Poor E-Commerce design can cost you 25% of your sales plus the additional loss of non-returning customers
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E-Commerce websites have become one our most popular offerings over the last several years. One of the main reasons is the low start up costs and ease by which online business can be done. In weeks you can establish an online store and look like an established company that has been around for years. These sites can be setup with very little out of pocket costs and no retail space and very little inventory expenses. It's such a great business model that it has often been referred to as the "perfect business". You develop a great shopping store that looks great, is easy to use and then you bring visitors in and collect orders. Naturally it's a little more complicated than that, but not much more.
E-commerce stores level the playing field too. When they are built properly and professionally you can suddenly compete with any other online store, no matter how long it's been around. The trick is in doing it professionally enough so that the average user feels comfortable enough to fork over their credit card and submit it through your website. There are still many, many people who hesitate when a website doesn't look top notch, including myself.
But the outlook for online sales couldn't be brighter. For example in 2009, e-commerce in the U.S. managed to buck the recession that dragged down the rest of retail, growing 11% to reach $155.2 billion! That's in the middle of a recession. In 2013 e-commerce spending in the United States will increase about 15.1% year over year in November and December—prime holiday shopping time—says eMarketer. Spending during those two months will total $61.8 billion, up from $53.7 billion in 2012. In 2013, e-commerce will likely account for about 6% of ALL U.S. shopping. And Mobile e-commerce will account for nearly 16%, or $41.68 billion, of the $262.30 billion that online shoppers are expected to spend in 2013! Certainly in the years to come this will continue to rise as well.
Today you can buy almost anything online that you can buy in a store, including cell phones, groceries, cars, homes, boats, levitating hover scooters (I kid not) and yes, even military armored tanks!
In terms of core features and functionality you're going to want a system that has at least these minimum requirements:
These are just a few of the features you'll want to have at the core of your system. Beyond these basic features are more advanced features that can really magnify your online sales capabilities and drive up sales considerably.
Keep in mind that there are probably hundreds of e-commerce systems out there. The most important factor is your vendor selection (the web development company). You want a vendor who has a lot of experience in this regard to help guide you to make the proper choice for your given situation AND who has experience in helping to build successful online stores. It's not enough for them to be able to offer a shopping cart; what you really want is their experience. Your vendor's experience is much more valuable than the software itself and will determine to a large degree the measure of success you achieve.
The biggest mistake is in treating your online store purchase as a "commodity" purchase. My advice to you is to FIRST buy the company, (the vendor) based on their experience and then buy the product (the system), in that order. A vendor with years of experience in this arena is worth their weight in gold as they've been through lots of implementations and can explain the nuances of online marketing and sales for your industry and implement tried and true features which will get you off on the right track.
After contending with a frustratingly outdated & poorly supported e-commerce website, EduSymp hired ClearTech Interactive to completely rebuild their entire e-commerce website system from the ground up using modern web technologies. (PHP, MySQL, Ajax, JQuery)
When ScanSound’s 26 year old company needed an E-Commerce re-design they called on the experts at ClearTech Interactive to create an easy to navigate and shop custom e-commerce system. (PHP, MySQL)
Since 2003, ClearTech Interactive Corp. has specialized in custom e-commerce web development and we can help you navigate the confusion of setting up your online business and e-commerce store. We look forward to speaking with you about your new online business venture!
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