- Looks first, everything else next: The visual component strikes the visitor first. Several factors such as the product quality, reputation, price and many others make the actual purchase happen; but it is the visual aspect that first grabs the visitor and makes her stay on the E-commerce website.
- First impression, the lasting impression: The way presenting a product in ecommerce website is makes the first and lasting impact. If a product is placed or presented clumsily, it loses its visual appeal. Once this happens, the visitor is not likely to go further in the site. It is only when the product is presented aesthetically well that the visitor takes the next steps.
Thursday, October 20, 2011
To maximize the potential of your E-Commerce website, you need to apply the same principles.
- Drawing in your E-commerce website crowds: Before you cram it full of goodies, flashy graphics and bot-grabbing keywords, think about what your human visitors want from any shop window. The purchase-hungry visitor wants an E-commerce website that's easy to navigate, offers a quick-click buying process and, essentially, is secure. It's all too easy to spend a fortune constructing a virtual shop window that would win an award for design concept, but if your products get lost in the drapes and tassels, it's a wasted opportunity.
- One size fits all E-commerce website construction: If you want to create an E-commerce website on a budget, then there are plenty of programs available to download for free. You may be able to create a shopping cart and post up some clickable links that will take your customers to the right department quite easily. One size fits all E-commerce website building is a great starting point.
- Making your website profitable: To make your website work harder, bring in more customers and convert clicks into cash you need to know how to position it to grab the casual browser's interest. You will also need to remember that a simple site may work well for a while, but you may find that your business quickly outgrows your website's capacity. The more exposure your site has, the greater the chances that you will see a rapid return on your initial investment. By creating a site that has the capacity to grow with your business, your shop front on the world will give your customers exactly what they want as well as giving you what you want - a profitable online business.
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
- Joomla has become one of the most popular content management systems (CMS) in recent times. The CMS offers better platform to develop corporate applications and web portals.
- Joomla CMS is so easy to use. You can easily add or modify new pages and images using the Joomla content management system.
- You can also do the text formatting using the editor support of this CMS.
- Joomla supports several languages. This gives your visitors the facility to switch to any other language they wish. This is one of the best features of Joomla which make your user-friendly.
- If you want a group of people to work on the same site, Joomla is a good choice for you.
- The CMS allows different authors of the website to easily upload their content rather than waiting for designers or developers.
- You can easily allow multiple author authentications in a Joomla website. This means that many people can log on the website together with their specific permissions.
- The same feature in another website need lots of programming work by the developer. However, a Joomla site doesn't require all such development efforts.
- Joomla provides a great template support. You may select any of the templates available based on your website theme.
- You can also change the template in future in order to modify you website with the changing requirements.
- Joomla content management system will provide the similar look to all the web pages and all new pages created in the website will automatically adopt the current template design.
- The best thing about Joomla CMS is use of extensions. These extensions provide extra functionality to a website.
- E-commerce has increased quality and popularity over a long time as more and more people finding the essentials to sale their merchandises online to increase their sales.
- Numerous tools and plan of action are required in order to make it a happening, one of these tools is the ecommerce shopping cart software.
- There are two primary kinds of software. One is related to body functions. Web directors can add, alter or remove any merchandise or service from the database you have in your website.
- Another one is for clients. It helps them with their purchases. In general, ecommerce web sites have their own shopping cart and it is always licensed. On the other hand, ecommerce proprietors can use them by paying a portion of their sale.
- The ecommerce shopping cart software is intelligibly cataloged within the business oriented system as a crucial program connecting online purchasers and online selling mechanism.
- Having shopping cart software that is simple to understand and use is primary. There are many software results on the marketplace. Selecting the high-grade, however, is something that will take a bit of search.
- E-commerce shopping cart software is used to modify you to sale your commodities to your target market world-wide with ease and simplicity of use that will surely satisfy your buyers and yourself as well.
- The top-grade online shopping cart software used should give the user a comfortable shopping experience and not a programming exercise.
- In addition, if you already have an ecommerce system, this software can help you make the process of editing and changing items or prices casual and less complex.
- Typo 3: It offers amazing features for content management. It is supported by PHP and supports most operating systems. Some of its features include an internal search engine, editing on page etc.
- Frog CMS: Frog CMS is known for its simplicity and speed. It‘s features include on page editing, templating code. It is extendable and includes an API and you can also add images and pages to the data. This is also supported by PHP and has RDMS like MySQL or SQLite.
