DEFINING YOUR E-COMMERCE NEEDS
E-Commerce 101 means defining the specific e-commerce solution you require. More specifically, it depends on finding the right e-commerce solution that fits you and your business. Below are some points to consider.
First, let’s take a look at a few different eCommerce systems. Please also see, What is the best eCommerce system.
FLAT FILE PAGE, NON-INTERACTIVE SHOPPING PAGE
The simplest eCommerce method is an online flat-file page. A flat-file page lets visitors print and fax product orders or phone in their orders.
Another simple eCommerce method is a non-interactive shopping page. A non-interactive page sends each online order as a simple e-mail. In other words, no credit card transactions take place online.
MULTI-PAGE SECURE ORDER FORM WITH SHOPPING CART
A multi-page order form is where visitors can pick products while looking at the site, change their order, preview order, and submit online. Orders are sent as e-mail or accessed via the website administration area.
These systems also have real-time credit card processing, with a robust shopping interface that includes things such as coupons, wish lists, and up-selling on checkout.
LIST ALL CREDIT CARDS THE SITE WILL ACCEPT
Make it clear what types of online payment you will accept. (Visa, Master Card, AMEX, Discover). Other online payment methods include Pay Pal, Bitcoin, and electronic checks.
List information such as codes, taxes, duties, etc., which can help expedite orders and reduce international costs. Shipping products internationally can be complicated and costly.
Moreover, consider how your sales tax will calculate for online orders. For example, some states have rates that differ from county to county.
DEVELOP A BUSINESS SLOGAN OR CATCHPHRASE
Give reasons why your business beats the competition. To illustrate, showcase your USP. (Unique Selling Proposition)? Because customers tend to look for information as a priority over shopping online.
While they may surf at other sites, they will continually return to the places they trust intuitively and solve their problems.
ENCOURAGE VISITORS TO PURCHASE
A visitor may need to return many times before purchasing (studies suggest as many as five times). What can you do to encourage customers to buy now and abandon the need to continue to search?
WEB SURFERS HAVE SHORT ATTENTION SPANS
Web surfers may not remember your site and will probably not return unless you give them a compelling reason to do so. How can you encourage repeat visitors and referrals? Encourage visitors to submit their e-mail addresses voluntarily.
ENCOURAGE E-MAIL SIGNUPS
Free offers, contests, referral forms, surveys, and requests for information forms can be valuable tools to encourage e-mail signups. What can you offer that can be digitally delivered on-site (computer wallpaper, screen savers, special reports, online coupons, affiliate programs, etc.) and is free?
WRITE UNIQUE CONTENT FOR YOUR SITE
Since most surfers seek information, any place online containing large amounts of data keeps visitors engaged. The site becomes a winner when coupled with quality design, competitive products and services, and outstanding customer service.
CONTROL ONLINE FRAUD
Fraudulent orders might result in the termination of your company’s merchant account. Moreover, the possibility of blacklisting by other merchant account providers can be a severe problem.
Therefore, use manual authorization. In the same way, accept no unmatched orders (even if there is an approval code).
Call to authorize international orders, ship only to the billing address listed on a credit card, double-check on large orders with overnight shipping, refuse online orders from customers with free e-mail domains.
ADD VALUE TO PRODUCTS AND SERVICES
If your prices cannot be competitive, consider other methods to showcase your products and services. Here are some examples.
OFFER FREE BONUSES
PROVIDE LIFETIME WARRANTIES
OFFER FREE SHIPPING AND HANDLING
DISCOUNT UPGRADES, ETC
Consumers will see these offers as value-added benefits.
USE A SURVEY FORM
Consider offering an incentive to customers to take part in this survey. Surveys can also be used as exit strategies to gather helpful information as visitors leave the site.
DEFINE YOUR DELIVERY POLICIES
Customers will probably buy if there is immediate delivery. Do you know how long it takes for orders to be received? A customer will not buy from a site if it shows a complete cost breakdown of their order (price, tax, shipping, etc.) online.
Will you join any affiliate programs and link those sites to your website?
Will your site use any digital delivery systems to protect customer passwords? Security is important!
SECURE SALES AND LEADS
Will low price lead in products be followed with sales on the back end for higher-priced products and services? Products up to $20.00 meet little resistance.
On the other hand, products that cost thousands of dollars may require a longer sales process. Complex services might only be closed using real salespeople.
Is a plan in place to secure and qualify leads? How can you remove as much risk from the buyer as possible (warranty, return policy, etc.)? What is your sales cycle? Can you close sales online without human interaction, or do you need to follow up on leads generated?
Do you have a brick-and-mortar or other off-web location or contact point (like a mail-order catalog)?
How do you see the website and offline business working together? What are the weak points of each and the strong points that can be exploited? Don’t try to recreate a catalog showroom on the web.
Use the website to drive people to your physical location. To handle customer service support after hours, offer online coupons that can be printed and redeemed at the physical location (and vice versa) use the physical site to promote the website.
NEW MARKETS VERSUS EXISTING MARKETS
Is this a new market you are creating for your product/service, or is there already an existing market?
In other words, selling in an existing market is more comfortable and less risky. Understanding what you are offering already exists since different companies have paved the way. Therefore look into existing distribution channels are you able to tap.
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To learn more, contact the professional eCommerce web design experts at VISIONEFX.
Call us at 757-619-6456 or contact us here.
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