September 17, 2013
The convenience of online shopping has made it very popular and many people are now opting to shop from the comfort of their home rather than drive down to the superstore. The internet has made it possible for us to purchase items without even crossing borders and you only need to bookmark your favorite online stores to get the items of your choice delivered to you at your doorstep.
This online shopping experience has been boosted with the introduction of search engines that do a price comparison on different products and present the best deal to the customer based on his previous buying habits. All of us loathe going from shop to shop seeking the best deal on a specific item and here you have something presented to you on a platter. These engines have the capability to not only compare products within the same category, but can also do across categories. Moreover, they take into consideration other factors like the reputation of the online merchant and authentic product information gleaned from product reviews, which they present to the customer to enable him to make an informed decision.
It is for these reasons that online merchants can no longer afford to neglect the utility of a shopping search engine. They know that customers shopping online are savvy and it is in their interest to make available authentic and researched information to get the sale from such online customers quickly. The issues of security and customer lack of confidence in making online purchases due to the apprehension of credit card fraud or a particular online merchant not returning money for goods damaged in transit has also been addressed by some of these shopping search engines by enabling customers to post testimonials about their experiences and by having a comprehensive rating system in place for such online merchants.
The question now is what kind of a shopping search engine you should go for?
They are of broadly two types – one which are general and do a comparison with several categories and products and the second which is specific to verticals and concentrate on fewer products.
Let us look at some of the principal search engines specializing in this activity. These are repositories of information gained from comparing millions of items spread across multiple categories and you only need to browse to the right vertical to get the required information.
a) EBay – This engine can boast of providing linkages to many thousands of online stores of all types and get you information on price and features in very quick time to enable you to take a decision on what to purchase. Their other arm Shopping.com also gives shoppers information on various auction listings, thus providing more options for the shoppers.
b) NexTag – This has a convenient feature giving you the net price you need to pay after including the taxes and even shipping costs taking into account your Zip code. You thus know exactly how much a particular product is going to cost you.
c) Google Base – This allows you to place your goods on it and you do not need to have your own website. Through this, you can reach across to your customers and transact.
The above search engines have traditionally relied on direct advertising to draw customers to their sites. Of late however, they have been successful in linking them selves with specific sites stocking a particular product through an “API”, to present the shopper with information on the product he is seeking. The online shopper is blissfully unaware of all this happening in a fraction of a second in the background.
More importantly, meta-shopping sites that can draw information from many such comparison shopping sites is the latest development and all this is extremely good news for the online shopper.
September 7, 2013
You have designed a wonderful website and drafted a very nicely worded sales copy which is sure to bring customers to your website. However, have you given a thought to what payment processing system you will be using? You need to make sure that the system that you select is customer friendly and your online customers are able to complete their purchase transactions quickly and without any hassle.
When you have a robust payment processing system in place, you are able to infuse confidence in the merchants and customers using your website leading to enhanced sales going forward.
While many people use credit cards for making payments, you also have to cater to those who may wish to make payments through other means and this will surely enable you to boost sales at your website.
The different alternatives possible as a payment processing system are:
- Processing related to credit and debit cards
- ACH Processing
- Wire transfer through bank
- Debit directly to your account
1. Some of the credit card payment processing systems are as mentioned below.
a) One all time favorite credit card processing method is through Pay pal and most users who already have their individual card information registered with Pay pal will be loathe to change and you will do well to have the Pay pal system integrated with your website.
b) The other one is 2Checkout wherein you can set up the system and have it running pretty quickly and your customers will appreciate the facility you are providing them. This is sure to enhance sales of your eBooks. You only need to ensure your backend is well prepared to execute such transactions.
c) If software is one of the products you sell, then you would do well to choose payment systems such as the SWREG as this also helps in adequate protection of your software.
2. ACH Processing
This type of payment processing enables you to conserve both time and money. You can cater to customers who wish to electronically transfer funds and you can pass on benefits relating to the any savings in your cost to your customers helps save time and money. This gives your merchants a consistent and time tested method to manage cash better and you can process payments through a single portal which is safe.
This system is very good for customers not wanting to use their credit or debit cards and since payment is effected through a secure SSL encrypted terminal, it is quick and convenient for both merchant and the customer.
4. Wire transfer through bank
Through this system, merchants can transfer funds online from anywhere in the world and you can also do a seamless transfer of funds from one account to another. This is a secure process and the only thing is it could take some hours to complete one transaction.
5. Debit directly to the account
By far the most convenient and free of any hassles, this system enables you to accept debit payments. It provides merchants to defer their payments due and since it is simple to implement, merchants are more than happy to cooperate.
6. Usage of Cashless ATM Machines
This helps both merchants and customers as the former need not pay any processing costs and the latter can get some cash back on each transaction. The system is secure as there is no cash involved.
September 5, 2013
When you want to learn about how your business is doing or where you could make improvements, one of the best ways is to administer a survey. Over the years, customers have been able to take phone surveys or paper surveys, but now with the web survey software from Vovici, they can take a survey that pertains to your business from the privacy and comfort of their own home and you can still obtain the important customer feedback that you desire. Taking a web survey is not only convenient for the customer but it is good for you too because then all the information can be exported into one useful area and made into reports or whatever you want.
