5 easy steps to ecommerce success

With online shopping at an all time high, traditional merchants (brick & mortar) have been joining the bandwagon called ecommerce (selling goods via the web). Old school merchants are infatuated with the idea of selling to a broader market (think international) at a cost lesser than actually having a physical storefront in different parts of the world.

Now with more than billions of websites surfacing everyday, what are the chances of your website attracting & staking a claim on your potential market?

It's no secret - just follow these 5 easy steps & you can improve not only your site or your revenue, but also allows you to forge a deeper relationship with your customers(& their bank accounts) as well as improve the over-all ranking of your site in the search engine ranking race.

1. URL
While merchants can have storefronts along Rodeo drive, the URL (Uniform Resource Locator) serves as the address of your online business. If you have a commercial site, it should end with a dot com (.com), if it's an organization, it's dot org (.org). Your URL could either be your company name, your product or something relevant to your business.
  • mankind is lazy - so don't try using a long name as your url. is way better than
  • Url's should always be keyword-centric.
  • although the dash (-) can be used, try to avoid it as much as possible as well as other odd characters like underscores (_)

2. Shopping Cart
Just like physical stores, online stores have shopping carts as well. An online shopping cart allows a customer to browse, choose & finally decide what items to buy. It could be hosted or your own(meaning a software) integrated to your site that guarantees secure shopping for your customers. Your shopping cart should be able to:
  • display the items your customer has chosen throughout their shopping duration
  • provide opportunities for cross selling - recommendations from other shoppers, most popular item, related item, etc. (perfect example?
  • include a return policy (must not forget!)
  • calculate automatically the total amount for each customer as well as tax & shipping charges
Warning: There is such a thing as "cart abandonment" where a customer who is just about to check out leaves before finishing his/her purchase. Speculations point to faulty shopping cart softwares so be extra critical when choosing a shopping cart provider.

3. Payment Processing Variety
If you haven't tried accepting credit cards or checks, then you had better think twice with your online store. A steady flow of cash is important for start up businesses & providing payment processing options like credit card processing can help - this basically fuels small merchants to accept credit cards or checks - & the fact that there are a billion card holders in the world (impulse buying..great!). Try to avail of a free merchant account if you're just starting - free set up & relatively lenient to small merchants.

4. Security
If you can't safeguard the transactions of your customers, then you might as well close shop. There are still a lot of ways fraudsters can dupe your customers & you (they are quite ingenious that way), so ensuring transactions is crucial. You can rely on your merchant account provider, but as a merchant, you have a responsibility to provide a safe shopping environment. Look for a fraud prevention software that comes separately or bundled with your free merchant account services. Make sure your provider does NOT store the card or customer information on their servers.

5. Product/services
Makes most sense - if you have a spanking new website, robust security features, a shopping cart, & popular URL but your products are well.. less than pleasant, you really can't expect to be successful right? Follow these common sense tips to boost your sales:
  • People are visual. They won't buy what they can't see - or scrutinize. One picture will NEVER be enough. Take different angles, show relative size, & describe - but don't over describe as customers might get turned off.
  • Cross sell = more money. Ice cream can be paired with potato chips or cake. Shoes can be paired with bags, blouses, belts, etc. Make sure there are products you can sell together.

Although following these 5 easy can guarantee a better online store, it won't ensure better sales. There's still that thing called market demand - if there is no demand for your product, then people won't see any reason to buy from you. Before venturing into business, a well thought business plan is in order. With your plan in hand, transitioning to ecommerce despite the fears of previous merchants, can help you be the "Donald" of ecommerce.

Like this article? Add to onlywire!