Search
Related Links

 

 

Informative Articles

An Ecommerce Internet Merchant Account
Small business owners and home based entrepreneurs sometimes reach the point where they realize their company is ready to grow, and then they begin to consider the advantages of an ecommerce Internet merchant account. Those who accept...

Building Ecommerce Web Sites: Where Do I Start?
Building a web site isn't something that is really cut and dry. There's a huge variety of products and services that can either help you get your web site where you want it or simply confuse you. It's also important that you make the right choices...

Canada's eCommerce Opportunity
This brief takes an updated view of the Canadian e-commerce landscape and provides insight for online retailers to help craft future Canadian customer strategies. Canadian eCommerce growth was recently flat but still has an...

Ecommerce: A New Artform
What creative project do you have in the back of your mind? Writing that novel? Putting together a bluegrass band? Painting the sunsets over the Rio Grande? How about starting a business? When you think of the term creative endeavor, does...

eCommerce Web Design Solutions
eCommerce web design is a lot more than just putting your company brochure on the net or adding an internet shopping cart to your existing product catalog. There are some fundamental differences between doing business online and doing business the...

 
Building eCommerce Websites That Work - Part 1

Copyright 2005 Richard Keir

You want to succeed at eCommerce? Welcome to a very big family. Right off, letís be clear - there are lots of ways to do business on the internet. And lots of ways to both make and lose money. Successful eCommerce websites come in all shapes, kinds and colors and while I can't cover every type of site in this series, I will present the basics you need to consider and apply for an eCommerce web site to be successful.

Let's begin by assuming you have some of the fundamentals, that you understand the language and that you are serious. Iím not going to tell you how to set up a web site or get a decent hosting account. Weíre beyond those basics. The basics here are the factors which will influence the success (or failure) and the degree of success your eCommerce web site experiences.

First and foremost, you need to provide value for your customers. Absurd as it seems to have to repeat that, a lot of so-called eCommerce sites provide no or very little value for their visitors. Pretending to offer value is not the same thing as providing value. Promoting miserably written, hackneyed, cloned ebooks filled with questionably useful and/or outdated content doesnít make a high value web site. Sure you might make some money. Once. And youíll end up with a high refund rate - and an unhappy credit card processor. That path means you're taking advantage of inexperienced customers and abusing their willingness to trust you. This isn't the way to a long-term business with steady repeat customers.

Value on the net is not very different from any kind of off-line retail sales -- a quality product line that will attract potential customers and a competitive price that will lead to purchases. An honest, quality product that will meet the expectations youíve created in your buyers. Hyped junk just doesn't cut it.

Next, youíve got to have a smooth, user-friendly, easy to follow process all the way to your thank you page. The simpler, cleaner and clearer you can make the process, the better. Where it makes sense you can augment this user-responsive site profile by adding live-response chat.

If you do decide to use call-in or live chat, itís imperative that your operators be well-trained, understand your products and your system and be customer friendly. This can be a problem if you outsource. The less expensive out-source call centers can turn out to be very expensive in terms of lost sales and customers who never come back.

Youíll need to check very carefully and be 100 per cent certain the operators actually speak and understand the primary language(s) of your targeted customer group. Youíll need to provide extensive background information and highly flexible, well-written scripts.

You should collect your own customer evaluations - separately. Don't rely exclusively on any monitoring or customer satisfaction


surveys provided by the call center. Track your ROI to be sure it's money well-spent. Don't stop monitoring just because the results looked good for the first two or three months. Things change. Make sure you're tracking desired actions linked to the call center separately from those NOT related to call-in or live chat. Mixing outcomes leaves you in the dark about what's really happening.

You probably should have an attractive website. An ugly site can work, but to do that you need to absolutely know exactly what you're doing and why it should work. And you'll have to test like crazy to optimize (of course, you should be doing that anyway). The ugly site tactic is not for the inexperienced. Very few individuals really have the grasp of marketing, market and customer psychology that makes for a successful "ugly" site.

To provide a pleasant experience, you need to be careful in what you use - colors, text-size, graphics, animation and white space can add value to your site or turn it into a user nightmare. Test your site with people who will tell you the truth. Just because you love it doesn't mean anyone else will. In general, aiming for a professional appearing site is your best option. Look for the highest ranked, busiest sites in your business area and study the layouts they use. Extract the common features that you see on those sites. While other factors heavily influence traffic and ranking, appearance has a strong effect on visitors and sites that do testing evolve toward optimizing visitor behavior.

Keep in mind that a site's desired actions affect the design and layout. You'll want to study sites where those actions are most similar to the desired actions you target on your web site. If your goal is direct product sales, there's not much point in emulating a site that's optimized for newsletter sign-ups or AdSense.

