Archive for E-commerce

Four Offline Steps to Improve Your E-Commerce Business

Contrary to popular belief, e-commerce empires aren’t built on the internet alone. There are real world steps that need taken to ensure success. This brief guide will share four steps that any web entrepreneur can take to step their game up to the next level.

Naturally, most of the tips you read about improving your web ventures cover stuff that you do online. There are tips on web design, creating good content, engaging users, targeting your niche, and everything in between. And all of this stuff is important.

Equally important, however, are the steps you take offline to bolster your reputation and improve the legitimacy of your operation. Despite often being associated with traditional brick and mortar operations, these offline actions are actually basic steps that every serious business should take. Without them, it’s difficult to differentiate serious, established organizations from those that merely exist on the internet.

Why does this matter, you ask? Well, for a variety of reasons, but mostly because anyone can get set up online and claim to run a business but not everyone takes what they do seriously enough to go the extra mile and establish themselves. And as consumers deciding who we’re going to do business with, wouldn’t we rather work with organizations that are established and care about their reputations? Of course we would. When it comes to buying goods, making investments, developing partnerships, etc. legitimacy matters.

By following the four steps outlined below, you’ll be able to take your venture from obscure blog to budding enterprise, instantly bypassing the millions of people who aim simply to exist on the World Wide Web. While some of these steps do require some capital, none are too expensive or out of reach for the average site owner.

1. Officially register your business

It’s easy to accept payments as an individual on PayPal or add your would-be company name to the footer of your blog, but actually registering a legal business entity is the legitimate way to go about these things. For a few hundred dollars you can register an LLC with your state and begin doing business in the name of that organization. From your domain registration to the name of the company that appears on your site, having a legal company behind your venture can be used a lot of different ways. If you need help, check out Legal Zoom, who will walk you through the entire process for a fee.

2. Establish a mailing address

You don’t have to rent office space or expose your home address to establish a mailing address. All you need to do is register a P.O. Box. If you have already registered your company as described in step one, you can register a P.O. Box in your business name and use it to accept snail mail. Once this is done, you can share this information on your website, business cards, directory listings, etc. and help show the world that you exist beyond your website.

3. Set up a business telephone number

Similar to establishing a mailing address, setting up a business telephone number shows that your venture is real and that there are real people who stand behind it. Businesses that don’t have a telephone number listed instantly raise red flags in the minds of consumers. The question is inevitably, “what are they hiding from?”

A service like Google Voice can be used to obtain a free telephone number, and a small business answering service or call center can be used if you want to maintain a professional image when people call your line. If you want to keep this free, though, you can simply record a professional voicemail greeting and ask that callers leave a message.

Technically all of this can be done online, but picking up a telephone and calling someone is still viewed as an offline activity, which is why I have included it in this list.

4. Enhance your real world experience and credibility

How you spend your time offline can have a serious impact on your business, and rightfully so. By joining organizations like the Chamber of Commerce or a local rotary, you can put a face to your business and network with other professionals in your community. Invariably, these offline relationships translate into increased online exposure, as the connections you make share your information with their networks and help enhance your reputation.

As I said, all of these steps are pretty basic, and they are things that business people have been doing forever. However, with the current focus on web-based businesses and online enterprise, many of the basic steps for establishing a business have been forgotten. By taking the time to focus on the structure of your business and your offline profile, you’ll catapult yourself ahead of the competition and be on your way to creating a real organization, not just another e-commerce website.

Are there other steps you have taken offline to enhance your online business? Please share and help improve this list.

Top 3 Google Products

Google is the reason why so many people can watch, read and consult billions of relevant websites daily. I remember the times when conducting a proper online research required special skills and how people proudly advertise such research skills. Google has made internet browsing as easy as anything. The company received instant popularity with its launch in 1998 and became the main search engine in less than three years time.

Since then, Google has become more than just a search engine and has given birth to several spectacular products of its own. The list of services and products which Google offers are many but let’s discuss only the more popular ones here.

Google Android

Google Android made the idea of smartphones practical. The android software generated an entire new range of features for smartphones. A lot of companies are collaborating with Google’s Android Open Source Project to make more applications for the smartphone users. Android is helping half of internet users to log on to different websites, stream live shows, download, upload and share files through smartphones.