Consistent Quality: Survey Software
When you are looking to gain insight and knowledge into the customer feedback for your business, the customer survey software from Vovici offers quality products that deliver great results. It is important that the results you obtain are all accurate and that the survey software is consistent as well. With Vovici you don’t need to worry about quality because all of the software they use is great and offers consistent and accurate results. The best way to make improvements to your business is by administering a survey of some type and Vovici offers the best survey software to make it easy.
September 5, 2013
Your ecommerce website business venture is not complete without a tie up with a reputed merchant account provider. You must also endeavor to tie up with a provider offering drop shipping services so that you put your self in the best position to commence your online business venture.
As evident from its name, drop shipping means the delivery of purchased items by the provider to the address of the purchaser. They are your logistic service providers who will take care of the pick up, packing, initiating transit of the items and ultimately delivering the purchased items to the ultimate buyer. No online business can survive without the aid of a good drop shipper. They will handle everything for you leaving you free to concentrate on your core business and you need not bother about stocking any items and maintaining an inventory.
Essentially they are of two kinds – those who have their own warehouses and stock items and those who can pick up the items from the supplier of those items. It is not important as to what kind of drop shipper you choose, your endeavor should be to reduce the elements within the supply chain so that you are able to decrease the transportation costs and pass them on to the buyer. That will make your business stand out and you will be considered competitive in the market place.
Some factors to keep in mind prior to selecting a drop shipper are as below:
a) The reputation of the drop shipper
You must ensure that you choose somebody who holds a good reputation in the industry and in the areas they specialize in. It is not necessary that you have to tie up with just one drop shipper for all your needs. You could look at niche players also. For instance, there could be somebody who are very good at handling and distributing computer parts, so you must think of a tie up with such niche players as well.
You must not be swayed by the hefty commissions that some may offer you and though that could be very tempting, it could also be detrimental to your business in the long run if their service does not match up to your expectations.
You must become aware that the drop shipper that you have decided on can impact your business as your customers would want you to deal with only those who have a good reputation and can be relied upon.
You can check the reputation of a certain drop shipping provider by checking out the internet and searching for feedbacks from online sellers like you- they are the best resources in searching for the perfect courier.
b) How quickly can they deliver?
While speed does matter in the online business, reliability and delivery of goods that are intact and without damage is equally important. Any lapse on this count will go against you as the customer would not be concerned with the mistakes made by your drop shipper. You may need to shell out more money who can deliver your goods safely and properly, but it will be well worth the price you pay to build your own reputation.
c) Customer Service and Support
It is important that you as one of the customers of your drop shipper get adequate support and quick responses for any queries you may have regarding the movement of goods. Your drop shipper must have well trained staff that should be able to address any of your concerns in a timely manner so that you do not have to cut a sorry figure with your customers. Your customers should also feel comfortable to get in touch with the drop shipper to check on the status of their purchased items and when can they expect to receive them at their residence.
The drop shipper is a very important element of your business and you need to exercise adequate due diligence in choosing the best one for your needs.
June 23, 2013
You spend a lot of money on developing a website and also know that you may have to invest much more to keep it running. You are aware that this is going to put a lot of pressure on your finances and would prefer to cut costs wherever possible. In this regard, you might also think about opting for an ecommerce shopping cart for which you need not pay anything as it would fit in with your idea of cutting costs. However, sourcing such a shopping cart is not a very easy task and you must consider certain issues that may crop up with a free shopping cart so that you are well aware of what you are about to get into.
a) Absence of customer service support
It is an accepted fact that anything offered free of cost will usually not have any customer service backing. The free shopping cart is no exception. As they do not have cash flow coming in, the folks behind such applications cannot afford a customer service team and your queries are not likely to be answered and resolved quickly. This could cost you dearly when you need quick help and can even impact your business, as a shopping cart application is one of the most important elements in the successful running of an ecommerce business.
b) Upgrades and update requests may not be entertained
You are aware that all software undergoes modifications and upgrades on a regular basis. That is because software is likely to develop bugs and they need to be tackled immediately with a resolution that will reflect in an upgraded or updated version of the same software. With free products, such upgrades may not happen as the necessary developers required to carry out such modifications cannot be afforded by the distributors of such free products. In fact, the problem can get aggravated if the software is running on a PHP script.
Moreover, your requests for any feature that you want to be added to your shopping cart may also meet with the same fate and there will be nobody to entertain your requests. You will find that the folks are just in no mood to accede to any of your requests having given you a free product in the first place.
c) Inaccurate and poor quality of coding
Though it is not frequent, the chances are that many of these free scripts are written pretty haphazardly and the coding may not always be of the highest quality. This would result in a slow loading period and the software may use up more resources than necessary. Bad coding can also negatively impact any chances of you updating your website on your own in future as it is only the experienced programmers who would know how to get around such glitches and make the necessary adjustments. As somebody relatively new to programming and the ecommerce business, it would be a tough task for you to overcome the problems associated with bad coding. In other words, customization to suit your needs may not be possible and you will have to rely on outside help to get this done.
The above are just some of the problems you could run into with a free shopping cart and you need to take an informed decision on how you want to approach this crucial element for your ecommerce website.