Starting an online bookstore is similar to starting any other businesses. First, we have to know the basic concept of how a bookstore runs. Bookstore is a retail store. It provides books and other merchandise to customers. Store format of a bookshop is transformed into an online store that still offers books to wider customers. Because the initial capital for starting an online bookstore is smaller than the amount needed for starting a brick and mortar one, the price of books and other products will usually be cheaper. However, the total cost a customer has to pay may be higher especially if the distance for shipping the book is far. For instance, it is not effective to buy a notebook PC from an online store in Japan, if the customer can get a similar product at an electronic or bookshop in his town.
Software that is needed for starting an online bookstore
I have mentioned some e-commerce software which anybody can use to run an online store. My recommendation will be Zen-cart or OS commerce. There are a lot of e-commerce solution which store owners can download for free or buy to power their online business. The above shopping cart software use MySQl and PHP to process all of the bookselling transactions. I recommend them to new entrepreneurs because they are free and relatively easy to be operated. Although they are free, they are very powerful and expandable. A lot of online bookstores and other retail shops have used zen-cart and os-commerce to serve customers worldwide. The management of an online bookstore is not too different from the management of store format bookshop. From my personal experience in running Xavier bookstore, I see that it is even easier to run an online bookstore because the number of employees needed to run an online store is fewer than a retail store. We do not need bigger rooms filled with store employees in every shelves. Bookshelves needed by an online bookstore are not as many as the conventional physical bookshop format. I even do not have any workers for running my online toko-buku-online-sapphire.com. When a customer order a book, the whole process is handled automatically by the shopping cart software. Store owner or manager or also called admin staff only works in back office page to complete the transaction when the money has been transfered by the customer for the book that he or she orders.
Fantastico feature in a webhosting package
Most of the webhosting packages on the internet now provide fantastico to their potential customers. If you are serious in starting an online bookstore, you should consider of this feature. Fantastico has a number of shopping cart software that can be installed into the webhosting package that you have paid. You don't need to download zen-cart or os-commerce from their official webpages anymore. What you need to do is clicking the fantastico link and installing the shopping cart software for your new online bookstore.
Payment Gateway System and Shipping
Two important things that you have to know before fully running your bookshop are the payment gateway system and the shipping of your products to your customers. The easiest way is to apply for a merchant account in paypal.com. For the shipping cost, you need to check the companies in your country that handle the shipment of such products as books, cameras and other electronic goods that are usually sold by online stores. Your first choice is the national postal service. If you are in Europe, you can check whether DHL can support or online store by providing feature where customers can get a cost for the shipment of the books from your store to their houses.
Starting an online bookstore as member of Amazon associate.