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  1. #1
    Formerly known as RockNRollPig Shpigford's Avatar
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    Any tips I "must" know before launching an ecommerce site?

    Hopefully in the next week or so I'll be launching my first ecommerce site with a couple of guys. Before we launch are there any tips or "must know" facts that I need to know about running an ecommerce site?

    We've got our payment gateway all set up and products in the store so I don't really need any suggestions for payment gateways or shopping cart software...just solid tips that maybe you wish you had known before you started.

  2. #2
    oh hello. JoshU's Avatar
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    Same here, this could be a useful thread.

    What sort of products are you planning on selling?
    Josh Ulfers

  3. #3
    Formerly known as RockNRollPig Shpigford's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoshU
    Same here, this could be a useful thread.

    What sort of products are you planning on selling?
    We'll be selling urban vinyl toys here.

  4. #4
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    There's a recent article about this: http://www.sitepoint.com/article/ste...ecommerce-site I think it's pretty much that

  5. #5
    SitePoint Evangelist
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    Some tips:

    Have a logistic flow ready and steady
    Have someone answering mail or phone very regularly
    Don't forget your marketing

    If some other tips cross my mind, I'll let you know. Your style and colors looks good.

    Cheerz,
    M

  6. #6
    Ranking in the $$$ tbase's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RockNRollPig
    Hopefully in the next week or so I'll be launching my first ecommerce site with a couple of guys. Before we launch are there any tips or "must know" facts that I need to know about running an ecommerce site?

    We've got our payment gateway all set up and products in the store so I don't really need any suggestions for payment gateways or shopping cart software...just solid tips that maybe you wish you had known before you started.
    Make it easy for people to pay you.. I can not stress this enough. I would step back and take a serious look a the purchase flow. Cut down on as many steps as you can to the actual payment and you will do much better.

    My script site in my sig below used to have several steps to the final purchase. I was losing many sales on the site. I have since cut down the number of steps it takes, and axed the email verification.

    I have doubled my sales with the same amount of traffic!

    Hope that helps
    Tbase
    Last edited by tbase; Jan 11, 2006 at 07:50.
    I want to BUY Google API Keys (Soap).
    PM me if you got one to sell.

  7. #7
    SitePoint Evangelist mrwooster's Avatar
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    Maybe start an advertising campaign to get some initial traffic, you could use adwords.

  8. #8
    Wanna-be Apple nut silver trophy M. Johansson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tbase
    I have doubled my sales with the same amount of traffic!
    I'm in agreement with tbase.

    I have close to tripled mine. Another is lots of payment options. We have 4 payments options at our site, Card, Invoice, SMS and Phone, and we are soon adding the fifth. It's working wonders.
    Mattias Johansson
    Short, Swedish, Web Developer

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  9. #9
    SitePoint Guru worchyld's Avatar
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    Make sure you can actually fulfil orders, regardless of where the order comes from - how will you deliver internationally, nationally and regionally?

  10. #10
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    Hi,
    I think one of the most important aspect is also one of the most over looked ones. What happens after the sale. A few easy things to implement are "thank you" emails, but also consider offering them another product with combined shipping.

    David of Outcast Media

  11. #11
    SitePoint Mentor bronze trophy

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    When it comes to ecommerce sites, some of the most important aspects for me are:

    - Understand your customers and their true needs (perform market research if necessary - don't assume anything)
    - Work out what benefits your products offer your customers and carefully write your copy around this
    - Optimise conversion rates by developing desired navigation trails for each landing page, reduce 'clicks-to-buy', place assurance notices in the correct places (guarantees, security, privacy etc)
    - Set up comprehensive web analytics so you can analyse everything about your site including abandonment pages, conversion rate, demographics, popular pages, typical paths taken, search engine referral and conversions, internal site search phrases etc etc
    - Site colours are important for promoting moods, but dont get bogged down by a fancy site design. Don't try to push boundaries, not on an ecommerce site. Shoppers expect links and 'calls to action' to be underlined and blue so if they are you'll find more people click them, they prefer white backgrounds and black text, they want pages to load fast and they want to find things quickly and easily. Make buying a simple, quick and pleasurable experience.
    - Ensure the site navigation is easy to use. Make good use of embedded links. If you have a search function, ensure it gives truly relevant results, otherwise drop it as it will only serve to confuse and frustrate.
    - offer lots of payment methods and also the chance to order over the phone instead.
    - Make sure that if a customer doesn't buy they at least sign up to your mailing list.

    Basically, before you spend a fortune on marketing, make sure your site is optimised to have a good conversion rate. Then as the trafic comes in, start analysing and tweaking, look at ways to increase average order sizes. Rather than trying to double incoming traffic, look at how you can increase the income from existing traffic as this is cheaper and more of a long term, stable solution.