- Symphony: Symphony is an Open source CMS and it is standard driven, simple and modular. It has discrete components which can configure fully to suit your needs. It is supported by XHTML, CSS, and XML etc.
- Textpattern: Textpattern is a very elegant and user –friendly CMS. It is supported by CSS and XHTML and has hundreds of plug-ins that are ready to be used. The admin interface is efficient, minimalist and clearly labeled .It also has a lot security features like anti-spamming system .It is also very easy to manages it has a variety of features like up to date visitor logs ,unlimited categories of images ,files etc.
- Wordpress: Wordpress focuses on speed, simplicity and great user experience. Wordpress is designed to give the user absolute control of the webblog. Wordpress has control tolls, which enable to restrict the amount of changes that a visitor can make while visiting your blog.
- DotCMS: DotCMS is one such software which covers a wide variety of needs. It offers site-wide templating, inline content editing, MP3 player streaming, content versioning etc. It uses Java technology and supports OS like Windows and UNIX.
- Umbraco: Umbraco is open source software which is one of the top contenders for the best ASP.net CMS software. This software focuses on and has achieved high standards in accordance with CSS and XHTML. It has a very short setup time – a mere 10 minutes. Its main features include a compact template engine, scheduled publishing and support for most net languages and Ajax frameworks. Its RDMS is MS SQL.
- Habari: This free software is made after a thorough understanding of the blogging system. This software does not allow content spams or digg overloads to affect its functionality. It strongly favors standard, open and documented protocols. It is not a plug-in, but instead a core feature. It is supported by the PHP language and therefore enables the use of PDO which in turn enables proper statements for the interactions with the database. Its vulnerability to SQL injects attacks has been greatly reduced due to this
- ocPortal: ocPortal is a very user-friendly CMS which offers a wide range of features .It major plus points are that its highly customizable , easy to use for admin and its out-of the box usability. Its features include sophisticated tools like Theme Wizard, integration with many forums for increased efficiency, functionality is very high for all content, which includes articles, images etc. It does not hide any features from the users and is OSI-approved Open Source license.
- CMS Made Simple: CMS Made Simple is an open source (GPL) package, built using PHP that provides website developers with a simple, easy to use utility to allow building small-ish (dozens to hundreds of pages), semi-static websites. CMS Made Simple provides a mechanism for the website administrator to create and manage “pages”, their layout, and their content. CMS Made simple is unobtrusive. You can create a table based layout, or a fully validating XHTML/CSS layout.
- Squarespace: Squarespace is specially designed for the creation of blogs .It has simple yet state of the art tools to help you set up and manage your website .Its blogging features are very diverse and they include spell checks, RSS , ATOM, XML-RCC pinging ,member registration, content management ,multiple authors, timed publishing dates and many more interesting features. A notable feature is that it has an internal search engine which helps you during the customization process of your website.
- Movable Type: Movable type is an open source project aims at producing an open source version of the MTPP (movable type publishing platform) which is destined to become the core of all other movable products. It helps you understand your blog better through features like improved user interface, integrated asset manager for reusing , uploading and finding files like video and audio, gives you details about you blog performance and improves the aesthetic look of your blogs. It improves publishing through a WYSIWYG editor, cross blog aggregation, advanced blog template languages, paginated archives and many more features.
- XOOPS: XOOPS is the short form for extensible Object Oriented Portal System .It serves as a web framework which can be used by large, medium and small sites. Depending on whether the site is small or large you can install XOOPS in different manners to include different modules like News, forum etc. The notable features of XOOPS are mainly that it is fully modularized, database driven, personalization, World wide support, theme based skinnable interface and versatile group permissions system
- Radiant: Radiant is one such CMS which is targeted at the small sites. It has a simple user interface which is elegant and centers around layouts, snippets and pages. It has a very flexible sit structure allowing you to arrange the pages in any order .In addition, Radiant has its own macro language called radius template language thereby making it simple to add content from other pages . It also has custom text filters and intelligent page caching. One more notable feature is that it is built on ruby on rails making it easy for the web developers to extend this software for other purposes.
Magento is the technology behind numerous e-commerce websites. It is a professional open-source platform that offers control over the look, content and functionality of the online shop. Magento enables online businesses to operate several online stores through a single administration dashboard.
Magento Key Features:
- Analytics and Reporting - the script is integrated with Google Analytics and offers many different reports.
