Khalid KhanDepartment Of Computer Science University Of Peshawar
E-commerce software /Shopping cart A Merchant Account Hosting Web Traffic Web Analytics Software Warrantee/Money Back Guarantee policies Security And Backup Multiple payment options Personalization
Many companies make the mistake of entering into a new e-commerce venture without sufficient planning and forethought. This will ultimately lead to disappointment and increased development costs as mistakes are made and corrected. Understanding the fundamental components of an e-commerce site will help you evaluate basic requirements before committing resources toward an e-commerce solution.
In simple terms, this software will present your products to your customers and it will process their orders. There are many commercially available packages, and prices have come down a lot in the past few years. If you are new to e-commerce, it can be useful to find a software that will do all of the business functions. As well as taking orders, it will do inventory management, order tracking, and provide you with reports to help you manage your business.
Customer frustration with online shopping carts often results in lost sales. Customers appreciate easy access to shopping carts at any time during the shopping trip. The ability to edit quantities or remove items from the cart at any time makes for pleasant shopping. Additionally, the ability to save the items in the cart, allowing visitor to complete the transaction at a later time adds to customer service.
This is an account with a financial institution, such as a bank, that will allow you take credit card orders. This can be costly and difficult to set up, particularly if you are a new business. There are set-up costs, monthly costs and you also pay a percentage of your sales to the account provider. You should research the market well to keep costs as low as possible.
There are specific rules about how to process orders when the cardholder is not present, and you should pay attention to the procedure that you are asked to follow. This will limit any losses that you might receive from fraud. Some websites begin trading with Paypal, which offers a simple way to accept credit card payments from your customers.
An e-commerce site is a profit making website, so it makes sense to ensure that it is available and operating 24 hours a day for 365 days of the year. Choose a high quality web host with an exceptional uptime guarantee. Providing space on the internet servers for the storage of World Wide Web sites (business contents) which can be accessed by others. A company that provide Web Hosting Services is called Web Host, and their storage, connectivity and services are called plans. Dedicated Hosting, Shared Hosting & Free Hosting
E-commerce sites cost more to build and run, so they need good volumes of visitors quickly. There are a number of ways to grow your visitor numbers, including: Good search engine positioning A specialist can help you to optimize your site. Most buyers will use a search engine to find suppliers, so this is a good source of visitors. Email You can buy a list of potential customers and email them some special offers. If you dont target buyers well, you risk alienating them with spam.
Pay Per Click advertising You can pay to advertise your site on search engines on those pages that are relevant to the products that you sell. You only pay when someone clicks on a link and visits your site. Listing on shopping comparison sites There are many sites that take data from many e- commerce sites and they display the prices for shoppers to compare. Some are part of a search engine like Froogle, others are independent web business like Pricegrabber.
You need a reliable and effective analytics solution that can tell you how your site is being used. It’s very critical to know how many users are coming to your site, where they’re coming from, what products they’re most interested in, etc. With this valuable data, you’ll know just what your site needs to decrease abandonment rates and turn prospects in to buyers.
To further increase your credibility, you must completely remove your potential customers risk. Provide them with a solid, no risk, money back guarantee. This will put their mind at ease by building their confidence in you and your product. For building customer’s confidence good guarantee /warrantee policies should be deployed.
As in any other part of business, there are people on the internet always looking for illegal opportunities to make money. You need to protect your site with a good security package, There are many commercially available. You will also need to backup your site data. Make sure to backup both your web pages and the database behind them. A good place to start on both issues is to talk to your hosting service. You should make yourself familiar with how they operate and you should schedule regular backups.
If your checkout process doesn’t give users more than one payment option, this can make a good sale turn sour. If a customer’s preferred payment method is not available, not only can’t customers pay you but it really affects the credibility of your e-commerce business. There are tons of payment methods available like Google Checkout, Bill Me Later and Paypal.
E-commerce sites should provide visitors with a personalized experience, serving up only content that’s relevant and useful. If a customer is interested in a product on your site, displaying related items while they are browsing is helpful. This is an excellent way to establish reliability and trust with buyers and increase your chances at making a sale.
The main facet of an e-commerce system is obviously going to be the product catalog. When building a catalog it is vitally important that product descriptions are accurate and compelling, and that high quality images are provided to assist in product selection. Your content must be self explanatory, which attract customers to your site.
Making complete product information available for site visitors results in increased sales. Well-written product descriptions including all pertinent information about the product and leaving customers with no unanswered questions make a purchase more likely. Additionally, photographs increase customer interest in the items in the store.
You should make sure your pages are search-engine friendly. It doesn’t mean just submitting your site to online search directories. It means conducting a real, SEO strategy. The URL’s, the content, meta data, keyword frequency and density, should all be taken care of if you want to increase the visibility of your e-commerce site in major search engines.
Things like zoom able product images and 3D views can make a big difference to your visitors. A lot of times it can become difficult for users to make a purchase because they just aren’t satisfied with the way your products are presented. Users become much more confident in purchasing when you make multiple or enlarged views of your products so they can see exactly what they’re getting.
When a user clicks a product they’re interested in, this is one of the best times to show them similar items that may compliment their purchase. The checkout process is another opportunity to show relevant items to your customers while they are completing their purchases. This way of up-selling is a good way to increase your sales among the impulsive shoppers.
Many times, potential customers will have questions about your products and services. Use a feedback form and if possible give them live support, also give email address on your site. Create a page on your web site called feedback and place a form on this page to enable your visitors to contact you. Your personal response to your potential customers is very much important.
When you have put all these elements of your ecommerce site together, you will need some method of physically picking, packing and delivering your orders. When order volumes are low, this is not much of a problem, but at higher volumes, fulfillment requires great discipline and automation. If business does take off, you will damage your business if you cannot fulfill orders rapidly. You need to plan how you will fulfill higher volumes of orders.
You can invest in systems and processes yourself, or you can outsource fulfillment to a specialist company. They will usually charge a setup fee and then a cost per order processed and item stocked.
Your website visitors should have the option to filter your products, compare them, and sort them by price, popularity, or alphabetically. This allows your customers to quickly find products they are most interested in without having to search through a large amount of unnecessary items just to find what they’re looking for.
Because of the risk of identity theft, most online shoppers check for assurance of security before sharing their financial or personal information on any e- commerce site. Including safety provisions, such as digital signatures and encryption technology, protects site visitors from hackers. These security measures must get updated regularly to keep up with the latest threats on the Internet.
Internet users are becoming more and more concerned with their privacy. However, there is something you can do to ease their minds. Create a page on your web site called "Privacy" and let your visitors know exactly how you will be using the information you collect. This page should include an explanation of all of the following: How do you plan on using their information? Is their information sold or shared with a third party? Why do you collect their email address and how will it be used?
Why do you track their IP address?Why do you use order forms and what do you do withthe information acquired?Do you have a discussion forum or message board?Let your visitors know that any information that isdisclosed in these areas becomes public informationand that they should exercise caution.Do you have security measures in place to protect theloss, misuse and alteration of the information underyour control? If so, let your visitors know. Provide your visitors with your contact informationshould they have any questions about your privacystatement.
Research shows that online shoppers value the opinions and comments of other buyers- in fact, it can be one of the most influential factors in whether a customer will buy. If possible, your site should allow your users to comment on your items individually which will establish credibility among your users.