So you have a top-notch idea for E-commerce. You even have a well-considered business plan. Here’s a technical question for you: How are your customers going to pay you?

It sounds like a silly ‘small picture’ question, I know. But it’s really one of the most important and most problematic details your brand-new E-commerce project may encounter.

If you’ve got a good idea for an E-commerce web site, chances are you’ve used somebody else’s E-commerce site at some point in the past. If you paid by credit card, you’re familiar with the online payment process from the user’s side of things. But building that functionality into your own web site requires a bit of planning and some critical decision-making well in advance of your ‘go live’ date. […]

Getting your new E-commerce store up and running is only half the fun. Once that’s done – then you’ve got to figure out how to efficiently run your store in order to maximize your bottom line.

Very little of it qualifies as rocket science. In fact, most of it is nothing more than running to ground a bunch of little issues – any one of which can cause endless headaches for your new enterprise. As with most things business, what you’ll soon discover is that the devil is in the details. […]

There are many different ways to build a successful E-commerce business, but they all have one thing in common.

Loyal customers.

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. […]

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. […]

Contrary to what some people might think, website statistics were not invented by the Brothers Grimm. They’re not fairy tales, nor are they numbers pulled out of thin air by College Johnnies who want to show how smart they are. Website statistics are built on real-world data, and they can tell you a lot about what your website is — or is not — doing for your business. […]

Back in the Internet’s version of the Age of Steam — around 2002 — retail giant Walmart (which was still officially “Wal Mart” at the time) made a bold move to insource all of its Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) functions. EDI is a critical behind-the-scenes operation that allows huge retail chains to manage their supply chains and logistics. […]

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. […]

You’ve decided that this year, finally, your business deserves a new website. Maybe you want to get rid of the current website, which was built on that free hosting service by your nephew. Or maybe your business has never had a website before at all. Either way, creating a website can be a daunting project. You want to read something scary? Hit the search engines and look for “website project management.” You can lose your mind trying to sort through all of that stuff. […]

Are the walls of your business overgrown with mildew and crusted with old paint? Does the receptionist’s desk proudly display an “Employee of the Year” photo of somebody who retired in 1997? Do you keep inventory space in the warehouse reserved for products you haven’t carried for the last five years?

I hope not.

Your place of business needs to make a good first impression when a potential customer walks in the door — that’s just business basics. Your company’s website should also make a good first impression. Even more importantly, it needs to accurately reflect what your company does and how you do it. […]

One of the most common problems that trips up aspiring e-commerce store owners is the issue of shipping. When I’m helping a client plan their e-commerce project, one of the first questions I like to ask is: “How do you plan on getting your products into the hands of your customers?”

About half the time, I discover that they haven’t given the subject any thought at all. It doesn’t surprise me. There are so many things to consider and so many issues to address with the start-up of a new online store, that I can’t really blame folks for not going into too much detail in planning for something that may initially appear “automatic” to them. […]

Testing your website pages, especially landing pages and sales pages, is one of the simplest things you can do to tweak your web site and attain higher conversions. In addition, you can learn more about content creation, as well as your customers’ interests, through testing than by any other method. […]