Ecommerce: Ensuring Delivery

Ecommerce: Ensuring Delivery

In the early days of ecommerce it was more likely that you would have direct interaction with an online business. Before the advent of shopping carts and online credit card transactions you might have been advised to call the online business phone number and place your order over the phone. Packages may have arrived with a hand written mailer and a note of thanks enclosed. As a customer you might have even been saddled with the task of sending a check and then waiting for the product to arrive once payment cleared the bank.

As ecommerce business has expanded, so too have the methods of payment. With the payment issues moving toward an automated accounting system we have seen the fulfillment of orders move toward a more automated function as well.

This is the typical order of product fulfillment with major online companies today.

1) Product ordered through online store using standard shopping cart.
2) Autoresponder used to confirm order placement and payment information.
3) Order added to a fulfillment database.
4) Autoresponder used to alert customer to the successful shipping of the product.
5) Tracking information provided to allow customer to follow the delivery of their product.

There may still be room for human error, however this type of product fulfillment takes into account the needs of the consumer, the advantages of current technology and a more efficient means of follow through with customers.

Defining your shipping policy in your Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) section may be a very positive way to help customers know what to expect from your ecommerce store.

It could be your online store provides customized gifts or services that may find benefit from personal interaction with your clients. In some cases it may be wise to adopt a positive human touch when working with your clients. However, as your business grows you may discover it is time consuming to keep up with every order personally. This is when a more automated delivery system may be in order.

Customer service is a prized component to any ecommerce business. If a customer has to remind you to make a delivery it is possible you have lost that individual as a customer.

I had a situation where a software product was ordered, but was not delivered. The company found the information, discovered the shipping error, and sent the product to me overnight and added bonus software. Their response to the issue was what allowed me to feel comfortable returning to their ecommerce store for additional software purchases.

If you make a mistake – make it right – make it better than right – and do it quickly. A reputation is hard to gain and easily lost.

gging – Popular Blog Media To Choose From

Blogging – Popular Blog Media To Choose From

Blogging is hitting the Internet by storm. Its popularity has paved the way to various blogging celebrities and even innovative posts that are remarkable on the Internet. It has transcended more than a niche to share one’s thoughts and expertise. It is now a medium for providing various information of products and services from businesses that cater to various fields like travel, fashion, gadgets, and more. It is no wonder that having a blog today is as important as having your own social media account.

With the popularity of blogging, many are slowly embracing this form of media. To date, there are already many blogging sites that one can consider. One of which is Blogger, WordPress, and Tumblr. These three have been the most notable ones and fairly has vast number of blogs and accounts. If you have been contemplating in making your own blog and having difficulty choosing which blogging platform to use, perhaps the notes below can help you.

1. Blogger. Blogger is the Google’s blogging platform. If you have a Gmail account, creating one would be easy since you can use your existing account for the blog. Once you already have an account, you can just setup the address of your blog or your blog’s domain. Then you can start creating your own posts. What makes Blogger unique is that you can easily incorporate ads and earn from it through Adsense, also from Google. Blogger has its own ads niche that you can just drag and drop in your blog’s layout. It will automatically appear on your blog’s page once it goes live. Blogger also has a great blog analytic program called Google Analytics that gives data on your blog’s hit, market reach, and audience.
2. Wordpress. This has always been a popular blogging platform. What made it so famous is the use and incorporation of widgets. These are external programs that you can install to make your blog more appealing. Aside from that, these widgets even allow easy incorporation of social media links and more. You can even create your own widget if you know how to program using XML and JavaScript.
3. Tumblr. Tumblr is considered the blog for the youth. The reason being is that with Tumblr, you can easily follow and share a post that you want. In return, these posts will be shown on your Tumblr account. If you prefer easy sharing of posts, then Tumblr would be ideal for you. You can also be able to track your number of followers.

To date, there are already quite a number of blogging platforms available in the web, apart from these 3. These three are perhaps the most popular and most preferred by a lot of people. Regardless of choice, the most important thing is that you can start blogging.

Effective Web Page Design for E-Commerce

Effective Web Page Design for E-Commerce

The widespread availability of high-speed Internet access has resulted in ever-greater numbers of consumers making online purchases. This means that business owners of all stripes – from individuals working from home to big box mass merchandisers – can reach more buyers and can generate exponentially greater revenue than ever before.

