An Intro. To E-Commerce

Why Should I integrate?

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$364 billion dollars were spent in e-commerce alone in 2012 in the United States ($1 trillion worldwide). Whether you sell products or services (or a combination of both), your business could be missing out on new customers and higher profit margins. Below you will find what types of products/services businesses integrate into e-commerce, how to do it and where to do it at on the internet.

What should I integrate?

Everything

Want to sell everything you sell in your store online? No problem. Many e-commerce plans account for how many items you would like to sell. You can purchase at the benchmark that works best for you (100 or less, 101-500, 501-1000, 1000+)

Featured Products/Services

If you have products or services you want to feature choose to only sell those items/services online. If there is a product you can’t keep on the shelf, feature that item online and use testimonials from previous buyers to entice new customers. 6 out of every 10 purchases made online were influenced by customer reviews.

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Overstock

Selling online is very competitive. People can use applications to find and compare products across the internet by price, reviews, etc… If you have overstock in your store that you want to sell at discount, selling them online could be quicker than having those same items on a clearance shelf in the store.

Loyalty Incentives

Provide the same loyalty program (if you have one) in your store online, or you could create one online. You could do a sign-up incentive like Boticca did below. Start an email newsletter each month with exclusive online deals. If you are looking for an easy email provider I would suggest MailChimp. If you’ve never heard of MailChimp I would take a look at 3 Reasons Why MailChimp Is Great.

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How do I integrate?

Ebay

Selling your products on Ebay is like an online auction. You set up a simple account with PayPal and you are on your way. Ebay takes 9% of your total sale. If you want to have a set price on your products here is another way of figuring those fees.

Amazon

Amazon is a very good company to integrate with if you’re just starting out online. Amazon allows you to get your products in front of millions of buyers and drives more traffic to your site. Click here to see how the process works. The downside is Amazon’s referral and closing fees (usually around 30%). Click here to see what your products will cost to sell on Amazon.

Facebook Integration (F-commerce)

Facebook integration is getting more and more popular. You first need to choose an f-commerce provider to connect with. Here are the top 20 out there to choose from. Some have a free option if you are selling less than ten items. If you sell 100 items or more, there will be a $15-$25/month fee usually, but there is no processing fees associated with them which is the plus if you decide to go this route.

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Website Integration

This is where you will have the most options. There are 1000’s of ways to integrate e-commerce into your website. If you don’t have a website for your business yet, you could make your website specifically for e-commerce using one of these top 20 e-commerce websites. Another option is to use one of those listed e-commerce websites as integration into your current website. Almost all e-commerce websites have an integration feature so you can embed the store into your current website. Either way you decide, it will give you more customization options so you can present your brand in the way you want without having to deal with coding.

Mobile Integration

Don’t forget to keep mobile compatibility in mind when choosing your e-commerce solution. $8 billion dollars were spent in m-commerce sales in the U.S. alone in 2012, and that amount will continue with smart phones and tablets on the rise each year.

Summary

In summary, you can choose a very simple solution to a very complex solution for e-commerce integration into your business. If you are just starting out, I would suggest a smaller option that would fit well with your business and grow from there. Whatever you decide, e-commerce is becoming more and more popular each year and will eventually become essential to remain competitive in this ever-changing business environment. If you have any questions, please email me at chandlerfaldet@gmail.com.

Start and Grow Your Facebook Business Page

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The only thing holding you back from getting your business on Facebook is knowledge and time. Well I will provide the knowledge if you have the time, and I promise you won’t have to use a lot of it.

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Make your own Facebook page

In order to create your business page, you will need to have your own profile on Facebook. The first thing you need to do is create a Facebook profile for yourself at www.facebook.com. Once you have made your profile, you then will simply go to the side panel on the home screen and click on the “like pages”. click on the green button that says “create page” and then follow the steps!

Make sure to include:

  • Your store’s information
  • Address, phone, hours of operation, services offered, brands carried, etc…
  • A cover photo & profile photo
  • Suggestion: Your cover photo could be a picture of your business, and your profile photo could be a picture of your logo or another picture of your business.

Keeping your profile up-to-date

It is important to post on your Facebook page “wall” at least once each week. The most important component to your Facebook page is that you are staying active. If you have something to share with your customers, post it on your wall.

Things to share:

  • Industry-related material
  • Photos of your store
  • Photos of events happening involving your store
  • Information about causes you support
  • Advertisements
  • Sales updates

Final Words of Advice

You can also check out what other businesses are doing in your industry on Facebook. This will give you a good idea of things to share and post. Don’t forget to “like” other pages that compliment your business. If you are a hardware store, you could like some of your brands’ Facebook pages. Participate. It is social media after all. It is good to be social.

If you would like help increasing your Facebook ‘likes’, I would definitely consider our Facebook Acquisition Package. This package has helped businesses in the Des Moines area grow their Facebook pages by 500 – 2500 ‘likes’ in one month. If you would like to hear more about this package, please give me a call, or send me an email requesting more information.

Good luck, and if you have any questions about building a Facebook page for your business I am happy to help. Email: cfaldet@hearst.com or call 515-247-8820.