- Product Browsing - multiple images for products, options for extensive reviews, wishlists and much more.
- Catalog Browsing - easy navigation, advanced product filtering system, product comparison.
- Catalog Management - inventory management, batch import and export of products, different tax rates per location, additional product attributes.
- Customer Accounts - order status and history, e-mail and RSS feeds for products in the wishlist, newsletter subscription, default billing and shipping address.
- Customer Service - enhanced features for customers' accounts, Contact Us form, comprehensive order tracking and history, customizable order e-mails.
- Order Management - create orders through admin area, create multiple invoices shipments and credit memos, call center order creation option.
- Payment - different payment methods: credit cards, PayPal, Authorize.net, Google Checkout, checks, money orders, support of external payment modules like Cybersource, ePay, eWAY and many more.
- Shipping - shipping to multiple addresses, flat rating shipping, supports UPS, UPS XML (account rates), FedEx (account rates), USPS and DHL.
- Checkout - one page checkout, SSL support, checkout without having an account.
- Search Engine Optimization - 100% Search Engine Friendly, Google SiteMap support.
- International Support - multiple languages and currencies, list of allowed countries for registration, purchasing and shipping, localization.
- Marketing Promotions and Tools - coupons, discounts and different promotion options.
- Site Management - control of multiple web sites, multiple languages, tax rate with support for US and International markets, customizable outlook through templates.
Monday, October 17, 2011
OsCOMMERCE: It can be used on any web server that has PHP and MySQL installed. OsCommerce allows the user to set prices in different currencies and accept all popular payment methods: PayPal, checks, credit cards, etc.
Most popular features:
- Unlimited products and categories support;
- Multicurrency support;
- Shippable and downloadable products support;
- Multiple payment options.
MAGENTO: Magento is the technology behind numerous e-commerce websites. It is a professional open-source platform that offers control over the look, content and functionality of the online shop. Magento enables online businesses to operate several online stores through a single administration dashboard.
Most popular features:
- Intuitive administration interface;
- Advanced analytics and reporting;
- Marketing promotions tools;
- Catalog and product browsing;
- Multiple language support.
ZEN CART: Zen Cart is an open source and user-friendly shopping cart. It was branched from osCommerce and includes additional features and architectural enhancements. One of the key features is the gift certificate module which allows one to create, send and manage digital coupons.
Most popular features:
- Multiple sales and discount options;
- Multiple display modes;
- Newsletter manager;
- Quantity discounts.
VIRUTEMART: It is an open source e-commerce solution designed as an extension of Joomla CMS. It is written in PHP and requires MySQL database environment for storage. It is best suited for low to medium level traffic web-sites.
Most popular features:
- unlimited number of products and categories;
- powerful web-administration interface;
- quick search for products, categories and manufacturers;
- filter by features or discounted products;
- Product ratings and testimonials.
UBERCART: Ubercart is the e-commerce platform developed for Drupal, the leading open source content management system. Ubercart integrates PayPal Website Payments Standard, Website Payments Pro, and Express Checkout.
Most popular features:
- Configurable product catalog;
- Multiple product image support;
- Product stock level tracking and notification;
- Sales, product, and customer reports.
- Email Can Drive Traffic to Blog Content: Email and blogs are digital companions. Blogs can become the content source for email newsletters and, conversely, email can call attention to blog posts.
- Social Media Can Be an Amplifier: Many email-sending platforms include social bookmarking and sharing options. Popular email platform allows users to place a social sharing "toolbar" at the top of the newsletter template that enables subscribers to Like, tweet and bookmark email content.
- Conversations Can Lead to Conversions: Social media is a conversational medium. Promotional posts that encourage subscriptions are not inappropriate so long as they are used only occasionally. "Fangating" techniques can also be implemented that require subscriptions before being able to access special offers, discount coupons or eBooks downloads.
- Media Can Fill the Gap: Most small businesses only send email marketing messages periodically — such as monthly newsletters or occasional special offers. By providing more frequent updates — Facebook status updates, tweets and blog posts — social media can fill those gaps and help keep a brand top-of-mind with consumers.
- Social Media is an Email Alternative: Social media can serve as a viable alternative for those who would prefer to receive information.
- Social Networks Rely on Email: Social networks rely on email to notify users of transactions. Whether comments to Facebook status updates, new Twitter followers, or conversation threads on LinkedIn discussions groups, email is the reliable option to notify social network users.