There are many theories about and tips for marketing and advertising your online store, and marketing and advertising is certainly a consideration. But in focusing so much attention on marketing, many business owners neglect a fundamental aspect of successful e-commerce: web page design.

If you don’t have a professional webpage design, it doesn’t matter how much traffic you generate to your site because those visitors won’t convert to customers. It’s crucial to have a website that is compelling and that makes visitors want to stay long enough to buy. Here, then, are six tips to help your web design transform visitors into customers:

1. Keep it Clean. A professional web page designer will tell you that to keep your virtual storefront clean and free of clutter. It should be immediately clear to the visitor the types of items you sell without overwhelming them with dozens of hyperlinks, fonts, and flashing buttons and words. You can certainly incorporate a flash introduction in your web design, but if you do, give the visitor control. He or she should be able to bypass or pause the flash so that the annoyance factor is kept to a minimum.

2. Intuitive Navigation. Your website designer should think like your customer and design a navigation system that easily takes your customer from your home page to the product or products of interest. The fewer number of clicks it takes to get from point A to point B, the more likely it is that your visitor will make a purchase.

3. Search Functionality. Customers need to be able to find what they need quickly and easily. Allowing customers to search by keyword or product number is a great start. Going one step further and allowing “fuzzy” searches that will also return matches for common misspellings is even better.

4. Seamless Shopping Cart. Many e-commerce sites lose customers at the critical juncture between selecting items and committing to buy them. An intuitive and easy-to-use shopping cart is essential to the online shopping experience. Again, your web page designer should think like your customer and utilize a shopping cart that makes checkout a breeze.

5. SSL Certificate. If you’re an online merchant, there’s simply no getting around the need for an SSL certificate. With the problems associated with identity theft, your customers need to have confidence that your website is secure.

6. Leave it to the Professionals. When it comes to web page design, don’t succumb to the temptation to do it yourself. Even if you have a web design program, you should hire a business web page designer to create your web site. Professionals have a variety of tools that will help your business succeed online, and will act as your partner in developing e-commerce solutions that will encourage visitors to stick around and purchase your products.

Buying Diamonds: Selecting the Best Company

Buying Diamonds: Selecting the Best Company

Diamond shoppers today have more choices than ever on where to buy their diamond engagement ring, diamond earrings and other diamond jewelry items. However, with greater selections come bigger potential risks and rewards. You need to do your homework and understand how to select the best company for your diamond purchase.

The retail diamond market is comprised of three broad categories of diamond sources; jewelry stores, ecommerce diamond companies and diamond brokers.

Jewelry Stores
Until recent years, jewelry stores were the only option for most diamond shoppers. This was especially true for smaller towns and rural areas. These stores had a monopoly, much like Ma Bell with the phone systems during most of the 20th century. Jewelry stores were the only game in town and could set their prices at whatever markup they wanted.

Jewelry stores depend on impulse buying so they focus on having a selection to pick from, name recognition through extensive advertising, and being convenient so shoppers can walk in and make a purchase with no education or knowledge of the product. If it looks nice to an impulse buyer, they will pull out the credit card and have it gift-wrapped. To attract the impulse buyer, jewelers built elaborate stores with polished marble floors, expensive display cases, and lighting that makes everything in the store sparkle.

To pay for the stores, the decorations and all the expensive advertising, jewelry stores must maintain high markups on the items they sell. The more expensive stores have bigger inventory, higher rent and more advertising, which dictates the higher markup necessary to pay for all that overhead.

E-Commerce Diamond Retailers
The online shopping cart of hundreds of jewelry retailers has been one of the big growth areas for e-commerce. Shoppers can shop from the convenience of their home or work computer, look at the pictures of thousands of jewelry items online and place their order without ever talking to a human. E-commerce diamond retailers provide a list of diamonds owned by groups of wholesalers and let the shopper pick the diamond they want based on the specifications in the list. The shopper pays for the diamond in advance and then the wholesaler or the retailer ships the diamond to the consumer.

The online jewelry retailers offer the advantage of much greater selection than you can find in a jewelry store and the ability to ship the items all over the country, which provides greater options for shoppers in small towns and rural areas. Due to low overhead costs, online jewelers can provide lower prices than most jewelry stores. The disadvantage of the online jeweler is that there are few safeguards in place to keep the consumer from making a mistake. Picking the least expensive diamond from a list of options often means there is something less desirable about the diamond. Without an expert adviser to help, the consumer is mostly on their own to make their selection.

