Plan A: An E-Commerce Site | Plan B: An eBay StorefrontThe best way to maximize your e-business potential is to build your own e-commerce Web site, tailored precisely to the needs of your customers and your business. For many small and even midsize companies, though, this Plan A is not completely realistic. Despite the fact that e-commerce Web sites are getting cheaper to build and host and easier to run and maintain, a full-fledged ecommerce site remains a daunting proposition for many companies.
So what's the Plan B alternative? It's actually Plan E: eBay. The giant marketplace makes it easy to get started selling anything, even in small volumes. Beyond auctioning off an item here and there, though, the next step is to open a storefront on eBay. Prices start at just $16 a month (for the Basic Store, for less than $500 in monthly sales) and go up from there. You can auction items eBay style, or sell at a fixed price. Of course, in exchange for access to its members and the various services it provides, eBay takes a significant chunk of your sales in various fees.
Bottom Line: Forget the alphabet. When you're talking e-commerce, Plan B comes before Plan A. Especially for small companies and startups, it makes perfect sense to begin your online sales efforts on eBay and then add your own site when you've got the sales volume to justify it and the skills and experience to handle it.
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