Do You Want Your Site to Be One of the Best Ecommerce Websites on the Net?

Ecommerce or electronic commerce is a sector which has gained tremendous popularity and is being used by a majority of people for some time now. Many ecommerce websites have come up lately on the internet. These sites have definitely made the process of buying and selling an easy and fun filled experience for people. Such websites are used for buying and selling of products or services with the help of the internet. There are numerous sites available on the internet and it is up to you to choose some of the best ecommerce websites if you need to purchase any product or service.

On the other hand if you wish to start your own ecommerce website, you can very well start one provided you make it look appealing for people who come online to visit your website. As we all know, the first impression is the best impression. This statement is true for starting and running an ecommerce websites. If you design your website in a proper and attractive way, then you will definitely get a good amount of online traffic visiting your ecommerce site for sure. This can in turn make your site, one of the best ecommerce websites on the internet.

There are many factors that play a vital role for the success of any website. If your website is user friendly, then automatically more and more people will start visiting your website and will soon be participating in the money transaction process through the buying and selling of products. This will ultimately raise the popularity of your site and yours will soon become one of the best ecommerce websites out there.

The other thing is that your site must be search engine friendly. If search engine friendliness is reached, quality customers will start visiting your website. This is actually very important.

Another important and easy way to find success through an ecommerce website is by staying in touch with the customers. Many sites have an e mail list of customers and are regularly in touch with them and therefore these sites have become the best ecommerce websites on the internet.

One more important tip for making your site user friendly is by making the buy button look prevalent. Not only this, but you can also use Alt tags in your images. This will make the buyers who use your site happy and will in turn increase the online traffic for your website.

By having in mind all the above tips, you can take your ecommerce website to great heights.

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.

Web 2.0 in eCommerce

There has never been a better time to start an online business! According to Jupiter Research, a market research firm, online retail spending in the United States will increase to a whopping $95 billion in 2006. In Europe things are getting even better! In next five years the number of online shoppers will increase 75 percent and per person average spending will increase 50 percent. This will push European eCommerce to $335 billion by 2011.

If you are planning to start a new online business or upgrade your existing eCommerce site, you should consider using some of the innovative ideas related to Web 2.0 concept. Three years ago if you would have searched the phrase “Web 2.0”, you probably would not have found any mention of this term on the Internet. Now, at the last count, Google showed close to 60 million results relevant to this search. Amazing! First time this term was coined by O’Reilly Media to vaguely define a concept of second generation websites which were emerging after the dot com crush. Since their first use of this phrase to promote conferences organized by O’Reilly Media and MediaLive International, the idea of Web 2.0 has become immensely popular in web development sector.

So, what is this Web 2.0 concept any way? There is no exact definition of Web 2.0 available today. If you run a search for a definition of this phrase the only quotation you will receive is from Wikipedia, which says, “Web 2.0 is a term often applied to a perceived ongoing transition of the World Wide Web from a collection of websites to a full-fledged computing platform serving web applications to end users. Ultimately Web 2.0 services are expected to replace desktop computing applications for many purposes.” Tell me if I am wrong, this definition does not give a slightest clue about what really is Web 2.0.

Tim O’Reilly himself explained the Web 2.0 phenomena in five pages of examples, abstract terminologies, sketches and jargon in a great article. Unfortunately, if you are not a very Internet-savvy person, you will have hard time understanding the concept clearly from this article. To make things worse if you read other articles on this subject you will be even more confused! The reason is simple! Being a new concept many ideas related to Web 2.0 are abstract and still forming. However, there are some fundamental principles and indicators of Web 2.0 ideology which are true for any Web 2.0 based sites even if it is an eCommerce one.

The problem with eCommerce is, although in last five years many changes, some are drastic, have taken place in philosophy, ideology and technology related to the Web, very few things have changed in eCommerce sites. Now, it all started to change! Even successful eCommerce sites are experimenting with new ideas born from Web 2.0 concept. The result is visible! A recent survey shows adoption of new interactive functionalities, innovative product catalog and better communication with users have increased online sales for 83 percent of respondents.

Earlier online merchants were not very keen to have customer interaction elements like product review and rating, online surveys, customer blogs, etc. fearing flames from unsatisfied customers. But a recent poll shows that this fear is unfounded. It seems that 9 percent shoppers polled wrote a product review on a store site about a product they liked against 4 percent who posted a review about a product they did not like. Same goes for surveys! There are 2.5 percent more chances that a satisfied customer will participate in a survey than an unsatisfied one.

Many eCommerce sites lose a large number of their prospective customers due to inadequate product information required to take an affirmative buying decision. Customer reviews and ratings can help merchants in this. More over a positive review works like a call for action for the people reading it.

Most professional classification systems used in eBusiness are pretty complicated for daily use. A good way to give users a better method of finding product is to incorporate user added keywords or “tags”. If a user likes a product and may buy it now, or may keep a reference of it for future use, she can add one or several informal keywords as tags and save. These tags are visible to others and can be displayed two ways: in tag clouds, where the most popular tags have bigger fonts and most recent tags, a list of newly added tags. The popularity of tags in numerous Web 2.0 sites proves viability of this device in eCommerce sites as well.

Elements like ability to do side-by-side comparison of several products, ability to customize products according to buyer’s need, and the ability to filter and search products without constant page reloading can increase conversion rate dramatically.

Many eCommerce sites have the functionality of sending email notification of new listings of products that a user is looking for. A good idea is to add RSS notification ability to enhance product information request service also.

A staggering 60 percent of online shoppers abandon their carts at some point in the buying process. The following site functionalities will help businesses to retain these shoppers:

o Shoppers should have the ability to see thumbnail pictures of the products inside the shopping cart.

o Editing and adding products to the shopping cart should be done automatically without reloading.

o Shoppers should be able to save shopping cart anytime and it should be saved automatically if connection fails.

o Shoppers should be able to drag and drop products to the cart and all calculation should be done automatically.

Many of the functionalities mentioned in this article were available long before Web 2.0 concept emerged and these are only a minuscule number of examples of abilities you can actually add to your Web 2.0 based eCommerce site, however, if you fail to notice the progress and take necessary actions, you maybe losing a great opportunity. Transformation in eCommerce sites is slow, but one thing is for sure, in coming years these sites will be noticeably different from what we have now.