    You should also look at how you talk to your customers, customer service, continuing marketing to existing customers, upselling, special offers, returns policies, shipping (free shipping is a good way to increase sales), money back guarantees etc.

    Once you get a customer, try to ensure they stay a customer for life.

  12. #12
    Serial Site Creator ToddW's Avatar
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    Provide phone support or atleast be able to take phone orders.

  13. #13
    Ranking in the $$$ tbase's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by M. Johansson
    Another is lots of payment options
    Also a must.
    I want to BUY Google API Keys (Soap).
    PM me if you got one to sell.

  14. #14
    SitePoint Addict Sojan80's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by M. Johansson
    ...We have 4 payments options at our site, Card, Invoice, SMS ...
    Um, what is SMS?

  15. #15
    SitePoint Enthusiast
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    Text messages delivered via your handphone.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by M. Johansson
    I'm in agreement with tbase.

    I have close to tripled mine. Another is lots of payment options. We have 4 payments options at our site, Card, Invoice, SMS and Phone, and we are soon adding the fifth. It's working wonders.
    Indeed, paying through SMS has worked wonders to websites I develop. We'd be turning in round about zero profit if it weren't for the ability of users to just enter an SMS and click send.

  17. #17
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    Just out of curiosity, what sort of products would people buy and pay via SMS? Care to share your site with us?

  18. #18
    King of Paralysis by Analysis bronze trophy
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    SMS sites are normally selling digital products such as downloads or memberships. They could also be used for physical goods I suppose but I don't think too many people buy a tv via SMS

    It normally attracts teens who have cellphones but don't have credit cards. It's one of the few ways to monetize teen traffic beyond the ad model.

  19. #19
    SitePoint Zealot codescribbler's Avatar
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    SMS??? Ooooh....could someone elaborate on how that works?? How do people with cells but no cards pay with it?

  20. #20
    Formerly known as RockNRollPig Shpigford's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by codescribbler
    SMS??? Ooooh....could someone elaborate on how that works?? How do people with cells but no cards pay with it?
    Could you please start a new thread on this if you're really interested as it's getting off-topic now.

  21. #21
    Lost
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    sms - short message system, used to send text messages by cell phone.

    it's strange how europe is so used to sms, while the u.s. etc hardly knows about it. Example: in norway, with 5 million people we sendt 25 million sms's new years eve..

  22. #22
    SitePoint Guru marcel's Avatar
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    1. Register your domain early... get it's dashed version too --> example-example.com
    2. Get a reliable host
    3. Drive the right traffic to your site with good related content... - like sitepoint does

  23. #23
    SitePoint Guru marcel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RockNRollPig
    Hopefully in the next week or so I'll be launching my first ecommerce site with a couple of guys. Before we launch are there any tips or "must know" facts that I need to know about running an ecommerce site?

    We've got our payment gateway all set up and products in the store so I don't really need any suggestions for payment gateways or shopping cart software...just solid tips that maybe you wish you had known before you started.
    what payment gateway did you chose ?

  24. #24
    Wanna-be Apple nut silver trophy M. Johansson's Avatar
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    Off Topic:

    Um, what is SMS?
    Wow. :P

    To ask that here (or in europe overall) would be like asking "what's a MasterCard?" The U.S. is missing out on SO MUCH by not embracing SMS, as it can be used for relationship development, notification and payment.

    It's a fabulous way to reach youth. It's also very easy to get people to pay with it since it's enourmously secure, anonymous and easy to use (beats EVERYTHING in all three departments). But anyway, that is a completely different discussion. Please start a new thread, and I will speak highly of it.


    Anyway, another BIG ONE is your credit time! This is supremely important.

    What I mean is: Make sure your cashflow is positive! That your money flows in faster than it flows out. You must have good payment deals with your suppliers. If you pay them long before your customer pays you, that is a disaster waiting to happen, unless you have a LOT of capital.

    We hit a major speed bump in the beginning, that because of our growth, it took so long for us to get the money that we simply ran out of money for postage, goods and packing materials, and the whole business simply ground to a halt. I.e. your money must flow in fast, and flow out slow. If it does not, you must have a lot of liquid funds to cover the time in between. If you have neither, your business will halt, with disastrous consquences.
    Mattias Johansson
    Short, Swedish, Web Developer

    Buttons and Dog Tags with your custom design:
    FatStatement.com

  25. #25
    Formerly known as RockNRollPig Shpigford's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marcel
    what payment gateway did you chose ?
    We're using Authorize.net through Wells Fargo.


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