Having a virtual storefront is a very inexpensive way of displaying and selling your products - and you can tap into a whole new market by employing this method. Here are 5 tips to help you set up your online store:

1. Create an Attractive Website

The first thing to do is to create an attractive website and register it. You can register your business name as your website if it is available. Mention your company history on your site, along with any milestones that you might have achieved.

Showcase your products in an attractive manner. If you do not want to mention the rates of your products or services for fear of your competitors finding out, then offer an e-mail address where your customers can post their inquiries.

2. Get Your Online Store On The Top Of All the Search Engines

Your website designer along, with an SEO expert, should insert keywords into the code of your website so that it ends up on the top 5 or 10 for any of the search engine results pages (SERPS).

This will ensure that your website has a greater chance of getting hits by qualified prospects than it would have otherwise. If you don't use keywords that are related to your target market, then your online store probably won't see many sales.

Your website should also have the capability of accepting online payments through credit card or through traditional methods such as check or cash.

It should also be secure to prevent anyone from trying to hack into your site and defraud you or your customers; your website programmer can help you by integrating SSL (secure socket layer) security into your online store.

3. Offer Special Discounts

In order to get an accurate feedback on how many people are actually placing orders after checking out your online store, you can offer special discounts or freebies for customers who place their orders through the Internet. This will provide you with accurate data on how many people were actually able to get access to your online store.

4. Form Virtual Partnerships

Form online partnerships with different companies that are not in competition with you, but offer related products to their customers. This opens the doors for more customers to enter your site - and this move will benefit not only your business, but also your virtual partners.

5. Sort Out Shipping and Tax Matters

Your online store will enable you to get orders from customers that might be in another state or even in another country.

You should form relationships with reliable shippers who will deliver your products on time to your customers. The tax to be charged to your customers will also vary from state to state and from country to country. Make sure that you know who to tax and how much.