A Word About E-Commerce

If you're considering an e-commerce site to reach the estimated 20 million shoppers out there who purchase goods and services online, you'll need to find ways to display products, update catalog offerings, and handle cash transactions. If you're technologically inclined, you can use the kind of e-commerce software offered by ecbuilder.com. To manage your cash exchanges, you have several interesting options. You can accept credit card payments by running special software on your server; however, this is complicated. Like most people, you can outsource this function to a company like ecash.com or echarge.com, which can charge your customers' purchases to their phone bills.

Some other Internet companies offer inexpensive ways for small merchants to handle customer transactions over the Web, too. The site cdnow.com, which provides shopping cart software, secured credit card transactions, and toll-free customer service features, will take care of your client billings for a 9.5% cut from each sale. It doesn't charge any set-up or monthly fees. Two other sites, jumbomall.com and icat.com offer similar services, if you've established a merchant account with a bank.