If your main goal is direct sales (and if it is, then you need backend products too), provide incentives for customers to buy AND to return. The return factor is critical to a long-term strategy for success. Anyone who buys is your best possible future customer. Keep them, track them, make them special offers. Use coupons, discounts, special deals, customer-only offers and back end sales. Your customer base is your gold mine. Since they've shown enough faith in you to buy, do your utmost to never damage that faith. Treat them like the priceless resource they are. Think long-term: successful eCommerce websites are all about value and customer service.

About the Author

Richard teaches, trains and consults, on and off-line, on business and professional presentations, eCommerce, site building and programming. And writes a lot. Visit http://www.Building-eCommerce-Websites.com for articles, information, resources and links and check our blog at http://www.Building-eCommerce-Websites/blog for opinion and ideas.

 

E-Commerce Times: Because E-Business Means Business
Everything you need to know about doing business on the Internet. Information for C-Level executives and small-to-mid-sized business managers.
www.ecommercetimes.com
 
ECommerce-Guide to News, Reviews and Technology Solutions
ECommerce-Guide provides ecommerce business owners with e-commerce news, hardware and software reviews and tutorials, technology solutions and information ...
www.ecommerce-guide.com
 
Electronic commerce - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Electronic commerce (also referred to as EC, e-commerce or ecommerce) ... Even in product categories suitable for e-commerce, electronic shopping has ...
en.wikipedia.org
 
E-Commerce News for IT Managers
Daily e-commerce news for managers of business covering marketing, transaction processing, security, retailing and service delivered over the Web.
www.internetnews.com
 
New Zealand Government E-Commerce
Resource containing information on electronic commerce, including law, trade, tax, privacy, consumer protection, and help for businesses.
www.ecommerce.govt.nz
 
eCommerce Guidebook for web hosting
The eCommerce Guidebook provides many resources, including a directory of online transaction providers, a tutorial, and many other resources.
www.online-commerce.com
 
ClickZ Internet Marketing Solutions for Marketers
Includes columns with commentary and analysis on a wide variety of internet marketing subjects ranging from B2B marketing to search engine marketing.
www.clickz.com
 
Shopping cart software for Dreamweaver, Frontpage, CSS ecommerce ...
Shopping cart software integrated into Frontpage, Dreamweaver, CSS and Golive ecommerce software templates.
www.ecommercetemplates.com
 
E-Commerce & the Internet
Information from the FTC on E-commerce and the Internet. Includes anti-fraud tips.
www.ftc.gov
 
Economy & Work: eBusiness | Europa - Information Society
The e-business concept goes well beyond e-commerce (buying and selling ... A pilot study on E-commerce and the Internet in European businesses (2002) was ...
ec.europa.eu
 
Online Business
If your e-commerce site currently accepts online payments, and is really, really, ... They are looking for entries from ugly e-commerce sites to win a new ...
onlinebusiness.about.com
 
eCommerce Info Center- ONE-STOP for eCommerce info, services ...
eCommerce Info Center, created and maintained by Slim Baltagi, will make it easier and faster for you to find out relevant eCommerce information, ...
www.ecominfocenter.com
 
eCommerce Innovation Centre
Practical resources for small business involved in or considering eCommerce implemetations. Expert Advice and Assistance.
www.ecommerce.ac.uk
 
Web Marketing Today -- E-Commerce, E-Mail, Internet Marketing, and ...
Articles, tips and advice on e-commerce and effective Internet marketing strategies.
www.wilsonweb.com
 
Web Marketing Today Research Room for E-Commerce
The largest collection of annotated links to web marketing and ecommerce articles and resources to be found at any single place on the planet.
www.wilsonweb.com
 
The 2005 E-commerce Awards - Welcome
The UK national E-commerce awards organised by the DTI and Interforum.
www.ecommerce-awards.co.uk
 
Mal's e-commerce
Mal's e-commerce ... Customize the look and feel of your store; No scripts or applications to install; Build as large an e-commerce site as you want ...
www.mals-e.com
 
Howstuffworks "How E-commerce Works"
E-commerce has exploded in the last 10 years. Find out how e-commerce works and how you can harness the potential of e-commerce, from affiliate programs to ...
www.howstuffworks.com
 
Ecommerce Guide - Terms You Need to Know to Do Business on the ...
An online computer dictionary and internet search engine for internet terms and techincal support.
e-comm.webopedia.com
 
Shopping Cart Software Ecommerce Solutions
Ecommerce solutions by Volusion will take your business to new heights. Volusion offers the best prices in the industry for a complete ecommerce web ...
www.volusion.com
 
 

 

