Starting a brick and mortar business can be daunting work. And throw in the technology of an e-commerce (clicks) business and life could get pretty complicated. Never fear USBSI is here! We offer a wide variety of solutions to our merchants.
One such solution is e-commerce set-up assistance. And if you happen to have a restaurant, we even offer sure3, a turn-key solution for restaurants that wish to a have a web presence coupled with ecommerce solution. Now back to the cyber selling world: e-commerce…where do you start?
Below is a guide for anyone considering the wonderful world of e-commerce:
There are a multitude of hosting options available to you. The most important factors to consider are the amount of disk space included, e-mail accounts, band-width availability, but most importantly if your host supports the applications that you are using.
If you are going to build an e-commerce site, you will want to be sure that your host supports your e-commerce system. If you are planning to have credit card processing, you will need to set up your merchant account separately with an online gateway service like AuthorizeNet or VirtualMerchant which we could help set up.
Decide on domain name(s)
While arranging hosting you should secure a domain name (or several). You may want to register several if there are multiple available names that particularly suit your business.
Plan the structure of your site
You need to break your products or services into logical and functional categories. Each category or department may have sub-departments. Make a site map. This map is essential to being able to build your site and navigate within it…and most importantly to maintain.
Gather and structure content for your site
If you are starting a products-based site, you will need to gather item numbers, short and long descriptions, prices, shipping weights, and digital images of every item that you want to sell on your website and so on.
Prepare your offices and your staff
You need to make sure that the staff members that will be handling the incoming orders are properly equipped (modern PCs etc.) and trained.
Begin marketing your site
Once the structure of your site is in place, you will want to begin marketing your site. You should include your website address on your business cards, letterhead, e-mail, and all marketing and advertising materials.
Submit your site to search engines and link sites
Begin by making a list of every possible search word or phrase that you can think of that a prospective client of yours may search for when looking for the products that you sell. Then find the top –performing search engines or talk to an SEO expert and submit your domain(s).
…And when you really get going there are a lot of special industry practices that could earn you more revenue, such as the below:
Arrange reciprocal links to and from related sites
A good way to get this started is to create a links page on your site and offer to put links to other sites in return for them placing links back to yours.
As you surf around on the net, you will see advertising everywhere. There are various types. Common ones are banner Ads. These can be effective if they are a part to the marketing-advertising mix. To get the most for your money, you may want consult with a professional.
Marketing after the sale
Once you have attracted a customer to your website and made an initial sale, you will want to market related products to them on a regular basis. A good e-commerce package will have features built in to allow you to automatically send e-mail advertisements to previous choices. You may wish to market to them by direct mail as well.
The right developers for the project
You may be getting the picture that there are a lot of details that have to be taken care of in order to make your on-line venture a success. If you are building a real web presence and plan to sell product through your site, you may want to hire professionals at first.
Consumers are increasingly moving to on-line shopping so have the vision to accommodate their needs. E-Commerce truly is the future of business…Are you ready?
If you are considering an e-commerce site, you may want to give us a call so that we could steer you the right way. Get Started Today! To find out more about your industry and our service, please call us at 888-525-8558 or on the web at www.usbsi.com.