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Ecommerce 101—How to Start a Successful Ecommerce Business

Studies show that about 70% of shoppers would perform some sort of research on products online before purchasing them. Savvy shoppers would prefer online shopping; they can easily research and compare products, read reviews and select a trustworthily and best rated online retailer with best pricing.

Whether you wish to become one of those successful and well-known online retailers or just have a profitable ecommerce site that supplements your income, you need to educate yourself about all of the necessary steps you need to take to start an online business.

1. Market research on your product's merchantability, demand, supply and competitors.
Market research and business plan are the important steps in starting any online business. Based on your product type, business category, supply and demand for your product, your would perform a different market research. If your product is a common product with a lot of demands, it requires different marketing than if your product is unique and specialized. Going over each scenario is beyond the scope of this article; however, I would suggest start by searching for similar products online; if there are several online retailers selling similar products, it may be a good indication that there is a lot of demand exists for your product. If you could differentiate your marketing and selling points from others, there is a good chance for success. If your product is unique, you need to create interest by writing articles, do some PR, and start a buzz. Comentum has a great market research team who can help you determine which route is going to best fit you.

2. Design a site with a personality
Hire a creative team or designers with background experience in branding, concept marketing, usability, customer behavior. It is important to design a site with personality that can tell a story. This will create a landscape where your visitors would remember your site and would talk about it with others. This will create buzz and therefore would draw new and returning visitors to your site. Comentum creative team have years of experience in branding, concept marketing, usability and customer behavior; your site would have a look and feel tailored for your audiences with a personality and branding that lasts.

3. You need a user friendly and no hassle ecommerce shopping cart
A well developed shopping cart would make it easy for online shoppers to purchase online. And it would make it easy for the site owners to start selling products right away without having to learn programming or a complicated software. It would give you, the site owner, the capability to:
- Easily, fully manage your online store and shopping cart pages.
- Write a comprehensive descriptions of each one of your products
- Organize and structure your products and categories so your customers can easily navigate and find a product.
- Being able to optimize your shopping cart pages with the proper keywords for best search engine indexing
- Ability to display related items for up selling to your customers
- Capability to send out email marketing, monthly coupons or newsletters.
- Site statistics reporting to help you analyze your traffic and make future advertising or marketing decisions.
- Capability for groups or memberships discounts and promotions.
- Ability to track orders and delivery dates.
- Flexibility to customize the delivery and shipping chargers based on item weights, pricing, shipping states, etc.
- Capability to upload PDF, Word, Excel, JPG documents to better describe your products and get better search engine ranking.
- Multilevel security to protect your clients' sensitive financial information.
- Capability to keep track of your items in stock.
- US based Helpful phone support - you need to be able to call and get a hold of a senior level technician and discuss and solve any issues that you may have.

Stay away from companies with India support team who only answer based on the support manual. What is the point of support where it does not solve your issue and ends up wasting your time.

CashCowCart is an ecommerce shopping cart software with all of the above features and capabilities and much more. And, we do not contract out our support to India. You get to talk to a technician who cares about you.

4. You need a payment gateway and merchant account.
When customers add all of the items they need into the shopping cart and are ready to checkout, they will be directed to a secure checkout page where they enter they shipping and billing address and payment information. Once customers press the "Submit Payment" button, the shopping cart program would transfer the payment information securely to the payment gateway server, then the payment gateway server, would send the payment information securely to the merchant bank, then the merchant bank would verify the customer and payment collect-ability with Visa/Mastercard/AMEX/Discover and would respond with the approval status back to the payment gateway and in turn back to the shopping cart server.

Some people would ask, why do we need a payment gateway company? Why can the shopping cart software connect directly to the merchant bank? Because merchant banks only allow very limited access to their servers due to immense security vulnerabilities; payment gateway companies have been specialized and licensed by most of the merchant banks in order to access and communicate with merchant bank servers.

So in short, payment gateway companies are responsible to connect and communicate with merchant banks to verify the payment. And merchant banks are responsible for processing and collecting the payment and deposit it to your bank account.

Comentum and CashCowCart ecommerce shopping cart software company are currently working with qualified, reliable and responsive payment gateway companies and merchant banks to better serve our customers.

5. Start marketing and advertising your ecommerce site
Now that your site is designed, your shopping cart is live and functioning smoothly, your items are properly entered and comprehensively described, you used the CashCowCart's search engine optimization feature to add all proper keywords to your shopping cart pages, you are ready to advertise and market your site.

You can start by submitting your site to major directories and secondary specialized directories in your industry/business category. Also, learn, research and dedicate some time, money and effort in keywords and sponsored search advertising.

Marketing and advertising would play a big part in the success of your ecommerce business. To benefit from your ecommerce site, at minimum, you need to do some keyword and directory advertising. Every business situation requires a different marketing game-plan and advertising methods.

A good marketing team would analyze your industry, competitors, audiences, business environment and would suggest the best marketing strategy tailored to your business. Comentum’s marketing team has been providing marketing strategies to its clients for the past ten years and can help you with your marketing and advertising needs.

  Ecommerce Mens Store

The clothing industry sells better online with the CashCowCart shopping cart, and you can also "suit up" with a world-class web store.

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