Google+

The world of social media offers more prospects for a single entity to manage. Google stepped into the social medium with its Buzz and +1 feature and is currently enjoying its official launch. Unlike Facebook, it is an invite only network and helps users categorize their family, friends, acquaintance and other contacts online. Some of the reports claim that over 20 million people have already joined G+ and this number is with shocking speed at 2 million users per day. The brawl between Facebook and G+ is an old story now. What we get to read more these days is how Facebook’s privacy setting is increasing the conversion rate for G+ and where G+ fails to give Facebook-like features.

Google Places

For small businesses, ‘Google Places’ offers a fine opportunity to put them on the map, literally. By getting registered at Google Places, small businesses get a chance to promote their daily business leads, new promotions and announcements. More than 50 million companies are already registered at Google Places and the rest are on their way to embrace it. With terrific page rank techniques and algorithms, Google has gained the respect which envies many of its rivals. Experts believe that to convince the rest of the people to switch to e-commerce, Google can play its role. Google Places is perhaps the first step towards it.

Conclusion

Google, as a company, does not stint-on its efforts to serve people better. It continues to bring innovative and exciting features to serve the biggest chunk of people, which according to certain reports are believed to have crossed the barrier of one billion and are spread around the globe. Despite the allegation of being unable to maintain privacy and censorship, the online users all around the world didn’t quit using Google Search Engine and the other services provided by it.

Susan Smith is a online wholesale directory and B2B marketing expert. She writes frequently on the topics related to wholesalers, UK distribtuors and trade suppliers.

Groupon Deals of The Day – Ways To Save

Groupon is a website where there is a daily features of products and services offered for sale. These are available at attractive discounts and amazing deals which makes them an interesting point of focus for the busy internet users. Shoppers and consumers also find this a viable way of shopping in the middle of a hectic schedule and a busy week plus the incentives they get in the form of actual savings. There is a delivery of the products to your doorstep so you don’t have to take the trouble of going to the store anymore.

The name of Groupon is derived from group coupon – the available products and services are available in the form of certificates of companies. The website which was launched in the year 2008 offers you a combination of local as well as established and well known brands. At present the company has more than 150 to 100 markets spread across the United States of America and Europe and Asia respectively. There are more than 35 million registered users who avail great offers featured on this website. It has been able to make its presence felt in the domestic market of several countries of the world. It is also a great way to bring sellers and buyers at all levels on the same platform; it gives new manufacturers and brands an innovative means of marketing their products while established brands and companies finds this to be a popular way to reach out to a wider group of buyers. On the other hand consumers are also able to choose from among brands and offers of discounts and package deals which bring quality and savings together.

The initial areas of trade were always based on consumer products and other items of daily and domestic uses. With it increasing popularity and large scale membership Groupon has introduced various segments of purchase that extends to several areas of human interest; within this you will find travel packages to exotic locales, fitness and health regimes in the form of food supplement offers and health club and gym package deals; restaurants and food chains also offer their best deals with purchases and meals of various kinds; also on offer are various packages of lessons and training programs like archery, helicopter flying and adventure experiences like hot air ballooning.

Groupon has introduced a new way of utilizing your time on the internet. Web users and internet browsers not only get the advantage of saving time and trouble looking for the perfect product but avail great offers too. For instance if a $80 USD health spa treatment comes to you at a discounted rate of $30 USD it would be one of a kind in more ways than one; it would be an experience that even newcomers to this shopping idea would like to experience.

However the company is socially responsible in its selection of industries and does not sponsor retailers of abortion services and strip clubs among a few others as well.

9 steps to a compelling press release

You have a new product, and now it’s time for marketing. An extremely important part of marketing is the press release. This is the method to use in order to reach the media with news of your new, exciting product. Below I’ll give you 9 steps for you to consider when creating your press release.

1. Do you have a news?
Remember that what’s interesting for you may not be interesting for others. Test it on someone in your target group. Is it in fact news at all?

2. The news first
Start with the news, short and clear, so that you create interest. A common mistake is to begin with background information. You want to do that last, otherwise the reader might loose interest.

3. Adapt the news
This should be quite obvious. If you have have several different target groups, you might have to adapt the information accordingly.

4. Do not sell, sell, sell
You don’t want to make it all about sellling. Be to the point and create interest. It must be news worthy. It’s a thin line, which is very easy to cross. Make sure you keep on the right side, or your press release might be turned down as advertising.

5. Be clear
Make sure to have your contact information on the press release, at a minimum your email address and phone number along with your name.

6. The headline sells
A good headline attracts attention. There have been many cases when a headline, as well as the text, have been taken straight from the press release and published without changes. This is perhaps not the common practice, and it would take a very good copy writer to manage this.

7. Think pictures
The more ready for publishing your news is, the greater the chance is to be published. Remember to attach pictures or give a link for download of pictures that can be used to enhance your news even more. Make sure to have good quality pictures. Hire a professional photographer is necessary. A great picture can help your news.

8. Facts and numbers
Do you have a poll, or part of a poll, that is connected to your company or business? Use that information. Media loves facts and numbers. Do you have a diagram, even better!

9. Don’t forget the bloggers
This is a really important step. Newspapers and television aren’t the only ones who publish news. The bloggers, or the citizen journalists if you will, are also interested in news and they can add to your reach both within your target groups as well as to others.

Well, these are my 9 steps to a compelling, and successful, press release. I’ve found they work for me. Others may do it differently, but in the end we all end up with pretty much the same result.

How to Sell Successfully Online

Ecommerce has transformed the market place and now with a global population there is latterly a marketplace every conceivable product or server. It offers a level of convenience, more in terms of searching for the right product and is now preferred by most rather than going from store to store, often driving for miles between destinations. This need for the time deprived customer is fulfilled by ecommerce sites where they can find the best prices and available stock and the site owner gets to make a sale. Agreed shopping online may not be as much fun and the idea of impulse buying and the inability to touch and feel before you buy has been lost in the ecommerce world, but those who buy here are not complaining, even though the websites they use may not be the best.

A closer look at websites makes you realize what the selling game is all about. Most websites take advantage of customers who simply needs the products that you offer. If you own an ecommerce store you will find that the vast majority of your visitors will never buy and those that do eventually make a purchase will only do if they are reasonably impressed. It is for such customers that some changes are needed and a few conditions need to be fulfilled.

Tips for a successful ecommerce site

  • Use familiar layouts- Customers look for familiarity while buying online. They are more comfortable with sites where they understand the ordering process, of adding items to shopping carts, navigating through the site and paying for goods, rather than start afresh and find the site navigation confusing. Thus a good tried and tested website design is preferable. There is a reason why the majority of sites stick to the same basic design principals and that is because they have been tested and found to work so it would be wise for you to follow their lead.
  • Simple and easy buying process- Customers would hate to use a site where they have to meander through a signing up process, answer questions and cross other hurdles before they get to order a product. For them the best site to buy from is the one that directs them straight to the ‘buy now’ button and offers an exit to checkout for payment there and then. Quick buys are the clear preference.
  • Details about products and services- Websites must give product details like specifications, sizes, prices and so on, very clearly, or the customer may opt not to buy. The online buyer has a clear idea of what he wants and since he cannot see the product he has to ensure that It meets his requirements. So websites must post details that are conspicuous and very easy to find.
  • Pictures help- Sites that provide clear images from different angles help customers and make them decide sooner. Hence these can be used to increase sales since images are the next best thing to seeing the product in real life.

With these additions or modifications to ecommerce websites, online shopping can become easier for the customer and bring more customers to the site owner, giving you the opportunity to turn those visitors into customers.

This is a Guest post by Neil Jones, who Specializes in launching ecommerce sites, he is currently plying his trade as head of marketing for eMobileScan. With 18 websites based all around Europe they are on course to be one of Europe’s largest online retailers of Industrial handheld computers and label printers like the ES400 or the Motorola MC9090. Neil has been an online marketer for the past 6 years and in that time he has owned and run a range of sites all built around the ecommerce platform.