Quick Menu

Web Tips

10 Proven Tips to Help You Start in Ecommerce

10 Proven Tips to Help You Start in Ecommerce

Having an online store is proving to be one way of recession proofing your business. Whether you're thinking of getting started, or you've been trading online for years, here are 10 proven tips to help you succeed in ecommerce.

1. Getting the message out.

No matter how good your idea is, how wonderful your product or service, orhow fantastic your website looks, unless people know about it you're going nowhere. You need to have an online marketing strategy in place from day one. This means understanding the impact of search engine optimisation and pay per click advertising on your business.Also, don't forget the power of email as an efficient and cheap way to communicate with prospects and clients alike.

2. Remember offline marketing

Although your target prospects will be online, don't forget they are offline more of the time. Don't underestimate the importance of offline marketing such as direct mail, telemarketing, media advertisingand PR to drive visitors to your website. Sit down and carefully assess which of these can help you best.

3. Sell from the moment they arrive

Once you have someone on your site don't lose them because they have a poor shopping experience. Make sure your site issimple to use, that productsare easy to find and that ordering and payment is a smooth process. Focus everything on your website on getting people to buy. Everything else is fluff.

4. Make online payment simple and secure

The biggest concern for online shoppers is security of their payment details. Make sure you choose a reputable and secure online payment provider. Better still,use more than one, because some shoppers may have had a poor experience with a particular provider, so give thema choice.

5. Don't overlook your hosting

Your website needs to be open for business as much as possible. A poor hosting service may result in your website being offline too often, the equivalent of a high street shop being closed with locked doors. Check your hosting service is up to scratch and what their actual uptime figures are. Perfection is hard to achieve, but anything less than 98% needs to be questioned.

6. Getting it delivered

Make sure you have an efficient shipping and delivery system in place before those orders come rolling in. Poor delivery is one of the biggest reasons people don't return to make further purchases. There are plenty of reputable specialist firms to choose from, so don't try to cut corners by just using 'a man with a van'.

7. Comply with the EU Distance Selling Directive

This includes making it clear who you are by providing full contact details, including your address and telephone number. You must also accept goods for return within 7 working days. Visit the Office of Fair Trading website at www.oft.gov.uk for the document 'A guide for businesses on distance selling'.

8. The disabled are your customers too

Make sure you comply with the law concerning taking 'reasonable' steps to provide access to people with disabilities. This applies as much to your online store as it does to a high street shop. Examples would include, allowing an increase in text size and giving all your images an alternate text tag so visually impaired people can still navigate your website. As well as being the law, it makes business sense to encourage a market likely to be keen online shoppers.

9. Privacy Matters

Protection of personal informationis an important issue, especially online. Selling online will usually mean you process personal information, in which case you will almost certainly need to register with the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO). The ICO website is www.ico.gov.uk

10. Avoiding Fraud

Fraudis the equivalent of shop lifting to online traders and both are very difficult to eliminate entirely. However, you can take steps to avoid it as much as possible. Here are some tips to help you look out for fraudulent orders:

  1. Unfortunately it is true that foreign orders outside of Europe and North America are more likely to be fraudulent. If in doubt, stick to safer geographical areas
  2. They tend to choose the most expensive shipping method available
  3. They tend to choose the most expensive products
  4. They often use free email addresses such as Yahoo! or Hotmail

Other steps you can take include; checking a telephone number provided is genuine, ask for proof of name and address to be faxed and ask for a fax copy of the back strip of the credit card used.

Some of these tips may seem to be about the onerous task of fulfilling red tape or legislation. But not complying may well give a shopper a reason not tobuy fromyou. So, instead of looking at these as a hurdle to overcome, view them as something to use to promote your business as being trustworthy, credible and ethical.

To find out more about how we can help you with designing a new ecommerce website, or updating an existing one, just ring us now on 0116 275 8456 or visit our website at www.impactwebsolutions.co.uk .