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4 Easy Steps to Successful Ecommerce
2010-01-09 21:57:20

In today?s article we are going to cover a number of possibilities for taking your products online and boosting up your conversion rates and sales. These tips include a great amount of knowledge that any business owner should have prior to getting a professional company involved in the process. So let?s get started shall we. Step 1: Website appeal = new design! First I will assume that you already have a company logo since brand is your #1 step on the to-do-list if you don?t have it. It?s important to have a modern logo and not a clip-art graphic that your t-shirt guy created for you. Second is your company website. Let?s go into detail here. To determine if you need to consider website upgrade or re-design we?ll go and look at some of the website details. How long has the website been active for? What kind of results did it produce over that period of time? What is the monthly conversion ratio it gets? How many people use the website based contact form, join a newsletter, sign up for product updates, or even buy a product online? If you failed to answer any of the above questions then it?s time to consider getting website analytics to track the performance, but we will cover that next. If your conversion rates are lower than 3% then it?s definitely a good idea to spice things up a notch and perhaps consider a new website design or modifying your product positioning. How will you know your website is not all it can be? Start searching for your own products online and compare your website to your competitors. Now it?s a good time to write what you like from their website and how you think you can improve your overall design. Step 2: Keeping track of your website performance = analytics Now let?s take a look into your website statistics. Wait, you said you don?t know what that is? Ok, for starters, it will help you understand how many people come to your website. Where these visitors are coming from, what keywords they use to find you, and much more. So our second step is keeping track of the website visitors. Track their behavior over period of time and we?ll know what we need to do in order to prevent it from happening in the future. Analytics are very important when it comes down to understanding your visitors? behavior in order for us to have a profitable website. There are two easy ways you can measure your analytics that won?t break your budget, or won?t ask for your wallet either. One is your existing website hosting statistics. Each hosting company today should provide you with their own in-house statistical data mostly available through their control panel. Second, install Google Analytics. Google offers their analytics free of charge and gives you a great amount of knowledge about your website performance and visitors that will just show you how great you are doing. Then as you make website changes you will see how it affects your website performance. Step 3: Putting your products in the storage = positioning You ever walked into a store and found yourself not being able to find what you are looking for? Or perhaps you did find it but they are out of display items so now you have to search for someone to help you get one from the back? Or how about hard to reach where you need a ladder to get to the product? Well same mistakes can be applied towards your website product positioning. Customers who come to your website are there for a reason. Obviously they are visiting because they are either curious to see who you are or they are searching for something you are offering. But now they find themselves lost in your pages. They can?t find what they came for, or they can?t really learn and see the information they are after. What will happen? They will leave your website within 10 seconds and continue their search and end up on another website where they will find the information or buy the product. How is that concerning your business? For one, you just lost a sale. For two, you just lost a visitor. We can count on the fact that we just lost that user or buyer for life. So what can we do to improve it? Based on the above statistics we now have, we are able to tell how long a visitor stays on our page ?A?. If we notice that we had a hundred visitors to that page, but no orders, no calls, no contact, and we get average 10 seconds stay on the page, it?s time to take action. We will ask our previous customers, friends, and family, what they think about our page ?A?. In other words, we?ll do some research or perform a user study. Based on their answers we will tweak our page accordingly. Mainly we see that majority of websites fail to provide user friendly product listing. Their search functionality is not sophisticated enough and does not help. Their categories are hard to see, or do not provide enough information. Product pages have small images and provide only one image. Description on the item is not detailed and fails to provide information about the size, color, etc? Ordering process is a hassle to use and confuses the buyer. Study your entire website process and put yourself in the customer shoes, then go and start your modification list. Step 4: Driving somewhere with no GPS = functionality Okay, we have covered some of the great steps and now let?s look at how easy it is for us to change something on our home page. Can we do that? If your answer is no, then obviously you have no control over your website and you have no content management. If you have no content management we can only assume you have no inventory control. So what if we needed to update product information, or product price? Can it be done within 2 minutes? No? Yes, it can, but only if you had a better ecommerce development solution. There are many functions out there today that can help you keep your website fresh and keep your visitors finding more than they originally came for. Here are the main things that you should be able to do on your ecommerce website, these functions are important to have in your administrative panel. First one is your content management system. This will allow you to easily modify your content. Second is your inventory control. It will allow you to add a product, modify a product, disable or enable a product, sort order of display, input quantity on hand, etc? Third is the ability to easily add specials from within your inventory. Fourth one is to easily access all customer data and information, with the export ability for your bookkeeping. These are just to name a few. Cover these steps prior to spending money on any marketing and you will see a great improvement in your ecommerce performance. And once you do see it, then it?s time to start your own social media marketing. Create a profile on Twitter, Facebook, and MySpace. Start sending your weekly and monthly e-mail newsletters to existing client database. Advertise your monthly specials. Sign up more referrals and then consider internet marketing campaign for your preset budget to test out the waters. I hope this article can help you get some understanding to take your ecommerce website in the right direction.

This article was written by Aldin Konjic at WebCo Interactive, an Atlanta website design agency. Reproductions of this article are encouraged but should include a link back to www.webcointeractive.com.

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4 Easy Steps to Successful Ecommerce-Business,Kheir Consulting provides small and medium sized businesses with consulting in the areas of marketing and strategy.