- Email is an Accepted Promotional Channel: It is widely accepted as a promotional channel. Email drives conversions, while social media engenders greater loyalty among existing customers.
- Email Has Permanence: Social media is "just in time" marketing. Its nature is real-time, a stream of consciousness. Therefore, it works well when information needs to be shared quickly. Email messages can be archived for a more lasting effect.
- Email and Social Media Can Be Personal: Depending on the number of fields contained in an email subscriber list messages can be personalized to appear more relevant to the subscriber. Social media is inherently personal. It comes by virtue of person-to-person interactions.
- Social Media is Another Touchpoint: Social media is one touchpoint along a continuum of customer connection and interaction that also includes email. The two can work in tandem along with other forms of marketing and advertising.
Email and social media are not adversaries. Both can build brand awareness, retain customer loyalty, gain new subscribers and generate more sales.
Friday, October 14, 2011
- Advertising: Evaluate your ecommerce website to make sure it is optimized for purchaser conscription via the search engines. Use email marketing to build customer loyalty and engage in social media marketing via blogs, forums and networks.
- Contact Information: Make it easy for customers to get in touch and always include a phone number and other contact details on contact page or any of other pages. This can be the variation between making and losing the sale.
- Cross Sell: Take every opportunity to up sell and cross-sell by linking associated products, accessories/add-ons, ‘people, who bought this, also bought that’ and promotional bundles.
- Customer Assurance: Ensure that you display your secure SSL server certifications for customer data and payment processing.
- Delivery Charges and Profits: Don’t make customers wait until the checkout to find out the release charge. Make sure that these are crystal clear and without difficulty located.
- Product Optimization: Make sure your product copy is optimized, which Includes links to brochures, technical descriptions and buying guides etc.
- Product Images/Gallery: Unfortunate images do not motivate assurance so don’t use them. Use multiple images/views and reflect on the use of video to help sell the product.
- Registration: In order to reduce shopping cart rejection, we should have procedure to checkout without registration option.
- User Product Reviews/Comments: Research shows that these work, increasing conversions by as much as 20%, make sure you use customer feedback to help sell your products.
- Relevancy: Craft email messages with increased personalization, through segmentation and targeting. Truly communicating with your customer at an optimum time with the right content will be essential. Consumers increasingly expect retailers to provide valuable offers based on their personal likes and behaviors. Ecommerce merchants should manage these expectations to remain competitive.
- Value: Establishing value for the recipient is essential to causing your customer to take action. "Value" can be anything from an irresistible offer to helpful content or resources. Understand what your site visitors’ value and then deliver what they expect.
- Frequency and Measurement: A metric as simple as an open rate gets muddied by issues like image blocking and widespread use of mobile devices. It is always great to optimize your mailing to be legible with images turned off, but your recipients may be reading your emails without an "open" ever registering. Work on optimizing frequency to accomplish your goals without overwhelming your customers.
- Service: Transactional emails play a crucial role in providing timely service with customers. Order and shipment notifications and satisfaction survey follow-ups are examples of service-oriented emails that every ecommerce business should be running.
- Mobile: The increasing using of mobile is changing the way consumers behave online. Shopping experiences are changing, and as mobile use continues to increase, companies should accommodate these devices.
- Social Media: The jury is still out for many merchants on the true power of social media and its effects on the bottom line. However, the continued growth of social media cannot be ignored. Those that are doing social media well are integrating their social strategies with email. Develop some creative ways to integrate the two channels together for increased performance. Simply having a social presence is no longer enough for any ecommerce site.
- Acquisition and Reactivation: Email can be a powerful tool. Acquiring new customers will be much more effective using a multi-channel marketing approach. In addition, targeting customers who have not ordered for some time is an easy email campaign to run, and with the right relevancy and value, reactivating these long lost customers may not be as hard as it seems.
E-Commerce merchants should consider creating their own niche online communities for a number of reasons, including:
- Strengthening the relationships with your customers;
- Gathering customer feedback;
- Giving customers and employees a sense of ownership of your company, products and services;
- Keeping your brand in top of mind with your customer.
Here are three inexpensive tools that you can use to build a niche community.
1. Ning: Ning is a hosted solution with a feature set that includes shared user profiles, blogs, forums, photo galleries, support for video and podcasts, a Facebook-like activity stream (newsfeed), event calendar and groups. The platform also integrates with other social networks like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Ning also offers several revenue-generating opportunities, which might interest ecommerce merchants.
