When a small business owner makes the decision to enter into the world of E-commerce, the first decision that confronts them is usually whether they need to build a stand-alone E-commerce web site or sign-on with a hosted application provider like Magento or BigCommerce.
Each approach has its advantages and disadvantages. What the small business owner has to decide is which method of online selling will provide the most value and return on investment. Today I’ll take a closer look at the plus and minus columns for online storefronts based on hosted applications. […]
Translating your E-commerce idea from concept into reality requires an investment of time, money and resource. For the small-business entrepreneur, a first-time E-commerce project can generate a few unpleasant budget surprises.
Some of your project’s budget elements may be self-evident, but a few are less obvious. An experienced and reputable E-commerce developer should work through a complete ‘first year’ budget with you before your project begins. In addition to the one-time development costs associated with getting your site built, tested and functioning properly there are continuing costs that should figure into your long-term calculations of profitability. […]
Soon after you decide to add E-commerce to your small business, you may find yourself suffering from a touch of sensory overload. There are a lot of E-commerce engines, shopping cart systems and hosted storefronts vying for your attention. How do you sort through all of that to find the solution that best suits your business?
Finding the best solution is largely a matter of asking the right questions. Today I’m going to arm you with a few good questions – along with some related ‘thinking points’ – that should help you sort through all of the information and make the best possible decision. Here are five key considerations: […]
Spend some time surveying a variety of E-commerce sites (without spending money on them, that is…), and chances are you’ll come across some sites that offer name-brand gadgetry at incredibly good prices. Sites like these often sell items such as air-conditioning components, portable power equipment or computer hardware.
With a little bit of research you’ll discover that a number of those E-commerce sites sell in great volume and are quite profitable. For some private entrepreneurs, it’s tempting to try to jump into one of those niche markets with a deep-discount E-commerce site of their own. […]
Just like a bricks-and-mortar store needs somebody behind the counter, an E-commerce web site requires somebody behind the scenes to make things run smoothly.
Your E-commerce site is never going to be a fire-and-forget operation. Somebody has to process the orders. Somebody has to insure payment has been made. Somebody has to manage inventory and pricing. Somebody has to handle fulfillment and shipping. […]
There are many different ways to build a successful E-commerce business, but they all have one thing in common.
I don’t mean ‘just’ happy customers. I mean customers who will come back to your web site and purchase from you again. It’s not a revolutionary discovery. A lot of books and articles have been written on the same general business theme: Customer satisfaction means nothing; customer loyalty means everything. […]
A surprising number of small businesses avoid E-commerce because they believe credit card information submitted via the Internet can be easily compromised. Nothing could be farther from the truth. In fact, if your E-commerce is properly implemented by a skilled developer, your customers are safer using an online interface than they are handing their card over to the staff at their local coffee-shop. […]
If you’re a super-hero like Spiderman or The Tick, a secret identity can come in handy. When you’re running an E-Commerce website, however, shrouding your company details in mystery can ruin your business.
One of the main disadvantages of E-Commerce is that consumers can’t see, touch or feel the actual products offered on your website. People like to know what they’re buying. Fortunately, it’s a disadvantage that can be overcome to a degree by including plenty of good product-specific content like photos, videos and reviews. Another disadvantage is that consumers can’t see you — or your business — and gain a sense of trust from that contact. As much as people like to know what they’re buying, they also want to have confidence in who they’re buying from. […]
Many of our E-commerce customers are dreamers. Some of them are BIG dreamers. It sort of goes with the territory. There are plenty of examples of successful E-commerce websites out there on the Internet, but for every success there are at least two or three (or more) complete fizzles. It takes a lot of small business grit — and a strong vision of success — to enter the world of online retail sales. […]
In a previous post, I pointed out that E-commerce is real business. If you’re an aspiring E-commerce owner, that means you need to do many of the same things as a “bricks and mortar” startup. Write (and execute) a business plan, secure your suppliers, budget your cash and prepare for customers. […]
If you’re new to the universe of E-commerce, there’s a Big Secret that you need to know. The night before you launch your E-commerce website, a squad of specially trained gremlins will break into your office and steal your Easy Button. It doesn’t matter where you hide it, how much you paid for it or what time you plan to launch the new site. You’ll start looking for the Easy Button that first day, and It. Will. Be. Gone. […]
Cyber Monday has already come and gone, and the Holiday shopping season is well under way. Typically, online retailers should be working on their Holiday strategy some time during the summer, making necessary additions and changes well in advance and planning SEO, online marketing, promos and campaigns beforehand. However, there are a few things you still have time to take advantage of for some quick boosts. […]