Hi. I have a small retail business and plan to start a website. I'm looking for some automated solutions that makes it easier to run my business online. I have 2 questions:
Q1. Is there any popular ecommerce software I can use that helps with web content management, inventory management, processing orders, etc?
Q2. Are there any companies that will manage my website for me? Doing things like updating my inventory, managing web content, processing orders, handling customer service issues, etc? It's mainly a desk job, but I don't want to sit behind a screen all day. Any good virtual assistants maybe?
If you want to have sucess with your e-com venture then you will need to put some time into it.
For your shopping system you should look into OSCommerce or ViArt, finally to make it full automatically then you will need someone to make some software that will build the link from your shopping system to your accounting system.
1. Hagio Web Hosting has oscommerce script like other webhosting Companies in built that means you can install oscommerce in a click.
2. You will find many guys in different forums to mange the system but I will not suggest you to take full managed service. Because it is ecommerce and your virtual assistant can be a scammer. You should take control in one point.
There are many good solutions out there, the main question is what you need for your company. For fully mananged solutions that you own the license to the software, I would suggest shopsite, Storefront.net, or xSellit.
With xSellit, not only do you own your license, but they do the work for you, they can even put your products in for you.
However, that said, day to day management is something you should be involved in. After all, it is your business. I might suggest finding a college student or technical college student that you could hire part time to manange your store after launching it. It is probably cheaper and with solutions today, most of the management can be done online from any location.
I would suggest that you need to invest some time to study various ecommerce solutions around such as Magento, OSCommerce, X-cart, CS Cart.. I would suggest you can go with Magento as it's free and open source.. you can get it installed in few mins and you can start with any free theme available but certainly you need to invest some time to get acquainted with it.. you get lots of free and paid extension as per your needs.. checkout their website at http://www.magentocommerce.com