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.

5 Reasons To Build Your Brand Online

build your brand online

Think of building your brand online as an opportunity for your business; an opportunity to grow as a business, an opportunity to communicate with your customers (talk AND listen), and an opportunity to simply inform your potential/returning customers in ways you haven’t been able to offline. If I haven’t convinced you yet, please read on.

1. Meet the demands of your customers

Customers are expecting you to be online. Roughly 80% of households in the U.S. are online, and anyone can access the internet from over 200,000 public hot spots  Those are some shocking numbers. Having this amount of access creates a large demand for customers expecting businesses like yours to be online as well.

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2. 24/7 Outlet to your information

By providing your information online, you give your customers a 24/7 outlet to everything they need to know. People are busy. They don’t have time to check your store hours by driving by your store. They want to see what kind of products or services you provide on their own time so when they find what they are looking for, they can stop in, purchase and leave. Of course not everyone is like this, but for the people who are, you would be providing a great resource for them.

3. E-commerce 

E-commerce may sound intimidating, but with today’s website programming, you can easily integrate this into your website. Once you plug in the products/services/prices/shipping costs/etc… it allows customers to purchase what they need from you online. This gives people the convenience of buying from you on their own time and it gives you more sales. It expands your reach to customers as well. E-commerce is not for every business, but it could work great for yours.

4. Conversationfacebook

Social media is another component to building your brand online. If you don’t have a Facebook Page, it is very simple to do (and it’s free). Click here to see how to build your first Facebook Profile. With Facebook, or other social media platforms, you can tell your customers what’s going on in your store (sales, events, etc…). Having a social media profile also allows you to communicate with your customers. They can let you know if they have any problems with your products or services, and you can correct/help/do whatever you need to do to fix those problems. This creates a great buzz around your business.

5. Cost efficiency

Many people have the perception of getting your business online costs you a lot of money. Surprisingly, building your online presence is much more cost efficient than any other channel (radio, newspaper, TV, out door, etc…). Click here to see a very inexpensive way to build your website.

Keep your brand in mind

You should extend your brand in a way that is consistent with your brand’s presence offline. Your hard costs are low to build your brand online, but invest in someone who can help you (not take advantage of you) so that you will continue to show customers why they keep returning to your store on this new online platform. Good luck with building your brand online. If you need help, or have questions, please feel free to contact me. Email: chandlerfaldet@gmail.com

5 Quick Tips To Build Your Website

Building a website can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. If you are looking to get your business online quickly, cheaply and easily, I have made a list of to-do’s below.

1. Choose A Domain Name
Choosing your domain name will be your first step. Once you have chosen your name, make sure to check it at a domain checker to see if it’s available.

2. Choose A Hosting ProviderImage

Once you have settled on your domain name, you need to choose a website hosting provider. The best search engine friendly and inexpensive provider I have found for any small businesses is on Gybo. It is managed by Google and powered by Intuit. If you have a business that wants to start its first ever website, you will get everything free (domain name and hosting) for one year. After your first year is up, it will only cost $6.99 per month. In my opinion, this could be the best deal out there if you are on a budget and looking for a safe provider-Who’s safer than Google? If you are looking for a more complex website you may want to look at other hosting providers and get yourself a programmer.

3. Map It Out
The next step is to map out your new website. Sometimes it’s easiest to look at other businesses’ websites in your industry and see how they are doing things. I’m not saying you have to copy them, but it will give you some ideas of how you would like yours to be the same or different from your competition. When you have a website map, it establishes an outline of what content you will need to create.

4. Build Your Content
Once you have your website map, it’s time to start building your actual content. You may need to take pictures of your products, building, employees, etc… Just make sure that the pictures are taken at a semi-professional level-Maybe you have a friend that has a nice camera. Have him or her take the pictures for you. Create content that explains who your business is. Create your business’s mission statement, history, what kind of services you provide, what kind of products you sell-anything that will help your website visitor understand who your business is and what your business does. Don’t forget to add contact information so anyone can easily contact you.

5. Publish and Share
Once you have built your website from the ground up, it is time to make it public and share it with the world. Publishing your website is the easy part. Getting people to visit your website is not always easy. There are thousands of ways to share your website, but to keep things general, you can do things like:

  • Add your website to your search engine listings
  • Get your business on a few social media sites and join the conversation
  • Share your website offline (add it to business cards, posters, ads, mail, receipts, etc…)

Good luck with building your website. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me. I’m always up for helping someone in need. chandlerfaldet@gmail.com