2. Groupsite: Another low-cost option is Groupsite. Groupsite bills itself as "social collaboration" software, which suggests that the focus is on the group itself more than on the brand. It is developed for the purpose of collaborative;
3. vBulletin: Forums also referred to as bulletin boards. It is one of the original types of online communities. And vBulletin is one of the most popular freestanding forum software platforms. vBulletin has expanded from the classic forum model and now offers a community suite consisting of forums, photo albums, groups, event management, polls, blogs, and article-based content management system publishing.
Unlike Ning and Groupsite, which are hosted solutions, vBulletin has to be downloaded to your server. You must purchase a one-time license to use the software. The software platform used to build an online community is important. But it is less important than the role played by the community manager.
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
- Google Checkout: Google Checkout is Google’s attempt at a replacement for PayPal, and is still very much an inferior product, with only a small subset of the features offered by others. Checkout is a middle man solution, storing credit and debit cards in its system, and then using those to transfer funds to a bank account.
- Money Bookers: They offer a number of benefits including sending money securely worldwide to anyone with an email address – even if the recipient does not have Money bookers account yet, and accept business from lots of different currencies. They hold all payments in limbo prior to transferring through to the final recipient, giving you some amount of protection. All previous transactions can be found in the history section of your account which can be accessed at any time and the data can be easily exported to an excel file if you want to maintain a digital backup.
- Paymate: Paymate provides secure, reliable and innovative Internet-based payment services to buyers. You can use Paymate to receive online payments via credit card, and like PayPal – you don’t need to have a merchant facility with a bank. Although this is a service exists inside particular locales, it is still a worth competitor to PayPal, and has performed particularly well on EBay Australia – where EBay were forced to accept it as an alternative payment provider for fears of anti-trust litigation.
- OboPay: Obopay is one of the first mobile payment systems to make it to the web, enabling customers to transfer money to one another right from the mobile phone. Technically this is achieved using a combination of the technologies offered on mobile devices – traditional SMS, WAP, HTML / Web apps and bespoke iPhone applications – allowing them to cover all bases regardless of the handset capabilities.
- Amazon Payments: Amazon have a number of interesting products under their ‘Payments’ banner. All of Amazon Payments uses their databases stored internally to aid with the checkout process, essentially giving sellers less hassle with the checkout process, also giving access to Amazon’s patented ‘One Click order’ services. They also offer cut and paste HTML code for their Simple Pay product, which can get you up and running quite quickly if you only have a handful of digital products to sell.
- Notable Mentions – Digital Software Carts: These other links and systems may be suitable for a variety of scenarios, including digital shopping carts, card processing and digital wallet solutions. Some of them mirror the free software features found in PayPal, some of them are just bare bones solutions, but hopefully they will be useful for you to review.
- E-Junkie: Provides shopping cart software which integrates with PayPal and other card processing gateways.
- Kagi: Kagi offers a digital goods delivery, and integrated shopping cart experience solution for those looking to get up and running without the hassle of setting up a full e-commerce store.
- Digital River: Digital River’s Element 5 product is also used across the web for digital software delivery, and its shopping cart is well respected.
- Bit Coin: Bit Coin is a peer-to-peer network based digital currency. Peer-to-peer (P2P) means that there is no central authority to issue new money or keep track of transactions. Instead, these tasks are managed collectively by the nodes of the network.
There are three types of ecommerce platforms that are common and widely-used.
- Open Source E-commerce Solution: It consist of following main features which can be customized and integrated with your website, which will perfect match to your requirements. They are Catalog & Products Features, Search Engine Optimization Features, Administration Features, Order / Shipping Management, Customer Convenience, Security & Encryption and Payment Gateways.
- Hosted E-commerce Solutions: Hosted solutions guarantee quick start-up and turn around. These are reliable, scalable, continuously monitored with full support. Hosted solutions are ideal for small to medium sized business. It's a more simple and affordable way to safeguard your sales without the excessively costly investments.
- Licensed E-commerce Solutions: A licensed solution is a combination of the two types of solutions mentioned above. Here, you get the flexibility that open source solutions can give. It can also integrate third party solutions as your business spreads. This can be a very significant tool to secure you a place in the competitive market. Most licensed ecommerce solutions usually go for a less price than hosted solutions, despite the start up cost to be higher.