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researching for e-commerce

I need your help with researching

I need information/research on off the shelf systems for e-commerce and I need a comparison on the features and price.

Can your answers be in paragraphs and can I get the resources?

Thank you,

Your HELP is GREATLY appreciated.

Solution Preview

Hi there,

Here is some info for you regarding e-commerce and off the shelf:

When you decide to open an online store, you face a range of options, from outsourcing everything to doing it all yourself. Choosing the software that will run your store is a complex process, and even if you don't plan to do it yourself you'll still need enough information to make informed choices. To help make up your mind, run through this summary of your choices, along with their advantages and drawbacks.

Build your own system. When you build your own online store, you have full control. You can customize each aspect of the site to optimize performance and to integrate with existing inventory, accounting and other legacy systems. You can tinker with your store until you get it just the way you want it, and you can quickly change it to take advantage of emerging opportunities.

Several vendors offer tools that help you build a custom online store. Companies such as Microsoft and Macromedia offer e-commerce toolkits that provide the technology and the development tools for building an e-commerce site. These toolkits include the basic software components that run an online store, software "hooks" that can link to databases or other back-end systems, and even their own programming languages.

If you plan to build an online store from the ground up, you must be prepared to do some very basic development, using your own code to stitch together the various database, tax, shipping, fulfillment and page-serving modules that will make up the finished site. These are time-consuming jobs, and your store will take longer to build than an off-the-shelf system. Even a basic custom store will cost you at least $10,000, and many stores cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to build and maintain. The bottom line is that unless you have some very good reasons for building your own system, you're better off using an existing e-commerce tool.

Buy an existing system. Many vendors produce e-commerce packages that are suitable for a variety of business needs. By mixing and matching features within these packages, you can create a sophisticated e-commerce site in fairly short order.

Basic e-commerce systems usually offer prebuilt store templates or "wizards" that guide you through the setup process and help you get your store up and running. They also come with ready-to-use shopping cart software that stores your customers' purchases as they select them, calculates prices, collects a customer's information and then submits credit card information to your bank. More advanced e-commerce systems let you import and publish existing product catalogs on the Web and tie your online store to a database or other systems.

You do give up some ...

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