Thursday, December 10, 2009

Expanding your E-commerce Strategy

Setting up a solid strategy for your e-commerce venture is a good starting point for anybody who wants to increase online sales.

What components should I include in my strategy?
  • Accept online payments with PayPal.
  • Design your website e-commerce friendly.
  • Do SEO for your e-commerce website.
  • Increase your product exposure.

Accept online payments with PayPal.
If you want to sell to customers online, you must sign up with an online payment processor, one of which is PayPal. This can vary from simple buttons for specific products or services you feature on your website, to an in-depth shopping cart that is implemented in your website. No matter what, you must be ready to take payments if you encounter an interested customer on the internet.
Luckily, setting this up is extremely easy. Learn step by step how to do e-commerce with PayPal.

Design your website e-commerce friendly.
Now that you are set up to take online credit card payments through paypal, you must ensure that your website is e-commerce friendly. This means that your website should be designed in a way that makes people "want" to buy from you. One way to achieve this is to include 6 important pages on your e-commerce website:
  1. About Us
    You need to tell people who you are, give a company background, and make those facts public that should really not be kept secret. You must tell customers about yourself in order to create a sense of trust.
  2. Contact Us
    Make it easy for customers to contact you. You should have a very prominent contact link on every page of your site, or display the main contact information on every page. Your contact information should include email, phone, and your physical address.
  3. Sitemap
    A sitemap is a standard page on any professional website. If people desire an overview of your site, you should give it to them in an organized layout.
  4. Why Buy from Us
    Tell your audience why they should buy from you. You should not wait for them to buy from you. It really does work wonders if you inform the customer of all the great features of your product. If you have anything great to say about what you have to offer: Write it out.... let your potential customers know!
  5. Legal Information
    Inform buyers about your policies regarding privacy, copyright, return policies, and so on. If you do not disclose important legal information, buyers might be hesitant to buy from you. Also, you might run into trouble in a later dispute with the customer, if you do not specify your policies.
  6. Testimonials
    Testimonials are important. Real people saying good things about you builds trust in other people. If you have good testimonials from other people, publish them on your website. It will increase your sales. This is not a time to hide - this is the time to shine!

Do SEO for your e-commerce website.
Your e-commerce website will only provide you with high sales, if your actively work on, and implement your search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. Successful search engine optimization will increase traffic to your website via search results from the major search engines, which often makes up the largest portion of where your visitors will come from.

Learn how to do SEO in 8 easy steps.

Increase your product exposure.

There are many ways you can further increase the online exposure for your products and services. Try out some or all of these options:

  • Sell on ebay.
    You can use ebay as a platform to sell your products. It will be more advantageous to sell your products through your own website, because you will pay ebay a nice chunk in commission fees (ca. 8%), plus a small insertion fee. Learn more about ebay fees here. However, what you need is more product exposure. Featuring your product on ebay can be a very successful avenue.
  • Advertise through Google Adwords.
    Sign up for Google Adwords pay-per-click advertising. Here you can choose keywords that you can bid for. Then Google will show your ad on the Google search results. You will pay only per each click that occurs when someone visits your website as a result of the ad. It is possible to measure conversions, for example to track if people made a purchase on your site.