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Keys to a Successful Ecommerce Business Site

As the online retail sales reached over 200 billion this year, many people are joining the ecommerce club to get even a small piece of this gigantic pie.

Starting an ecommerce business is most likely a lot more affordable than starting a brick and mortar business. And additionally, an ecommerce site can get visitors from anywhere in the world, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  

Online shopping has a lot of advantages; it is convenient, you will avoid crowds and driving around, you can research numerous different products and suppliers, read comments from other shoppers and make a perfect purchase based on the best pricing and most positive reviews.

Here are some of the main reasons that consumers and businesses would prefer shopping online:

1. Better pricing
2. Larger product selections
3. Effortless product comparison4. Convenient and easy to shop around, viewing different suppliers and best prices5. Many product review resources

So, what does it take to be a part of such an incredible opportunity?
Here are a few items to consider:  

1. Research the online market landscape for your product type:
There are many tools available online, that help you research your product marketability on the Internet. You can read about the statistics of different categories and their percentage of market share: 2006 Online Retail Sales
You may also want to do additional research on how many people are looking for your product on search engines. This will give you some indication if a good market exists for your product. Here is a good link to try:
Internet Category Markets

2. Analyze the competive landscape: It is important to do extensive research on your online competitors. Examine their marketing methods, strong points and weaknesses. Although some of the larger and wel-known sites may have an upper hand; you can differentiate your online business by providing better personalized services and come up with unique or more specialized products.

Hiding your phone number and address on your site will cause customers to hesitate on purchasing and will put a damper on your online success. 

3. Build a professional, user friendly and well-built site:
Studies show that only 4% of consumers stop at a poorly designed site to make a purchase; even a rock-bottom price and the best available brand will not help the purchase. Online shoppers are becoming more savvy and sophisticated; they can easily differentiate between a professionally designed and poorly designed site. Consumers hesitate to purchase from ecommerce sites that they have any doubt about its integrity or legitimacy.
The problem is that there are those that take a six month web design class and then call themselves a web designer.  It is very easy to put together a web page. Actually, you do not even need to take a class for it.  Many people do not understand that there is a lot more that goes into building a professional web site than just knowing a web design software. That is why it is so easy to determine if a website is designed professionally by someone trainined in design, usability, marketing and branding concepts, to name a few, or  it is a template site, or it is designed by someone’s 16 year old cousin. People will not take your company seriously if you have your web page designed by an inexperienced web designer or someone who is doing it as a hobby.
What does it take to have a professional and well-built ecommerce site that can help win the trust of your customers, and in long run, build your brand and in-turn build equity in your e-business?  

A well-built site is usually put together by a team of people, each with their own specialized experience:
A. Copywriters -  Writing good content for a site is not easy. A site with well-written content will help your credibility and draws search engine traffic to your site.

B. Creative team -  is made up of experienced designers with background knowledge in areas such as:
- Usability and User Behavior
- Concept Development
- Branding
- Marketing
Skilled designers with the above experience would incorporate branding, marketing and consider audience behavior and usability in their design work. They would give your site a look that best suits your company or product in order to attract your desired target audience.

You may think that to find a creative team with such experience, it would be necessary to hire a huge company or pay thousands of dollars. Comentum has a senior level creative team that is qualified and knowledgeable in all of the above essential fields, and Comentum’s charges are surprisingly reasonable for its services.  Read more about the top 12 design flaws that lead to business failure.

C. Development team -  Programmers usually are not good designers and vise versa. You will need senior level programmer(s) to develop a well-built web site. All of the back-end and front end interactions, database interface, calculations and logic are developed by programmers. If your site displays a programming error or takes too much time to load a dynamic web page, it shows that the site was poorly developed.

It is also important to select the right programming language to develop your site. PHP and MySQL
are the most popular programming language and database server technologies for the Internet. They are reliable, secure, powerful, scalable, flexible, easier to maintain and are being used by government agencies, large companies and sites such as Yahoo, Google, Craigslist, Wikipedia, NASA and the US Census to name a few.  Just walk into a bookstore and look at the Internet programming sections, you will find a big selection of books on PHP and MySQL. And very little on other programming languages.

The following are independent surveys and opinions about the best programming languages to use on the Internet:
• Java, C, C++ and Visual Basic are mostly used for desktop application development. • PHP, Perl, JavaScript are mostly used for web applications and ecommerce development.

D. Quality assurance and production team - The quality assurance team would be in charge of beta testing the site and recording of all of the programming errors, design inconsistencies, issues with different browsers and spelling mistakes to name a few.

The production team would fix any minor issues and optimize the pages for the best search engine indexing.

4. Construct a market strategy and market your site

Once your site has been designed, developed, search engine optimized and tested, you would hire a marketing team that sets forth a plan to start marketing your site on the net.  Depending on your available budget, you would decide which marketing method to select.  

At the minimum, you must carry out certain marketing strategies and practices if you want search engine exposure and traffic.  You can do the following marketing yourself:

- Submit your site to major directories.
- Submit your site to other specialized directories in your field.
- Start using newsgroups, forums, and even podcasting to promote your site
.- Do some keywords and sponsored search advertising. Comentum provides ecommerce, web design, multimedia animation, online training, web database applications, marketing, branding and hosting services at a reasonable price.

There are so many marketing strategies available, but the result varies depending on your industry and business environment.

A good marketing team will analyze your industry, competitors, audiences, business environment and then 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.

  Comentum Marketing Team

The CashCowCart usability team of experts is ready to help you create the best image and market your ecommerce online business to out ride the competition.
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