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Tips for Finding the Right E-Commerce Solution for Your Business

Tue, 06/03/2014 - 12:24pm | by Helen Hoart

More and more shoppers are staying home and shopping online this holiday season. Cyber Monday (the Monday after Thanksgiving) sales were up 30% over last year. 

The U.S.. Online Retail Forecast expects growth in the number of U.S.. consumers shopping online to rise from 167 million last year to 192 million by 2016, with the average amount spent by each customer expected to leap from $1,207 per annum to $1,738.

One of the most important elements for business to succeed in e-commerce is having the right check out process and shopping cart. A clunky shopping cart will sink a business’s ecommerce efforts quicker than a stone in a pail of water.  

As you look for the right ecommerce platform for your business, check to see if the vendor offers these features:

  • customizable site templates
  • integrated shopping cart
  • search engine optimization (SEO)
  • email marketing
  • inventory management
  • analytics

Since there are many vendors out there, you need to look at what is most important to you. Is email marketing going to the key to your success?  Do you need a mobile commerce option? How about the ability for currency conversion?

 Once you have a list of the features you need, look for an ecommerce software vendor that has a proven track record in the areas most important to you.

There are tons of vendors out there and your choices can range from open source software to proprietary ecommerce platform.

If you are very tech savvy, an open source platform like Magento Community, owned by e-commerce powerhouse eBay, could fit the bill.  It is based on open source technology and for additional Magento development businesses can tap into companies like Commerce-Lab.com.

The importance of analytics

 Once you have your ecommerce up and running it’s important to have an analytics package so you can see what’s working for you and what’s not.  I recommend Google Analytics.  It’s free and does the job.

Make sure you track where you’re orders are coming from—email, paid search, organic search, ads or affiliates.  When you know what your big sales producer is then you can crank up that channel.

Also keep track of where prospects are leaving your site.  Then you can take steps to correct what’s causing the stumbling block. 

Online transactions are now an everyday part of the working day for many small businesses. A business that does not have a website to sell their goods and services is lagging behind the competition and could be left out in the cold during next year’s cyber Monday.

 

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