The question is where do you start with the bewildering range of ecommerce shopping carts and ecommerce solutions available? Whether you are looking for corporate website design and ecommerce, business to business ecommerce build and development, or more modest affordable e-commerce web site solutions, you still need to apply the ecommerce golden rules. A good web development company (link to home page) will be able to help with these questions and more. But first what do you need to know in order to set up a good ecommerce site?
The rules of successful ecommerce solutions?
1. Ensure visitors can find you ?
2. Convert your visitors – give them what they want?
3. retain your customers – make them into repeat visitors?
4. integrate your ecommerce into your business?
5. finally, talk to us to put all the above into practice?
Ensure visitors can find you
It all revolves around marketing both online and offline. Market yourself ruthlessly. Put your URL on all your stationery and promote it at every opportunity when you have client contact. In addition, you need to make sure your website is fully optimised for search engines and you undertake a search engine promotion strategy. Search engine optimisation involves researching the key phrases that your customers use to find your services and including them appropriately throughout your site. It also means ensuring you do not use technology that impedes search engines when they are indexing your site. Once your site has been listed, you will do well for some phrases and poorly for more competitive ones. In order to improve your search listings you need to get links to your pages under the key phrases you wish to be found under. NVisage can help with creating a link building strategy.
Convert your visitors
Once you have attracted visitors to your site, the next challenge is to get them to transact with you. The two principle rules here are; attract the visitors most likely to want your offerings, so less targeted traffic is better than a lot of generic traffic; and make it easy for them to engage with you, this means a site that has good usability and accessibility. Make sure the entire experience is a positive one even before they arrive at your site or before they know it exists. This starts with good site optimisation, so that when a visitor clicks on a link from a search engine the page they land on specifically meets their needs. It is compliant with all accessibility guidelines and is user friendly, meaning it is easy to use, downloads quickly, has punchy well written copy and guides them easily through the ecommerce process.
Retain your customers
It may be a cliché but it’s true, it’s a lot easier to make money from existing customers than to get new ones. So you need to do all you can to not only retain your customers, but to get them to recruit new ones for you. A good ecommerce solution is an ideal way of increasing customer retention as you have a lot of information about them that you can use to your advantage. You have their purchase history, their level of spend, the types of items they like. You need to sue this information to arrange your site in such a way as to encourage repeat visits and increase the level of spend on any given visit. You also need to use the information in database marketing campaigns, so you can automatically segment your customers and target them with offerings appropriate to their purchase history. A good ecommerce consultant and consultancy can help with this.
Integrate your website into your business
It doesn’t matter whether, you just sell online or whether the ecommerce aspect is just a part of your overall business, good processes lie at the heart of any business including ecommerce. An ecommerce site gives you the opportunity of integrating a lot of your systems to make you more efficient and spend less time on the administrative aspects of running the business. For example, payments should be automated and then passed directly into your accounts system. Your stock control system should be tied into any warehousing system and ideally into your tills (if you have them) via an integrated EPOS system. You also need to be able to analyse your business effectively. You need good reporting applications top be able to query your website, to determine how people find you, and how they use your site. You also need to be able to determine what sells, what makes money, what causes problems, your most profitable customers etc. A good ecommerce consultancy will not just create you a site and wave goodbye. They will first spend time looking at your business model and advising how the ecommerce aspect can support and grow your existing business.