Diamond Brokers
There is a third type of diamond retailer, the diamond broker, that differs from the jewelry store or e-commerce retailer. Like most e-commerce retailers, brokers do not own inventory and have low overhead, but they differ in that they work as diamond consultants for the shopper to find the best diamonds meeting the consumer’s requirements.

To attract new clients, diamond brokers rely on word of mouth advertising. They typically have a website focused on online education and shopping advice instead of a list of inventory and the online shopping cart. Diamond brokers work with their client to find the best diamond on the wholesale market and present it to the client in the broker’s office or ship the diamond to the client to examine before they purchase. The result of the lower overhead and personal consultant service is that clients usually get a better diamond at a lower price than with jewelry stores or online retailers.

To determine which company is going to be the best supplier for your diamonds, know what retailer characteristics are most important to you then ask many questions. Be sure the company you select is going to be able to provide the personalized service, expert advice, high quality diamonds and low prices you deserve.

Buying Diamonds

Buying Diamonds

Diamond shoppers today have more choices than ever on where to buy their diamond engagement ring, diamond earrings and other diamond jewelry items. However, with greater selections come bigger potential risks and rewards. You need to do your homework and understand how to select the best company for your diamond purchase.
The retail diamond market is comprised of three broad categories of diamond sources; jewelry stores, ecommerce diamond companies and diamond brokers.
Jewelry Stores
Until recent years, jewelry stores were the only option for most diamond shoppers. This was especially true for smaller towns and rural areas. These stores had a monopoly, much like Ma Bell with the phone systems during most of the 20th century. Jewelry stores were the only game in town and could set their prices at whatever markup they wanted.
Jewelry stores depend on impulse buying so they focus on having a selection to pick from, name recognition through extensive advertising, and being convenient so shoppers can walk in and make a purchase with no education or knowledge of the product. If it looks nice to an impulse buyer, they will pull out the credit card and have it gift-wrapped. To attract the impulse buyer, jewelers built elaborate stores with polished marble floors, expensive display cases, and lighting that makes everything in the store sparkle.
To pay for the stores, the decorations and all the expensive advertising, jewelry stores must maintain high markups on the items they sell. The more expensive stores have bigger inventory, higher rent and more advertising, which dictates the higher markup necessary to pay for all that overhead.
E-Commerce Diamond Retailers
The online shopping cart of hundreds of jewelry retailers has been one of the big growth areas for e-commerce. Shoppers can shop from the convenience of their home or work computer, look at the pictures of thousands of jewelry items online and place their order without ever talking to a human. E-commerce diamond retailers provide a list of diamonds owned by groups of wholesalers and let the shopper pick the diamond they want based on the specifications in the list. The shopper pays for the diamond in advance and then the wholesaler or the retailer ships the diamond to the consumer.
The online jewelry retailers offer the advantage of much greater selection than you can find in a jewelry store and the ability to ship the items all over the country, which provides greater options for shoppers in small towns and rural areas. Due to low overhead costs, online jewelers can provide lower prices than most jewelry stores. The disadvantage of the online jeweler is that there are few safeguards in place to keep the consumer from making a mistake. Picking the least expensive diamond from a list of options often means there is something less desirable about the diamond. Without an expert adviser to help, the consumer is mostly on their own to make their selection.
Diamond Brokers
There is a third type of diamond retailer, the diamond broker, that differs from the jewelry store or e-commerce retailer. Like most e-commerce retailers, brokers do not own inventory and have low overhead, but they differ in that they work as diamond consultants for the shopper to find the best diamonds meeting the consumer’s requirements.
To attract new clients, diamond brokers rely on word of mouth advertising. They typically have a website focused on online education and shopping advice instead of a list of inventory and the online shopping cart. Diamond brokers work with their client to find the best diamond on the wholesale market and present it to the client in the broker’s office or ship the diamond to the client to examine before they purchase. The result of the lower overhead and personal consultant service is that clients usually get a better diamond at a lower price than with jewelry stores or online retailers.
To determine which company is going to be the best supplier for your diamonds, know what retailer characteristics are most important to you then ask many questions. Be sure the company you select is going to be able to provide the personalized service, expert advice, high quality diamonds and low prices you deserve.

