Pawn shops are places where people who need cash can sell or loan their possessions. Pawn shops also offer people an opportunity to purchase unusual or distinctive items, sometimes at a reduced price. People are accustomed to visiting a local pawn shop, where a professional can determine the value of pawned items. Starting an online pawn shop requires creative ways to provide the same service.

Purchase a domain name for your online pawn shop. A domain name identifies your website and is the address people type into their web browser to reach your website. Choose a name that is easy to remember and spell. Online domain registrars typically charge from $2 to $14 per year or more as of 2010.

Purchase web hosting for your website. Because your online pawn shop should have a lot of images, you may have to pay more for your web hosting services. Web hosts are responsible for maintaining the servers that handle your content and the traffic to your website. Web hosts typically charge from $3 to over $100 per month as of 2010. TheSiteWizard website offers hints on how to select the appropriate web hosting service.

Determine the structure of your online pawn shop. One option is a system in which customers mail a product to you so you can sell the product online. You also may set up an escrow account from which funds are released to the customer only after the product is received. Avoid a system in which you may have to mail products back to your customers; that is costly.

Determine the appearance of your website. Sketch a design for your proposed website. Use word-processing software to write the welcome message, frequently asked questions and other content for your website. Ensure there are no spelling or grammatical errors.

Create your pawn shop website. Your website will be an e-commerce site where people can view items and add them to a virtual shopping cart to make purchase. Free or paid website templates are availabe online. You also may hire a website designer. A directory of designers is a available at the GetAFreelancer or Elance websites.

Produce images of items already in your possession you would like to pawn. Use a digital camera and use the same background for all images, if possible.

Attract customers. Besides using the typical social networking methods, advertise in forums your target market is likely to visit. Consider using advertising conduits such as Google AdWords.