Top 10 ecommerce tips

Online auction websites such as eBay and Amazon have spawned a generation of online entrepreneurs setting up their own ecommerce sites. These top ten tips may help you follow in their footsteps.

Choose a database driven eCommerce solution
There are many “cheap” ecommerce store building packages available off the shelf. These require you to install software on your PC. Database driven solutions allow you to update your store in real-time wherever you are in the world via the convenience of a web browser.

Related: What’s the best website builder for my small business?

Adopt the KISS approach (Keep It Simple Stupid)
Keep your ecommerce project simple to start with and adopt a phased approach. You should concentrate on incorporating the core website functionality first so you can take orders from day one. Other features can then be added later on.

Know your products and your market
Similar principals apply to setting up an internet business as those relevant for an off-line business. Know your potential marketplace and identify your customers. Do your research carefully and ask yourself the question, why would someone want to buy this product from my site?

Be different
Selling online typically involves adopting a lower pricing strategy but be aware there will always be someone willing to undercut you – what other differentiators can you offer to gain customer loyalty and new business?

Attract visitors and orders from day one by using pay-per-click
If it’s a new business consider a sponsored advertising campaign (pay-per-click) to drive buying traffic to your site from day one. Remember to allocate a realistic budget to cover this.

Outsource your pay-per-click advertising
Anyone can run their own AdWords campaign but knowing the tricks of the trade will save your advertising budget and give you “more bang for your buck”. A managed campaign will save you more than the monthly management fees and prevent needless wastage of your advertising budget.

Get your site optimised for the major search engines
With a view to the long term a search engine optimisation (SEO) project should be undertaken to increase your exposure in the natural (free) search listings and drive traffic to your site. SEO results cannot be guaranteed by anyone. Avoid any company or individual making these types of claims.

Choose a partner not a just web design company
An ecommerce solution needs to change with the times and adapt to your business as it grows. Choose a company with a view to building a long-term relationship rather than simply viewing it as a one-off project

Listen to the professional advice being offered during the project
Remember the purpose of the site is to generate orders so don’t get too emotionally attached to non-value adding details which may actually detract users from buying from the site.

Update your site regularly
Changing content not only attracts your customers back but also search engine spiders and bots, which can push your site up the search engine rankings. This can include maintaining the textual content of your site, adding articles of related interest as well as new products and services on offer.

Click here for tips on Setting up an eBay business.

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