Foretell what’s in 2006 E-Commerce Web Development

Foretell what’s in 2006 E-Commerce Web Development

Will it be a better year or worst than the exiting year? It remains to be seen. Nonetheless, let me present my predictions as well…

1. The giant among the search engines will purchase additional technology start-ups. It will also contemplate on purchasing an older company and let go of its product for free.

2. Another is that web-wide video search will be developed into something big. It can now be found both in user-uploaded files and web videos.

3. A major revamp will happen on major search engines indices. As a result of this, numerous sites will be kicked out of the engines.

4. Internet Explorer 7 is soon to be released. This version includes several features.

5. Google will release Google Talk. This new feature can be used by chatters in their browsers.

6. Consequently, Microsoft Windows will suffer a little because of the E-commerce latest web developments.

7. Yahoo will again release a new email client. This can trigger the change of heart among Gmail users. The change will be by reason of the formers look and feel.

8. New translation tools will be introduced to the web. This way, just anybody can search in any language they prefer.

9. Bloggers will still be given attention. In fact, additional search engine features will be made for their enjoyment and easy access to other blogs.

10. Google will increase the frequency of their updates. Those who rank high in its PageRank will be made more accessible.

11. Google will also introduce graphic ads and do away with old features. This can trigger the user’s angst.

12. Yahoo and MSN will contemplate on focusing on its search and do away with their so-so features.

These are the foreseen future of E-commerce web development. Other predictions may mark a good leap while others may mark a horrible downfall. Let the future clear the clouds of ambiguities and make certain out anticipations. Let the days of the year 2006 be our guiding torch…

Ecommerce: Landing The Merchant Account

Ecommerce: Landing The Merchant Account

Accepting credit card orders online is a convenient way to do business, especially for the consumer. There are online businesses that do not use credit card payments, but rather invoice and accept either cashiers check or money orders. However, in most cases this billing process results in a loss of more than half of a site’s potential customers.

The reasons many businesses do not like to accept credit cards are many and include financial issues such as transaction fees, discount rates, setup, statement and application fees as well as a minimum monthly fee. Combined this can take a significant bite out of your potential profit.

If you are developing an ecommerce website you may discover some sites for ecommerce development that offer a Merchant Account at no cost. Others may charge as much as $500 for this type of account. What a Merchant Account does is allow those credit card orders to be processed.

The Merchant Account is also necessary to the implementation of many online shopping carts. The two often work together.

One of the most compelling reasons to pursue a Merchant Account is to expand the potential growth of your ecommerce website. With a credit card sale the consumer has a level of assurance that they will either receive their product or they are not held liable for the purchase by the credit card company (in many instances). However, with an invoice/pre-payment plan the consumer may be wary of providing cash for something they haven’t received. This is especially true when the customer is new.

In essence, an invoicing system might work for existing customers, but in order to grow you may need to consider obtaining a Merchant Account for ecommerce and then expanding your marketing plan to increase the demand for your product. In turn, growing demand may more than offset the fees associated with credit card transactions.

Some small businesses might make use of a PayPal account in lieu of a Merchant Account in order to send and receive online payments. Fees are required in this arrangement as well and some consumers may not like establishing their own PayPal account just to make a payment, but this option may be more palatable for some online business startups or small businesses that operate a niche corporation.

The knowledge of available tools provides a certain empowerment. Online searches can lead you to a variety of Merchant Account providers, but knowing the options may help you manage your company goals and objectives. Ecommerce is a big step and the more you know about available options the easier it becomes to define the solution.

gging – Why Blog for your Business

Blogging – Why Blog for your Business

In this day and age where we rely so much on various gadgets like smartphones, tablets, and computers, business owners are forced to shift their marketing radar over to the digital realm. Their customers are now reliant on Google to deliver information that they need, whether it’s a recipe for a chocolate cake or the address to the nearest law firms within an area.
It’s really no surprise to see huge corporations and executives own a blog or have their own social media profiles. If they can see the huge marketing potential of the Internet, other business owners should too. One of the most powerful tools that business owners can have on the Internet is a blog.

