Read these 13 E-Commerce Solutions Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Shopping Cart tips and hundreds of other topics.
Ecommerce solutions guidelines: Depending on your level of expertise, you may want an ecommerce solution provider who does it all for you, or an ecommerce solution that puts you more in control. For the novice, it's best to look for a one-stop, total ecommerce web site solution for your online business. Consider services such as Yahoo Small Business, which can provide everything from an SSL for your ecommerce shop to credit card processing. Other features you should try to ensure you have from your ecommerce solution provider are live technical support, shopping cart software and the ability to track your sales and inventory through reporting.
All ecommerce solutions offer different services, and usually offer different price plans according to what your needs are for your internet business. Watch out that you only get the ecommerce internet solution that fits you best or you may find you're paying extra for features you don't need. Make a grocery list before you even hit the websites in search of your ecommerce solutions, and don't sign up until you check off all your major needs.
Generally speaking, a good ecommerce solution provider should allow you to list as many items as you sell. Most reputible ecommerce solutions are flexible enough to handle thousands of items in categories you can set up. Remember, overkill on products is not necessarily the best way to grow your online business. If you can do one thing really well and employ the right sales and marketing techniques, you should succeed well as you sell online!
Several services are out there providing a self-service ecommerce solution. These solutions allow you to get your internet business off the ground quickly by providing point-and-click administration of your new business. Ecommerce web site solution services usually offer a selection of templates, credit card processing and take all the pain out of building your ecommerce store.
On the internet, it's all about marketing…whether search engine marketing or special deals to your customers. To be able to handle gift certificates and discount codes, you need to make sure your ecommerce solution includes such options. Look for ecommerce solutions that specifically mention gift certificates or discount codes. If you are in doubt, you should talk to your ecommerce solution provider of choice before making the commitment to their service.
More ecommerce solutions guidelines: Like marriage, you should plan for the long term. While most ecommerce solution websites do not make you sign a contract, some will charge a setup fee. Research is your best friend. Look for places that have clients that you have heard of before and testimonials from current users. Also, your feature needs are dependent on your online business needs, but make sure at the very least they provide an easy way to handle order fulfillment, credit card processing and a reliable help desk.
Marketing research has shown that it takes an average of seven times of exposure before a potential customer is aware of a product and ready to buy. Is there a way to get that exposure on the Internet?
It may seem impossible since unlike other mediums of advertising, such as print and TV, you can't show your ads, your website that is, unless your visitor voluntarily returns. But there is a way. A series of messages can be sent to your visitors on a predetermined schedule automatically.
An auto-responder series is exactly that, a series of pre-written emails that are automated to be sent on schedule to anyone who provides their name and email address. The auto-responder program can handle thousands of different emails on different schedules once it's set up. Keep the number of the series reasonable, after all you don't want to irritate your potential customer by bombarding them with a message every day for weeks.
The trick is to coax the visitor into giving you his/her email address. That can be done by offering a free ebook, report, audio book or a discount coupon. The second trick is to keep the email messages as noncommercial as possible while still promoting the product. Not an easy task, but you want your potential customers to open each of the emails sent by the auto-responder and read them. Not just hit the delete key.
An auto-responder series can put your product in front of your customer automatically.
Congratulations! Your ecommerce site is buzzing and you can barely keep up with the emails from customers asking questions... the same questions, over and over. An auto-responder is your ecommerce Internet solution for this dilemma.
An auto-responder is an email address that responds automatically with a pre-written message to any email delivered to it. FAQs (frequently asked questions) on a web page are a valuable means of helping customers decide whether to purchase a product. However, those FAQs can be difficult to find. By the time the customer has found the FAQs page, waded through all the questions they don't need answered, they may lose interest in your product. Or just give up and leave your website completely.
Including a question such as "Need more information?" Or "Find out more" at the end of the product description with a link to email your auto-responder gives the customer a fast easy way to get the information they need. No need to look for any FAQ page. As a bonus when your customer receives the message they're reminded to go back to your site.
Several auto-responders can be set up, each scripted to answer a different question. Your customer gets the information they need to make an informed purchase decision.
If you have a limited number of products and don't require any integration between your storefront and your offline systems, Ebay may be the ecommerce solution for your business. There is no coding to learn or website to maintain. Opening your Ebay store takes minutes.
Setting up a storefront on Ebay is quick and easy. The first step is to set up an Ebay account and method of payment. Using PayPal as the method of payment is encouraged by Ebay since both companies are owned by the same entity. There is no set up fee for PayPal, you will just need a credit card and bank account to verify the PayPal account. Your customers can use their credit card to pay through PayPal without setting up their own account.
Ebay charges a minimal fee to initiate an auction and takes a percentage of the final auction price if the product is sold.
Take clear digital photographs of your products. Sharp photos showing details sell more products for you. In the description of the product make sure you use key words that potential customers will use to find you within the Ebay site.
The disadvantages of an Ebay store is there is no shopping cart facility, no customization, and limited customer interaction. Each product has to be bid on and paid for separately. Your customer doesn't have the flexibility to select a group of products and pay for them all at once. The Ebay store doesn't represent your business only the products you offer. Your customer may not even remember your company's name.
E-commerce solutions range from setting up a fill-in-the-blanks store front at Amazon.com/Ebay/MSN shopping to customized platforms. Prices range from minimal to thousands of dollars a month. Technical expertise required ranges from none to moderate.
If this is your first e-commerce venture then getting your feet wet with a storefront may be the answer. There's no programming necessary and usually no fee or a very minimal fee. You don't have to worry about maintaining a website. The downside is customers won't find you unless they're looking for similar products at, say, MSN Shopping for example.
Template platforms are e-commerce solutions for a business that wants to maintain its own identity with a website, offer a limited number of products, and doesn't need customization. The template is usually offered with hosting, a shopping cart and payment processor. This is a good e-commerce solution for a business starting up online, or offering an online version of a bricks and mortar store. The disadvantage is there is little to no integration with back office systems and not much flexibility.
Custom e-commerce solutions are necessary when a great deal of customization is necessary and integration with back office systems such as accounting, shipping and inventory control. The downside is the expense.
Choose your e-commerce solution based on your current needs but keep in mind what you'll require in the future.
For most small businesses, keeping track of inventory can be an annoying and time consuming task. Forgetting to count products to be sure that new inventory doesn't need to be ordered can mean missed sales opportunities or having to disappoint customers with unnecessary delays as you wait for items that are usually in stock to come in.
An ecommerce solution can make inventory tasks easy because once the business owner accurately enters the inventory into the system, the number of items are automatically updated as merchandise is sold, and the ability to import/export this information is also valuable. This means that a quick online inventory check is all that is needed to find out what items need to be restocked.
If you have an offline shop or you are selling products online without using one of the affordable e-commerce solutions for small businesses, you are probably missing out on online sales. E-commerce solutions are important for small business success because:
If you have a small business, you know that working a 40 hour work week is a pipe dream. Small business owners typically work 60 or more hours a week to help their businesses succeed. An ecommerce Internet solution can help small business increase sales without taking away from your precious time because: