For the past decade, e-commerce has been making its mark on the web. More and more entrepreneurs are setting up business websites that not only promote their products but also allow consumers to purchase online from anywhere in the world. Nowadays, all it takes is a payment gateway and shipping address for companies of all sizes to increase their revenue and grow their business without having to spend heavily on traditional marketing and advertising.

If you are considering upgrading your small business website to accommodate eCommerce, there are a few things you’ll need to understand in order to make it as effective and customer-friendly as possible:

  1. Ecommerce Platform – This will serve as the backbone of your ecommerce website. This will essentially determine your customers’ online shopping experience, from the moment they browse through your products, add items to the cart and checkout to pay. There are many variants to choose from which can be a little confusing, so it all boils down to your line of business and what your needs are. Features to look out for are easy item and category set-up, customization options, intuitive order management features and database protection.
  2. Web Design – Your business website should be the online equivalent of a real-life store wherein products are visibly showcased, product information prominently displayed and baskets or carts easily within reach. That said, your online store must make finding a product easy for your customers and paying for it a simple task. Keep the number of clicks to a minimum. Browsing through your website should be as user-friendly as possible so that when customers find what they are looking for, they can check out and pay with just two or three clicks. Make sure customers understand how to add items to the cart beforehand, provide accurate photos and descriptions and make your prices clearly visible as well.
  3. Payment Options – It goes without saying that your e-commerce website should be ready to accept major credit cards like Visa and MasterCard. However, with other options growing in popularity, you’d be wise to pick an ecommerce platform that easily allows you to integrate PayPal or Google Checkout on your site. The more options you give your customers, the less likely they are to take their business elsewhere.
  4. Security – This is always the primary cause for concern among both first time and seasoned online shoppers. Will their personal data and credit card details be safe with you? During the web development stage, it is imperative that all security protocols and scripting requirements are implemented to combat identity theft and also to protect yourself from hackers looking to steal from people.
  5. Shipping – eCommerce is not just about selling your product, but also getting it to your customer who could well be on the other side of the world. The best business websites should be able to compute the customer’s total order inclusive of taxes, plus all shipping, handling and duty expenses as well. Shipping options are also crucial. Again, how you choose to do it largely depends on your line of business but as a rule, it’s always a good idea to give them popular options like FedEx, DHL, UPS, etc.

For more information on how to get the best small business websites and ecommerce sites, you may call The Design People at 1.800.850.7707

Posted on February 4, 2011 by Eve

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