On the surface, finding an e-Commerce provider to host your new webstore is as easy as finding an ISP to host your website. The difference is what happens when you discover it's not working out.
With a website, you simply cancel the old account, find a new ISP, upload your existing content into the new site, and move on. Relocating a webstore, on the other hand, that's like going through a divorce without a prenup. Lots of knots to untangle, big and little. In e-Commerce, as in real life, it's a really good idea to start out with what you hope will be a lasting relationship.
To begin with, stay away from self-hosting. Small print shops (five million dollars in annual sales or less) have neither the time nor the resources to maintain the back end of a webstore.
If you ignore the fact that both cars are powered by Ford, you wouldn't think these two have anything in common. Oh, but they do. What's unique about this Boss 302 and this Shelby Cobra is that for twenty-six years they were sitting side by side, unregistered, in the Unitac print shop in upstate New York.
How that came about is a long story. I’ll keep it short, beginning with the Cobra. Back in the early Sixties, before you could walk into a dealership and drive out with a 300 horsepower minivan, too much horsepower was never enough.
Seven years ago, I sold the print shop I had established back in 1969. Despite the fact that we had our own home-brewed computer estimating and order entry system up and running by 1979 (pre IBM PC, when the only software you could buy came from the classified section in the back of Electronics Illustrated), our job tracking system never left the oversized corkboard and pushpin system on the shop wall.
Every large printing company in the world has streamlined their operations with a Management Information System, a print MIS. Most mid size companies have, too. That leaves many small shops where the owners or managers still use calculators to estimate printing. And pen and paper to write up job tickets. If you're among them, we need to talk.
"Visual means of apprehending the world are no longer possible." McLuhan said it, and to prove it, he wrote thirteen books. One more report of death that appears to have been greatly exaggerated.
The visual word shows no signs of aging. On the contrary, we seem to be rediscovering its strength. Time Magazine, in a store on email and the Internet, wrote: "Just when the media of McLuhan were supposed to render obsolete the medium of Shakespeare, the online world is experiencing the greatest boom in letterwriting since the 18th Century." On closer look, the writer also had to ask: "If email represents the renaissance of prose, why is so much of it so awful?"
Everyone benefits when we make good writing a habit. Whether you write to teach or to entertain, to motivate or merely to inform, you'll be more effective if you take to heart these simple secrets: