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article imageOp-Ed: E-Commerce for everyone?

By Alexander Baron     Nov 19, 2013 in Business
E-Commerce has been with us for a long time now, but although you have probably bought on-line, have you ever considered selling?
Believe it or not, on-line shopping was pioneered as early as 1979 by Englishman Michael Aldrich. He may not be as famous as Tim Berners-Lee, but it didn't take long for the latter's invention - the WorldWideWeb - to adapt his innovation. E-commerce has now arrived, but unlike the Ritz, it is truly open to everyone, and that means you. Have you ever sold on-line?
Yes, there is Ebay, and may have sold one or two things on a site like Gumtree, but if you have a product to sell, what about opening your own on-line store?
You can open a store on Ebay; for UK subscribers a basis store is currently £19.99 per month while an anchor shop will cost you a whopping £249.99 per month.
Etsy is used by Steph Taylor to sell her Bohemian jewellery; although its fees are very reasonable in comparison with Ebay, it is a specialist site and therefore not suitable for general merchandise. In particular everything sold through the site must be handmade, vintage, or a craft supply.
Etsy is one of the new kids on the block, but Shopify has been around for 9 years, so is an established platform. According to a recent report, it is now accepting bitcoin. Yes, people do actually buy things with bitcoin as well as gamble with it! Unlike Etsy, Shopify is not a niche market; its fees compare very well with Ebay, it has its out point of sale software, an introductory video, lots of on-line help, and is currently offering a series of trial offers for small and not-so-small businesses.
There are many advantages of running an on-line store, not the least of which is that it dispenses with the need to pay at times scandalous business rates and to rent premises on the high street, which can require more staff, cleaning, expensive health and safety compliance, and so on.
Obviously there are some businesses that can operate only in the real world, until someone figures out how to cut hair on-line, but if you are considering setting up a business, or even if you have one already, it may be worth your while to set up shop on a dedicated retail website.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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