A Guide To E-Commerce Websites
A short guide to planning for an e-commerce website can be found below. A good web provider with a track record in e-commerce solutions should be able to help you in the planning process; this guide is designed to be a short summary.
Benefits of E-Commerce Websites
- Much cheaper than setting up a shop – staff, overheads etc.
- If you already have a shop, a web site gives you a bigger shop window. No longer relying on local trade – the national and international marketplace is now open to you.
- New products can easily be introduced or taken off-line if you encounter supplier difficulties.
- You can sell 24/7
- You can keep in contact much more easily with customers by collecting their email address and sending details of special offers, new products, sales etc.
- Planning the project
- web site structure
- what information you need to collate
- how much time will it take
- how will you deliver the goods
- Legal Stuff
- get up to date with distance selling regulations
- prepare your terms and conditions of sale if you don't already have them
- cheques (but only from UK)
- provide an invoice
- online payments – look at the options open to you
- from your planning process, you should be able to come up with a checklist of requirements to get your project of the ground.
- Use an off the shelf package if you have a limited budget.
- Use a specialist web development company for a bespoke solution.
- Allow enough time to load up your products – start with a manageable number and build the site from there.
You need to get your website seen. Submit your site to the top search engines. To get a good ranking, you will need to speak to your web design partner. This can take time and effort to get a high ranking. For immediate exposure, consider a pay per click campaign in Google or Yahoo.
Put your new web address on everything – letterheads, comp slips, adverts, stickers, car windows. It's a good idea to write to your existing customers and let them know about the web site too. Also, try to get links on directory sites and supplier or partner sites as the more links you have to your site, the better it could rank with Google.
One thing to remember is that high search engine ranking takes a lot of time and effort so be sure to factor this in to either your budget or your timescales.
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