Effective e-commerce sales

What is e-commerce?
The term e-commerce covers the diverse business activities and functions that can occur over the Internet. This can be advertising and sales, communication, employee management, accounting, production management, supply and fulfillment procedures. Big businesses has been quick to adopt e-commerce over the last ten years as it offers significant costs savings and e-commerce sales offer an added form of revenue. In the U.S. e-commerce sales alone, have grown over 25% a quarter every year.

If you have a product to sell getting in on the e-commerce sales action should not be overlooked. E-commerce sales offer small business the greatest opportunity to increase sales and reduce overheads, but it has to be done right. Damien Mair, Fusion principal lists some important things to consider when implementing e-commerce sales on your website:

Be accessible
Be as accessible as possible. Consider your websites structural design to ensure your products are no more than one mouse click away from the home page. Test your website on various browsers, not just Microsoft Internet Explorer, to make sure it works. Respect your customer's time and make certain your website downloads fast. If you have a potential customer on your site you want to keep them there.

Show your wares
Provide deep information about your products, including dimensions (inches and millimetres). Have various images, rear, side, front and large views. Only choose quality images, professional photographs are a great investment and can be used on all your visual collateral.

Shopping carts
Don't have dodgy wheels on your shopping cart. Sophisticated software is available. The shopping cart should integrate with your stock inventory so customers cannot put items out of stock in their cart, or items that cannot be shipped to their international address. Regular internet consumers will expect to edit what is in their cart, and save the contents of the cart if they are interrupted.

Step by step
Clearly identify the steps in your sales process, enabling the customer to know exactly where they are. Typically customers will browse, review their cart, pay, and then receive an online receipt. You can also provide email confirmation for an order. It gives a consumer confidence when the purchase process is clearly spelt out to them and they know that the sales transaction has been successful.

Big picture
The Internet is worldwide so think internationally. Outline local as well as international shipping costs. Consider multilingual delivery of information should your market expect it. Even if you are a small one person business the Internet gives you the opportunity not to appear that way.

Secure payment options
Offer a secure transaction environment within a secure socket layer (SSL). What is a SSL? A SSL is a system to encode data sent over the internet. Computer software encrypts and then decodes the information sent. Give your customers choice and provide various payment and ordering options together with online credit card facilities. Include your phone and fax details and/or a PDF order form to download that can be faxed or mailed back to you.

Customer service
Offer online customer service so customers can interact with you during and after the sale has taken place. Have an internal policy to respond to customers via your website within a designated time frame, usually 24 hours. Clearly explain your returns policy. Include a FAQs and testimonial page to help win the trust of your customers.

Packing up
Supply well branded, quality packaging to ensure goods are protected when shipped. This is a customer service opportunity; provide a thankyou note, a discount voucher to redeem on their next transaction, or a brochure of your other products.

Keep track
With your customer's permission record their details for your marketing database and promote your products to the converted.


Check out these examples:

You cannot go past www.amazon.com for a tried and tested shopping portal with an intelligent shopping cart

For an extremely funky shopping experience with amazing graphics and interaction visit www.shopcomposition.com

www.cricketsa.com.au is a great example of a business offering e-commerce sales even though it's not their core business.


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