3 Tips For Building an Ecommerce Site

Most websites never make any significant sales.

In fact most so called “ecommerce” sites are costly brochures for overpriced web designers.

If you want your ecommerce site to make real sales and become a genuine lead generator and profit stream for your business you need to give up the idea of making your website look fancy and embrace the idea of using your website as a selling tool.

The first tip to building an ecommerce site that makes real sales is understanding the strengths and weaknesses of internet marketing and websites.

Online you can deliver a huge amount of valuable content to your prospects and clients at minimal cost.

You can pre-educate prospects with text, images, streaming audio and video.

You can send your prospects a series of emails one after the other leading them to this content and you can automate the whole process.

In the same way you can send clients who’ve just bought from you a whole range of information on how to get the most from your product or service.

You can tell them to most common problems and how to overcome them, the most common mistakes and how to avoid them.

So delivering information over the internet is a fantastic strength of this media.

But if you try to make all your sales online you’ll be leaving a fortune on the table.

A well crafted online sales letter will never get the same response as talking to a prospect through mail, over the phone, through live chat or in person.

Once you understand this you can analyze the sales process your prospects go through before they buy your product and use the internet to deliver information but also follow up by mail, phone or in person at key times when your prospects are most likely to buy.

The great news here is that after being pre-educated with your online sales process closing the sale offline with your prospects should be very easy.

The second tip for building an ecommerce site that makes real sales is to design your site around what your prospects need at each stage of the sales process.

Forget about looking pretty.

While functional, professional looking web design is important the most effective ecommerce websites focus very heavily engaging qualified prospects with information that is useful to them in a media that appeals to them.

Some prospects love streaming video…some love print…some love audio.

In some cases you might want to give all three options at some point in your online pre-education process.

You need to get to know your prospects and clients so you have a better understanding of the kind of information and the kind of media they prefer.

Always keep in mind that while we justify our purchases based on rational reasons we actually make our purchasing decisions based on emotional reasons.

So presenting your information in a way that has more emotional impact…through engaging real life stories, through video and audio…is far more likely to bring your prospects to the point where they’re read to buy.

The third and final tip for building an ecommerce site that makes real sales is to have a definite call to action on every one of your website pages.

If a page on your website is there to entice new prospects into your sales process then give them a valuable incentive for sharing their name and email address to get more information from you.

Tell them to enter that name and email address and tell them about the valuable gift they’ll get in return and the valuable information you’ll be sending them by email in the future.

If you have a page that’s further on in your sales process designed to get your prospect to finally take action tell your prospect to call you on the phone for a free quote or for a free personal consultation.

If you don’t have a strong call to action on your web page then your prospects are most likely to do absolutely nothing.

You need to build trust in your prospects then get them to take the next step.

That’s how you build an ecommerce site that turns prospects into eager paying clients.

New Trends In Ecommerce

Definition

Ecommerce is defined as the trading (buying and selling) of goods and services on the internet. Ecommerce depends on a lot of basic essentials to carry out e-trading. One of them is the EDI or the Electronic Data Interchange which deals with orders, supplies, payments, deliveries etc. Ecommerce relies on Emails, FAX and data mining techniques to gather data of all kind related to the markets, customers etc.

Basic Requirements

Market research and product research go a long way in assisting ecommerce take hold amongst the internet users. The needs for a good ecommerce web store, is connectivity, database capacity, tested ecommerce platform with related applications and extension. Internet security is very much essential.

Internet security like encryption of data and secure server links play a key role in promoting confidence amongst the users who adapt to Ecommerce. Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) has been built into advanced web browsers as the demand for Ecommerce grows. Ecommerce can be B2B, B2C, C2C, and C2B and so on. B2B is between business to business while B2C is the retail store part where the Business and Customer meet. The bulk of the ecommerce activities are seen under B2B category that is Business to Business.

New Trends

Today Ecommerce has evolved as a major challenge to the conventional trading methods with the advent of many new technologies and techniques. Today different ecommerce platforms are available to host the web stores on. Magento, OS Commerce etc are a few of the really popular platforms. Magento ecommerce platform has achieved tremendous popularity on account of its flexibility and feature-rich interface. Different secure payment gateways are available today to securely conclude the financial transactions.

The availability of Secure Socket Layers and dependable encryption methods have made Ecommerce trustworthy and smooth. The processes of ecommerce, like communication, process management, service management and transaction capabilities are today fine tuned with the help of scores applications and extensions.

