A few things to consider when buying an Online Store or Shopping Cart Package on eBay.
I also recommend taking your time to do some research on the web before buying, there's some great deals out there - just make sure you get the one that best suits you.
If the seller is offering Domain Registration as part of a package, it's important to check if you will have actual ownership
of the domain and how much it will cost to renew it once the free period is over. What if you decide you want to take your
domain name elsewhere in the future?
You may find it safer to register your a domain name yourself and ask the seller how you can link it to your new website.
This can vary a lot from seller to seller. Most offer a short free hosting period and then charge a monthly fee so it's
worth calculating how much this will cost you over a year. You'll also want to know if the ongoing cost of hosting is likely
to increase in the future.
Another thing that is important is getting the right hosting for your website. It's possible that you could end up paying a
monthly charge for a load of hosting features that aren't even being used, shop around and ask questions to find out if it's
really worth the money.
Find out how reliable the hosting is, what systems and software are running and if there are any bandwidth restrictions or hidden charges.
SHOPPING CART SOFTWARE
Look at some of the big name online stores, home shopping websites and catalog sites. Use these as a benchmark for the look, feel and fuctionality of your website. Is the software up-to-date, are the latest features included?
There are a lot of shopping carts out there that will work just fine, but lack the additional fuctions that online shoppers have come to expect. Can customers create an account and login? Is there a guest checkout? Does the site automatically send emails to update customers about their orders? Is there an inbuilt RMA system? Can you intergrate live chat? The list goes on. Basically the site should be a lot more than just a shopping cart, it should manage every aspect of your customer interaction.
ADMIN & SUPPORT
You will most likely be the one who adds and edits products, prices, catergories, special offers and everything else; so you'll want this to be as easy as possible.
All shopping carts come with a 'simple' administration control panel which is easy to say if you're a web designer! The truth is that it's not very difficult - all you need is some good instructions, some examples and someone on hand to help out if you get stuck! Ask the seller if this is included in the price.
Ask how you will access help in the future and how quickly you can expect a response, don't end up on your own!
As it's your site, you are responsible for ensuring everything is above board. Ensure that your given a copy of the licence agreement for your software. Ensure that any logos provided are not copyrighted by someone else. Ensure that you are not being asked to agree to any unfair terms or conditions. Ensure the seller is meeting their obligations under the UK Distance Selling Regulations.
Finally, don't be afraid to ask lots of questions!