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#74 [31.07.2006]

Make Your eCommerce Site Failure-Proof

By Nowshade Kabir ©

Make Your eCommerce Site Failure-Proof

Often companies while developing their eCommerce business from ground zero tend to make similar mistakes. They donít have specific business objectives, donít plan site promotion well ahead, and most importantly forget that eCommerce like any other business requires to have some key advantages over the competitors.

Building an eCommerce business is not an easy job! The chances of making mistakes in selecting the right solution for your specific business are quite high as there are way too many options around. If you are not ready to spend big money on your Internet venture in the beginning, there are online systems that allow you to create and run eCommerce site for a small monthly payment. Advantages of these solutions are that you can build a site for a very short period of time and you donít need a major initial investment. However, these solutions provide limited functionalities, which could be a big inconvenience. Yahoo, Rusbiz, and Bigstep are examples of this type of systems. Rusbiz differs in a number of ways from others. It allows you to utilize its own eCatalog Ė which uses a highly sophisticated and advanced classification system Ė this helps you to sell your products and services from your site and through Rusbiz marketplace simultaneously.

Another way of building an eCommerce site is to get an off-the-shelf solution. This is good if you have some knowledge of programming or you have enough time to learn technical aspects of these solutions.

The third option is to hire a developer to build your eCommerce site. The good thing about this approach is that you can design your site reflecting your company image and give your eShop unique look and feel. But the problem here is that for every minor change on the website you will need to contact the developer which makes site support pretty expensive.

The best but more expensive solution is to use site development companies. If you are working with a professional company, depending on the size of your web project a professional team of people will be taking care of it. Namely: your account manager, lead programmer, web programmer, designer, content editor, database programmer, web promotion specialist, and web administrator. If you are serious about your eCommerce website and planning to hire a professional company you should consider building your site with dynamic pages holding an administrative capability. This means you will be able to edit contents of these pages yourself without requiring any help from programmers.

If you already have an eCommerce site but sales are still low as the site is not popular yet and few people visit your site, you probably need a web promotion specialist. Search engine optimization has become the primary aspect of your web promotional efforts. Studies show that over 80 percent visitors come through the search engines. If you end up in the top three positions of a search result your chance of getting visited increases dramatically.

Your eCommerce site is not just another sales channel! For many companies after launching their online shop in a very short period it became the primary sales channel. In most cases after opening an Internet shop the sales of the company increase from 20 percent to 100 percent within first year.

Although, to have a professionally built high-quality eCommerce site seems like an obvious choice, majority of the eshops available today are not even close to the required standard. Apart from the functionalities of the website, its design and usability; content, offered products, their variety and specifications are also important factors.

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Often vendors forget that it is always better to focus on a niche market rather than trying to sell everything to everybody. It is easier to promote several products rather than thousands of unrelated goods and services. Especially, since key word marketing is becoming outrageously expensive. For example if you are in cosmetic and perfume industry it is difficult to compete with big merchants when you are not focused in a single type of product line such as cosmetic masks. Keep in mind that you can become a major player in your specific niche if you are one of pioneers in the field.

In many aspects of Internet shops, Amazon still sets the standard. You should study this site carefully. Any eCommerce site can adopt wonderful ideas from this industry behemoth. Look at how their search system works. Although, it is a huge site with hundreds of thousands of products, you can find any product you are interested in virtually immediately. The second important thing you should notice is that every product carries enough information so that customers can take immediate buying decision. Another thing is the simple but attractive and clear design of the pages. The contents are also segmented and presented thoughtfully.

Around 76 percent of all of your visitors are looking for more information on the product or service they are planning to buy. Only 44 percent know what exactly they are going to buy but there is no guarantee that they will buy from your site. Thatís why it is very important to have enough content that can influence positively on their buying decision.

To build an effective online shop you should try to avoid the following common mistakes:

Building a site without professional help
If you are just experimenting than it is a different thing. But, if you are serious about your prospective Internet business, you should hire professionals to do this. Gone are the days, when you could build a site and people would come any way! Now you have to build professional sites. A visitor takes less than a second to decide subconsciously whether he is going to stay on this site or move on. Design plays a key role on this. If your choice of colors and page layout along with the pictures are not effective enough, you simply loose clients not even knowing about it.

Forgetting about the functional mistakes that annoy visitors
These are wrong links, slow page loading, bad site navigation, unclear marketing message, pop-ups, and a huge number of products on one page.

Trying to sell everything to everybody
Better concentrate on few vital products from your industry. You should become the expert for the products and services that you sell.

Donít forget that like offline world, service is important on the Internet as well. It should be simple for buyers to find products, check out and delivery should be easy and prompt. After sale support should be of high standard.

If you would like to avoid failure as, define your business objectives, figure out the system functionalities needed to achieve these objectives, and add necessary information requirement to system functionalities.

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Make Your eCommerce Site Failure-Proof


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About the author
Nowshade Kabir is the founder, primary developer and present CEO of A Ph. D. in Information Technology, he has wide experience in Business Consulting, International Trade and Web Marketing. Rusbiz is a Global B2B Emarketplace with solutions to start and run online business. Click here to contact him.