Content Menu
  • 7 tips to increase sales with your ecommerce web site

  • accepting payments online an ecommerce web site overview

  • advertising your ecommerce web site

  • an arm a leg for ecommerce

  • an ecommerce internet merchant account

  • ask mr d ecommerce sales

  • a successful ecommerce website part 1

  • a successful ecommerce website part 2

  • blocking and tackling a quick look at some ecommerce fundamentals

  • blogs podcasting and rss ecommerce impact

  • blogs podcasting and rss how will these technologies affect ecommerce

  • building ecommerce websites that work part 1

  • building ecommerce websites that work part 2

  • building ecommerce websites that work part 3

  • building ecommerce web sites where do i start

  • canadas ecommerce opportunity

  • canada and ecommerce

  • choosing an ecommerce shopping cart

  • comparing ecommerce software programs 5 tips

  • cost effective ecommerce solutions

  • developing a winning ecommerce marketing strategy

  • developing a winning ecommerce strategy

  • divesify with ecommerce

  • drop shipping is ecommerce snake oil

  • ecatalog a key component of your ecommerce initiative

  • ecommerce 101 online credit card processing

  • ecommerce and other strange animals

  • ecommerce a new artform

  • ecommerce a plan

  • ecommerce boost your business roi

  • ecommerce communications and the global internet community

  • ecommerce development for microsoft great plains tools and highlights for programmer

  • ecommerce fundamentals

  • ecommerce hosting considerations

  • ecommerce hosting for your online business

  • ecommerce hosting how to choose a merchant account

  • ecommerce how much does it cost

  • ecommerce installing and configuring your shopping cart

  • ecommerce making your bank account grow

  • ecommerce marketing plan

  • ecommerce seo

  • ecommerce solutions

  • ecommerce solutionsthe call of the time

  • ecommerce solutions compared

  • ecommerce solutions for small business owners

  • ecommerce solution for the big and small business

  • ecommerce store owners want visitors heres how

  • ecommerce that makes sense

  • ecommerce turnkey sites

  • ecommerce website development brings more people to your business

  • ecommerce website overview accepting payments online

  • ecommerce web design solutions

  • ecommerce web hosting all you need to know

  • ecommerce web sites if you build it they will come or will they

  • ecommerce web site building where do i start

  • ecommerce your opportunities are unlimited

  • econnect ecommerce development for microsoft great plains

  • evaluating vendors of ecommerce fulfillment services

  • ever wondered what an ecommerce merchant account is

  • eyes on your ecommerce website

  • for your ecommerce success

  • getting started in ecommerce part one

  • getting started in ecommerce part two

  • hosting options for an ecommerce web site

  • how exactly does ecommerce work

  • how to achieve ecommerce success you gotta plan

  • how to create a money magnet ecommerce web site

  • how to set up the ecommerce shopping cart software tools to handle your transactions and how to do in smart efficient and cost effective way

  • increasing your conversion rates 50 tips for ecommerce sites

  • index

  • integrating microsoft great plains accounting erp rms crm ecommerce lotus domino overview

  • integrating microsoft great plains accounting erp rms crm ecommerce lotus domino overview for developer

  • internet basics ecommerce is like playing house

  • introduction to ecommerce

  • is ecommerce right for our business

  • leading ecommerce consultant admits you should only listen to one real expert and its not him

  • meeting the uk ecommerce regulations

  • merchant services add ecommerce functionality to any business

  • microsoft dynamics gp 9 0 ecommerce web development overview for programmer

  • microsoft ecommerce web development great plains econnect net approach highlights for programmer

  • microsoft great plains ecommerce know your options and alternatives

  • microsoft great plains ecommerce overview for developer

  • microsoft great plains ecommerce stored procedures approach

  • microsoft small business manager ecommerce overview

  • my top 7 favorite ecommerce tools

  • network monitoring for serious ecommerce

  • oscommerce a viable ecommerce solution

  • outsourcing your ecommerce order fulfillment

  • quick ecommerce tutorial

  • reverse logistics and ecommerce

  • rotator

  • search engine optimization in an ecommerce world

  • select a niche market for ecommerce

  • seo for ecommerce

  • small business ecommerce web design

  • surviving the ecommerce competition

  • the ecommerce business plan

  • the ecommerce myth

  • the lowdown on ecommerce making all the pieces fit together

  • the no 1 ecommerce solution tip for you

  • the rumors of ecommerce death

  • the seven pillars of ecommerce defined

  • using ebay to market your ecommerce website

  • victoryvisions your one stop to build a successfull ecommerce website

  • web design for ecommerce

  • web ecommerce where to begin

  • whats toll free numbers got to do with ecommerce

  • what ecommerce software has to offer

  • why ecommerce is not ready for my daughter or me

  • why vps is perfect for ecommerce hosting

  • why you should use turnkey websites to jumpstart your ecommerce activity