TOPIC: Online Store
Online Store
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Selling Online - Mainstream & Easystream

Posted by Alec Hess

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Selling products or services online was rare just a few years ago. But now consumers are completely trusting and at ease not only researching, but entering credit card data and buying from the comfort of their computer. If you’re not selling online, and you can, you should.

A recent study showed that 50% of all shoppers started their product research online. These 50% were also significantly more likely to make a final purchase online than those who did not do research online.

To make this selling channel successful for your business, you need to do two things:
  1. Make it easy for shoppers to find enough information about your product or service, including details, pictures, reviews, shipping options, return policies and any other info a potential buyer might need to be convinced to trust you with their credit card number and press the “Buy” button.
  2. And two, make the whole research and buying procedure easy, short and user friendly.

A Good System is Crucial:

Your site’s shopping cart software should be proven and trusted by other retailers with the goal being to make the customers’ shopping experience hassle free. It should allow your customers to easily add items and change their quantities, figure out shipping costs and delivery schedules. Your digital shopping cart process should be interactive and in real time, with an area for FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions) and not only allow users to purchase, but also to track their order every step of the way, have it delivered straight to their front door and know how to get in touch with you incase of problems.

This is all about trust and the more comfortable you can make a user feel, the more likely they are to purchase, re-purchase and recommend you to their friends. Today there are many tried and true systems for you to choose from. This isn’t rocket science, but learning from other retailer’s experience, and taking advantage of what they’ve found out, gives you a head start to more profits and repeat sales.

You Need To Keep Customers Satisfied and Feeling Safe:

Your online store can be customized to be as unique as you like within reason. It should certainly reflect the overall design of your website and create a seamless experience for the user. Think about your own dealings with different websites when purchasing; write a list of the things you like and the things you don’t, and then apply that to your own site.

There are a few necessities you need to consider when developing your online store, but you can add a bit of your site’s personality to the mix to make the purchasing experience a memorable one: Loads Quickly: Experience shows that if your customers have to wait any more than a few seconds for your any part of your store to load, they will leave and go someplace else. Don’t lose their business to a competitor’s site that loaded 3 seconds faster than yours. Systems today are extremely fast, so don’t try to fix or update an old system when it might be more cost effective to use something new.
  • Make Help is Available: No matter how hard you try to anticipate every question a user might have, if a customer is confused or something is not clear to them, they need a place where help is available to them. A client is not going to submit their personal information and spend their money at your online store if they’re unsure about something.
  • Clear Company Policies: Your return, exchange, shipping, and other company policies, need to be available for your users to find, read and understand. And they should be as simple and easy to understand as possible. Avoid long legal-ize. You can always include on your site a small “Disclaimer” link if you must protect yourself.
  • Assurance of Privacy and Security: If a customer feels the website is not safe, they will not input their personal information or credit card number and you will ultimately lose the sale. Be sure you make it clear you will not sell a potential customer’s info or send them spam, and do it so they can see it.
An online store could be your sole way of selling your product or services; or it could be an adjunct to your physical company, and/or your sales team: another medium to reach your customers and another platform to pull in revenue. Without an efficient, modern, informative, easy-to-use online store system, you could be missing a huge market of customers who can or will only shop online.

On the next couple of tabs are some highly rated professionals to help you make the process of installing your killer store easy; and some deals to help you save money.

Alec Hess is a marketer and small business expert as well as Principal of Full Voice Media and Vanguard Healthcare Products; and co-founder of BizSaves. His focus is on small business success and he has consulted, guided and advised many firms.
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