Opening an Online Store

50 Tips To Increase eCommerce Sales Conversion

Here are the first of 50 tips to help increase your ecommerce conversion rate. If you apply these tips, your conversion rate WILL increase. Everyone of the conversion tips have been applied and proven successful in my online stores.

Tip Number 1: Include Company Established Date in Header

Shared Server Killing Your Sales?

How many stores do you share a server with?

If you use a hosted shopping cart solution and don’t pay for a dedicated web server, then you’ll end up sharing space on a web server with other stores. This is fine and dandy as long as the server is balanced and there isn’t a resource hog sappy server resources away from your store. This happened to me years ago with a store I had on MonsterCommerce. My store ended up being moved 2-3 times and being issued a new IP w/ each shuffle. It was a pain in the neck to say the least.

As a online merchant, you should know how many stores are on your web server. Too many is a bad thing. How will you know if you’re sharing a server with either too many stores or resource hog? Things will get laggy and response time will plummet. This results in unhappy customers and a diminished sales conversion rates.

SEO Tip for Merchants – Domain Age

The Importantace of Domain Age

SEO (search engine optimization) is the most important area of concern for most merchants. Succeeding in SEO campaigns makes product sourcing, customer service and order fulfillment look like mere child’s play. However, if you focus on SEO and maintain a consistent (and constant) marketing campaign, the payoff can be huge.

SEO efforts need to start before you even open your store. This brings me to the first SEO tip for merchants: domain name.

New merchants tend to focus heavily on having a domain name that is crock full of keywords, describes what the store sells and is easy for customers to remember. All of these are good ideas but one key component is missing, domain age.

Selecting a Gateway and Merchant Account Provider

Selecting a Gateway and Merchant Account Provider.

Every online store that wants to accept credit card payment needs both a payment gateway and a merchant account. The tricky part is selecting which company (or companies) to go with. You can use one company for a gateway and another for your merchant account but that might over complicate things. I suggest taking the one-stop shopping approach. Most merchant account providers also offer merchants a payment gateway. I use both Paymentech and and I’m happy with both.

If you’re in the market for a merchant account, you be best serve to contact these two companies:

Optimizing Images and Code To Reduce Bandwidth

A member of our forum has added an excellent post on how to reduce bandwidth by optimizing product images and website code.

Here's the link:

Optimizing Images and Code To Reduce Bandwidth Forum Post

I use this tool to check my store's load time:
Site Report Card

This is something that every merchant should be cognizant of. Slow load times can kill your sales conversion rate.

Thanks to Modular Merchant for making this great post.

SEO Tool Box: Every Merchant Needs One

SEO should be a primary focus of all online merchants. You really need to grasp the basics of optimizing your store so you can capitalize on increase traffic and exposure. SEO can be very complicated and people make it their life’s work. Merchants don’t have to be experts – just know enough to keep their stores in good search engine placement. What merchants need is a SEO blueprint for their store and a good SEO toolbox to draw upon.

In terms of blueprint, there are three tenants of SEO for the online merchant are:

1. Use a good shopping cart solution that IS search engine friendly.

Abandoned Shopping Carts and Sales Conversion

Abandoned Shopping Carts and Sales Conversion

Tracking sales conversion and head problems off at the pass.

One of the key objectives when selling online is increasing and maintaining a high conversion rate. This is second only to driving traffic to your site. Why? Because once the traffic is there, you want to convert it to sales. This converting traffic to sales is called a conversion rate.

The average conversion rate for a store is 2%. This can vary greatly depending on your industry and cost points but it’s a good number for most online sellers. To get this rate, you take the number of sales over a certain period and divide it by the amount of site visitors over this same time period. The higher the percentage the better.

Hosted Shopping Cart or DIY Cart?

Hosted Cart Solutions vs. Do-It- Yourself (DIY) Shopping Carts

If you planning on launching an online store, you’ll need a shopping cart. When it comes to shopping cart solutions, you basically have two choices; a hosted shopping cart solution or using a do-it-yourself solution. How do you decide which type of solution to use for your online store? Here’s some pointers.

Hosted cart solutions provided you with everything you need to open an online store (minus a merchant account). This includes hosting, software, updated and security. Examples of hosted shopping carts include the following:

eCommerce and Trust

Building Trust Online
Trust - Build it and they will buy. Lack it and they will leave.

Trust is one of the most important (and overlooked) components of building a successful online store. Customers are inherently weary of shopping online and its incumbent upon the merchant and their storefront to build a level trust with the shopper.

What is trust in terms of online shopping? Nielson (2001) defines this form of trust in the following manner:

Trust means the person’s willingness to invest time, money, and personal data in an e-commerce site in return for goods and services that meet certain expectations. The more a person trusts a website, the larger the risk he or she is willing to take when dealing with the website. If a shopper doesn’t trust a website, a “sale catastrophe” occurs. A sales catastrophe in an issue that is sufficiently important to either prevent a sale, or to discourage the person from returning to the site.

E-Commerce and Small Business

E-Commerce 101
Interested in entering the online business world? Here are some benefits of adding an E-Commerce sales channel to an existing business.

Small businesses can benefit from adding an ecommerce sales channel in following ways:

1. Allows small businesses to compete with other companies both locally and nationally (promotional tool);

2. Creates the possibility and opportunity for more diverse people to start a business;

3. Convenient and easy way of doing business transactions (not restricted to certain hours of operation, virtually open 24 hours a day, seven days a week);