But why use a blog? Why not websites, or why should you even use a blog for your business? Let me give you a few reasons.
1.) On the Internet, blogs act avenues for information. They can hold an infinite number of content, from articles to images to videos. People log on to the Internet if they want to look for something. If your business’ blog holds relevant information, they will consider your blog as a reputable source of information. This also builds brand presence online.
2.) What makes blogs so attractive to business owners is that they are so easy to use. Blogs are easy to use.Unlike websites, blogs like Blogger and WordPress have a unique UI or user interface which allows you to publish content and layout your blog with a few clicks of a button. There’s no need to do some hard coding just to publish something.
3.) Blogs are free. You can setup an account and your blog without having to spend money, unless you opt to buy more bandwidth for your hosting and your own domain name. Blogger is a good blogging platform from Google which allows you to tweak the templates of your blog just by uploading the XML file. WordPress’ free account is limited because you are not allowed to upload themes unless you buy the hosting. Even if you were to purchase hosting and domain, you’d only spend an average of up to $200 a year for both. Pretty cheap and cost-effective too.

Blogging is used by business owners to showcase their products or to show the online world what their business is all about. If your business can’t afford to purchase air time from radio and TV stations, I suggest you invest in blogging. It’s cheaper and casts a wider net for your business.

The Key to Successful Marketing

The Key to Successful Marketing

If your business has limited marketing resources in terms of people, expertise and materials then you might want to consider outsourcing your marketing functions to an independent marketing professional or a marketing and promotions agency. Small businesses, downsized companies, and expanding corporations all have different reasons to outsource.
Marketing can be an expensive activity and maintaining in house resources can really make this a difficult program to commit to. But marketing is a very important part of business success so allowing someone else to focus on marketing gives companies a chance to focus on their core business and areas that will enable them to surpass their competition.
Outsourcing marketing resources comes with a price, but this cost is usually lower than it would be if the companies had employed and undertaken in house activities. By eliminating the need to hire full-time employees, using an agency for marketing resources saves companies thousands of dollars on wages, taxes and benefits. You are also gaining expertise in an agency that you might not find in individual employees. In addition to their own staff, agencies also have other resources to help you, such as their own outside contacts, suppliers, designers, copywriters and printers–saving you time as well as money.
When you hire an outside agency, you are hiring experts in marketing. These are professional people who can focus on all your marketing needs and not be hindered by your internal politics, relations between employees, or lack of knowledge among staff in relation to marketing strategies and how they integrate with business strategies. Marketing professionals whether independent or through a marketing agency – will often have more experience in the particular aspects of marketing than you staff, and undoubtedly more than you could pay for in an employee. Also, since they work with other clients, they have seen what works and what doesn’t in other company campaigns. This knowledge translates to more efficient and effective marketing for you as you have the benefit of their hindsight.
As with outsourcing any business function, allowing an outside agency to do your marketing or advertising brings a certain kind of objectivity with it. Sometimes you just need a fresh perspective to overcome difficulties and to achieve specific goals. An objective marketing professional will help you see things you might otherwise miss and will be more open to offering a range of fresh ideas as opposed to a bunch of tired ideas that you might have been toying with for years but have yet to implement.

Marketing Ideas

Marketing Ideas

How to implement Marketing Ideas
There are millions of marketing ideas around you
everywhere you look and the next good idea is merely
just a glance, a thought or brainstorm away. Every
successful business has at its core a series of
marketing ideas that are used to propel its
promotional activities. All of these marketing ideas
dovetail into one another and are designed to gain
and maintain a loyal customer base who will buy and
sell their products.
New marketing ideas are required to make new and creative
marketing strategies. You can either brainstorm or web
search for new ideas. For the purpose of brain storming
you will have to give a good look to your product and
then to your customer and device marketing ideas about
these. While doing web search for specific marketing
ideas, these ideas may also help you come up with newer
and additional ideas that may work for your company.
When devising a marketing plan, you need to include
the best marketing ideas, which requires creativity. If
you lack the time or talent to be creative, there are
marketing agencies that can help you with this. They
will build a complete marketing strategy for you from
the ground up. Agency staff members have seen
hundreds of different campaigns and know what
works and what doesn’t.
The marketing ideas you come up with will need to be
implemented, or they are of no use. If you cannot or do
not launch your campaigns, they will never bring you
the desired results! So when planning, keep in mind
the obstacles you may face, and think of ways to
eliminate them. Some things that may hold you back
include budget constraints, lack of skill, or being
understaffed. Think of ways around this as you plan
your strategy.
While planning you marketing strategy you have to be sure
of all the tactics that you will use in the campaign. Let
the marketing strategies be a combination of advertising,
product branding, product sampling, or something simpler
like direct mails. You can also think of adding packaging
and other promotional materials like posters etc in your
marketing strategy.