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E -Commerce
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A quick look at the whys and hows.

Things to consider :
Running an online store is something that gets a lot easier with experience. We can not only set up your E-commerce website, but also offer you our wealth of advice for running it and turning a tidy profit.

Our best advice to anyone considering starting up an E-commerce website is to remember that being a virtual rather than a physical enterprise doesn't excuse anyone from sound business planning! You should always have a plan before going into business, even though running a store on the Internet is a little different from running a store in real life.
More information about E-Commerce in general

Some products are better for selling online than others, and a lot of that depends on the physical - how big and heavy are the products, and how much will they cost to post? A lot of online retailers with physical stores will allocate a certain amount of stock for their online shop, and make it all things that are small and light. Then, they might also put up some pictures and descriptions of stock that's too big to post, inviting people to come to the physical shop. Some E-commerce sites go even further, not actually offering any products to buy from the site but instead giving driving directions to their places of business - this works well for vehicle sales, custom furniture or anything else where items are a problem to ship.

How it works:
When a customer places an order on your website, they provide their credit card details. Depending on your bank's policies, we may configure your shop to send your customer's card numbers (in an encrypted format) to you via E-mail, and you can simply run the card through your machine selecting "customer not present" or a similar option.

Another option, in our view a superior one, is to use PayPal for credit card processing. We recommend PayPal over all the other online merchants because they're cheap, they're reliable, customers don't need a PayPal account, and pretty well everybody who does have a PayPal account has some money lying around in it doing nothing. Spending money from your PayPal account doesn't really feel like spending proper money, so people tend to be a little more frivolous with it!
More information about PayPal

There are scores of different systems for running an online shop, and the ones we use all have inbuilt stock tracking - don't worry about selling out of something and then getting an order for another one before you've had a chance to take it off the website. Just tell the program how many of a particular item you've got to start off with, and it'll keep track of how many you've sold, warning you via E-mail when stock is low and even automatically hiding the product from the website when you've run out.

Some online retailers use drop shipping to eliminate the question of where to keep their stock. In drop shipping, your customer places an order, you contact the dropshipper, and the dropshipper dispatches the product straight to the customer. Some dropshippers are comfortable selling in small quantities too, so you don't have lots of stock lying around waiting to be sold. Of course, such convenience comes at a premium, and although your risks are smaller, so are your profits.
There are also a wealth of dropshipping-related scams, so choose your suppliers carefully. Having said that, lots of people have made a good living running online dropship-based stores, and we consider it to be a viable business model as long as business owners keep their wits about them and run it as a real business, with a solid business plan and regular analysis.
More information about drop shipping

Gaining traffic:
E-Commerce sites can be the hardest sort of site to make popular. People tend to search for information on the Internet, rather than for products. With that in mind, it's appropriate to use methods other than search engine optimisation to gain traffic for your site.
Search engine optimisation is included as standard with any website commissioned from us, but with E-Commerce websites you might want to consider running advertisments through Google AdWords or Project Wonderful as a backup.
You should certainly offer plenty of guides, FAQs and information about your products - doing so adds value for your visitors, and makes them more likely to buy from you. It also has the added benefit of giving the search engines some nice text to chew on.


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