellers. The platform is a complete e-commerce solution that allows online merchants to design online storefronts and catalog products. In addition, it allows you to manage store administration tasks and offers full integration with any eBay selling business.

6. Shopping Cart Elite

Shopping Cart Elite allows you to insert products into various marketplaces, including eBay, Amazon, Craigslist and many others. It uses your existing product database and can also be programmed to list only those items that you have in stock or that are competitive enough to sell.

7. Techwave Free Shopping Cart

Techwave shopping cart software provides everything you need to build, update and maintain an online store. Techwave is fully integrated with Microsoft CRM and Sugar CRM for organized business processing and sharing. It also offers a Techwave e-commerce eBay integration module that will fully integrate your e-commerce website with an eBay store.

8. T-Hub for QuickBooks

T-Hub's order management solution is designed to integrate your e-commerce stores with QuickBooks and shipping services (UPS/FedEx/USPS). T-Hub works with several leading e-commerce platforms and shopping carts such as Amazon, EBay, Yahoo stores, Magento, Volusion, GoDaddy, X-Cart, BigCommerce, AmeriCommerce, osCommerce, AspDotNetStorefront and others.

Ebay Ecommerce Storefronts Host

Small business owners looking to start online sales face a big challenge: how do they get their products or services online, offer a shopping cart and manage inventory without hiring IT professionals or spending a small fortune to get started?

This is also a challenge for entrepreneurs, home business owners and eBay sellers who are interested in managing their own e-commerce website. For these reasons, many will look to start their first e-commerce venture using a hosted storefront solution.

By choosing a hosted storefront service, a small business owner can test the waters and spend less money to get ecommerce website functionality and IT support. With a hosted storefront, there is no need to spend money on hardware (the server) or software to manage the e-commerce site. You also benefit from having low IT costs, as hosted storefront providers will also offer technical support.

Another issue that small business owners face in running their own e-commerce website is security and compliance issues. To run a professional e-commerce website, you must comply with industry e-commerce rules and regulations in order to accept, store and process customer credit cards online.

The right hosted storefront provider will take care of all these key functions and provide web space, assist with domain name registration and SSL certificate registration tasks (if you don't already have one). They will also handle the task of securely backing up your website and data.

The following providers offer complete e-commerce hosting packages. To find the right online storefront provider for your business, be sure to look for the key features you consider important, check the per transaction fees that may be charged in addition to the monthly subscription fee before you sign up with the service. Also, most storefront providers will offer a free trial so you can try the service before you buy it. Here are five reputable online storefronts to start your research:

1. BigCommerce

This is a storefront solution that allows you to create your own storefront, plus you can sell on Facebook and eBay. Some additional features include multichannel retail, mobile commerce, SEO and easy upselling. Accounts start at $24.95 per month to list 100 products and can be upgraded, depending on how many products your store has and how much bandwidth you need.

2. Mive Merchant

Miya offers full e-commerce hosting and provides everything you need to start an online store in one package. Small business accounts start at $49.95 per month with unlimited products. Accounts can be upgraded as your business grows.

3. ProStores

ProStores allows merchants to quickly and easily choose a store design, add products, set up payments and shipping so they can be open for business right away. ProStores also offers e-commerce packages tailored to eBay sellers. Online stores start at $29.95 per month plus a 0.5 percent transaction fee. Plans can be upgraded for larger businesses. You can learn more about ProStores features in this ecommerce-Guide review.

4. Shopify

Shopify provides everything you need to get your online store up and running. You can accept credit card payments, use your own domain and customize your store design. The hosted service also has built-in analytics to help you track your store's progress over time, or you can integrate third-party services like Google Analytics. Pricing starts at $29 plus a 2.0 percent transaction fee for a basic storefront with up to 100 products. Plans can be upgraded based on your business needs.

5. Volusion

Volusion is an all-in-one e-commerce solution that allows you to design and manage your storefront online, plus provides tools for marketing, merchandising, CRM and more. Small business pricing starts at $29 per month for up to 100 products. Plans can be upgraded with additional features to suit larger businesses.

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