Successful ecommerce is the holistic integration of effective web design resulting in easy and quick navigation, integrated search engine optimization bringing in new customers, advanced marketing and product display applications, quick order handling functions and of course, last but not the least, shipping and delivering on time.

Today there are scores of tools for ecommerce. This is apart from the availability of various ecommerce platforms and the plethora of extensions. Shopping carts, payment gateways, order managers and such others constitute the key tools for ecommerce.

The ease of use of internet, the easy availability of internet, huge advancement in the technology of the internet and the specific ecommerce platforms and software, have all led to the rapid growth of ecommerce.

With the demand for online transactions growing fast and the synchronized growth of applications for facilitating online transactions, ecommerce is set to reach new dizzying heights of usage and popularity.

How Customers Can Help Improve Your Ecommerce Site

Getting people to visit your ecommerce website is always good; but translating these clicks into sales is even better. When it comes to promoting your ecommerce site, creating traffic is always important. Even if you have a good ecommerce web hosting plan for your site, if you are not significantly turning these clicks to sales, then it could be a huge problem for your online business. In this case, you need to improve your ecommerce site. Other than a reliable ecommerce web hosting plan, you can improve your site’s usability by knowing exactly what your customers want. You may not know it, but other than the right ecommerce web hosting plan, your customers just may be the very people who can help make your ecommerce site achieve its goals.

For one, customers want you to be specific. For instance, if you offer free shipping for orders, then your customers expect that their purchases will be shipped to them for free wherever they may be located. Unless your free shipping features are limited to selected locations, you need to be specific about it otherwise your customers will feel that you are ripping them off. Point out whether you offer free shipping for selected location or free shipping to anywhere and be clear about it. Customers always want to get what they expect from your ecommerce site. If you fail to give them what they want, then they will definitely leave.

Also, keep in mind that a customer’s time is precious, so you don’t want to waste his/her time taking interest in your product that is not available. When a customer sees a product on your ecommerce site, then s/he expects that it is available. Nothing can be frustrating or disappointing than for a customer to be informed that the item is not available just when it has already been dropped into his/her shopping cart. Always inform your customer beforehand that the product is unavailable. You would not want to waste your customer’s time, much less, confidence in your service.

To give your customers a better shopping experience at your ecommerce site, you may want to allow them to back-order a product once it is available. Several ecommerce web hosting packages come with a back-order feature so you might want to take advantage of that. If, however, you are unable to provide this feature, then get your customer’s contact info, at the very least. This way, you can make for a potential sale in future time.

Customers also do not like too many distractions especially when shopping online. You may offer cross-selling to your customers in your ecommerce site, in which you give recommendations or suggestions on related products. However, cross-sell items that are only related to what your customers pick. Suggesting items off their choices is not only an improper selling technique but can be very annoying for your customers as well.

Cross-selling should also stop once your customer checks out products from the shopping cart. The next thing that your customer wants is to close the sale, so avoid directing them to unrelated links. These unwanted links are not only unhelpful but they may change your customer’s mind about purchasing the item/s in his/her shopping cart. You would not want this to happen if you aim to make your e-commerce site profitable. This should also apply to window-shoppers on your ecommerce website. Avoid unnecessary pop-ups or advertisements as much as possible. The right ecommerce web hosting plan can help you avoid this from happening.

A customer’s attention span tends to be shorter especially when shopping online. Even in just a split second, they decide whether or not your ecommerce site can give them what they are looking for.

Moreover, you want to convince your customers that shopping in your ecommerce site is just a click away. If they have to click through your site so many times just to get to what they are really looking for, then they are more likely to abandon your ecommerce site. Customers also get annoyed with broken links and pages that load too slow as well, so avoid them as much as possible. To avoid this, get an ecommerce web hosting plan that allows superior usability.

Your ecommerce site should also pay a premium on customer’s privacy and do all means to protect it. Ask information that is only needed to close the sale. Asking too many questions may only draw suspicion among your customers. Your ecommerce site should provide your customers a safe and secure environment for giving out sensitive information.

You might want to get live chat software for your ecommerce site to better promote your products and provide maximum customer support. Although this may apply to bigger ecommerce sites, it can significantly boost sales. Many ecommerce web hosting providers offer this feature in their packages.