Shopping Website Essentials

10 Jan Shopping Website Essentials

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Setting up your first online shopping site may seem like a gargantuan task. It actually is. The world of ecommerce is tough and competitive. To survive, you will need to offer a good product, excellent customer service and an overall great online buying experience.

Any work that you do to help your site improve in its ability to attract the right kind of visitors and to convert them into solid buyers will be rewarded greatly. There is definitely demand for good online shopping sites on the web. Internet shopping has become a pretty popular activity over the last few years, growing in worth to billions of dollars.

If you’re starting your first shopping website, it is important that you prepare well for it. Start with the goal in mind. Have a business plan that outlines everything from your growth strategy to your marketing tactics. Do a simple checklist of vendors and suppliers you plan to work with and have the proper evaluation procedures in place.

For instance, you will need a provider for your shopping websites templates, for your web hosting, domain provider, and more importantly for your product inventory. There are hundreds of developers and suppliers for online shopping sites on the web, so choose wisely.

You also need to decide on which niche you will be focusing on. Choosing products that you are already familiar with is a big advantage. One, you already have the product knowledge you will need to support any queries you may get. Two, you can easily write your own, fresh, unique content that will work well for your search engine optimization efforts. You niche choice should be well coordinated with your choice of inventory suppliers.

Next, you will need to have the proper backend systems in place. If you are only working with a company that provides for the design aspect of shopping websites, then you will have to work with another one that could help you with inventory management. Do know that there are options for suppliers who already have a single product for both functionalities – the virtual storefront as well as the inventory management system that goes with it.

More than that, you will also need to work with a merchant account provider, a payment gateway and a shopping cart system. All these will enable you to provide credit card processing within your online shopping sites. When you are in the process of selecting the right provider for these services, make sure that your systems are able to work with each other.

Then, there’s the website security and trust aspect that you also have to stay on top of. As you are processing payments online, it is essential that you have Secure Sockets Layer or SSL certifications that encrypt the transactions you send online. This, in itself, is a very important consideration for buyers. But to boost their confidence in your shopping website, you should also consider displaying trust seals such as VeriSign, Better Business Bureau or TRUSTe. You should also be clear about your privacy policy in your website.

All these are key ingredients to have a website that will be appreciated by your target audience and can help you succeed with online sales.

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