Ecommerce 101: What Is It Customers Hate About Online Stores?

I don’t know about you, but I buy a lot of stuff online. I’m not a fan of shopping for things in a crowded mall. In fact, I’d rather walk on hot coals than visit a retail store if I can help it. Online stores are for people like me. They’re also useful for those of us that want to get what we want at the cheapest possible prices.

These days, one can buy online from thousands of different e-commerce sites. Places like Amazon sell all kinds of things, and we can often get them delivered the next day! I know I’m singing the praises of online shopping. But, there are things I hate about some e-commerce stores as well.

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If you sell online, you want to make sure your customers don’t go elsewhere. So, what is it that consumers like me hate about online stores like yours?

Graphic design from 1996

One of the things that put off visitors to e-commerce sites is bad graphics. I’m talking pixelated images and ones that don’t get scaled correctly. In fact, many studies have shown that carts get abandoned at sites with bad graphic design!

The main reason isn’t so much to do with the hatred of the graphics presented. It’s more of a trust thing. If something looked like it got created in the 90s, would you trust the site with your card details? Of course, you wouldn’t!

Lack of search options

Another bugbear of mine and almost the entire planet is the poor search system on some sites. Sometimes we want to find specific items. Sure, sorting results by price or name are useful. But, what if we wish to search by a particular sub-type?

Let’s say you visited a website that sold computers and accessories. If you would like to look for a 17-inch laptop, you want to search by screen size. You don’t want to look through scores of pages on the “Computers” category!

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Out of date promotions

Often we will visit e-commerce sites if there is a promotion or sale happening. After all; who wouldn’t want to save money on their next online purchase?

Something that grinds a lot of people’s gears is out of date marketing. This is where old promotions still get advertised, in case you wondered. It doesn’t happen a lot, but it’s still annoying when it does.

We live in a world where digital marketing campaigns can get updated quite easily. How hard is it to remove or extend promotions that are otherwise out of date?

No SSL? No dice!

Online security is essential when you’re sending sensitive information across the Web. I don’t want a hacker to have my address details and card number!

These days, I refuse to buy from e-commerce sites that have no SSL encryption. It doesn’t cost much to buy an SSL certificate, and it’s easy to set up on a server. There is no excuse for being so lazy!

What other things annoy you about e-commerce sites?

5 Things You Need To Do Before Starting A New Business

Got an idea for a new business? If so – congratulations! I wish you every success. However, before you get carried away with your dreams of world domination, there are a few things you need to do. Here are five important tasks you need to set yourself before you start a new business.

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Consider the time involved

OK, so it’s never been easier to start a new business – as everyone knows these days. However, you can’t expect to succeed without investing a lot of time into your idea. And, if that is going to cause problems for you, then you might be better off putting things on hold until your situation improves. You might have a young family, for example, which will be a time drain enough without the long hours needed to set up a new company.

Think about money

You need to think about the financial impact, too – when you have a mortgage to pay, there will be enormous pressure on you to deliver quickly. All new businesses need capital of some kind, whether you are setting up a multi-million-pound franchise idea or a small home-based blog. And, if you don’t have that money spare, it’s going to cause you all kinds of issues, both in your business and personal life.

Research

Sound research is one of the most important things you can do before starting a new business. Is there a market for your product, and can you differentiate your company from your competitors? How much will it cost you to create your products, and how many will you need to sell to make your profit margins worthwhile? There’s an awful lot to think about before you spend a second in development – so make sure you have all your bases covered.

Understand your legal obligations

There is a host of things you need to do before starting a new company. You will need to register with the Inland Revenue, for example. You could set up as self-employed if you are just a bedroom business, or look into company formation if your plans are grander. If you are thinking of hiring staff, you will need to have a grasp of employment law – as well as an idea of how to set up contracts. Legal help will help you here, of course, or you could hire a third party HR service to give you a hand. Also, you will need to look at patent, copyright, and trademark issues to make sure that you aren’t stepping on someone else’s toes. And, that you have the right protection in place when someone stands on yours.

An impressive business plan

Once you have an idea of the money you have, the time frame you expect, and all your market research, you can put together a business plan. This will be a lot of different things for your business. It will guide your direction for the first couple of years, at least. It will help you raise the finance you need, and give banks and investors an outline of why they should give you money. Finally – and, perhaps, most importantly – it will lay out whether or not your business idea is good enough to succeed in the real world.

 

The Easiest Ways To Save Money When Launching A New Website

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Launching a new website could cost a fortune if you’re not careful. It’s easy to employ the services of an expert firm who might charge upwards of £5,000 for the finished product. However, we’re here to tell you that it’s possible to save a lot of cash if you think outside of the box. The strategy described below would enable you to get the site you need without breaking the bank. That should seem like an attractive prospect when you don’t have thousands in your accounts. So long as you use our advice wisely, you could have a functional site for less than £200. It all comes down to how much effort you’re willing to put into saving money.

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Identify the cheapest hosting firms

Before you can build a website, you need to find a reliable host. Some of the most affordable providers might offer an inferior service, and so you need to perform research. You shouldn’t have to look too far to find reviews of almost any hosting business around today. Take the time to read them carefully before making your final decision. Web hosting companies make their money by hiring space on their servers. One the surface, it might look like they’re all the same. However, some servers are more prone to issues than others. So, you need to make your selection after checking the available information.

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Try building your site in-house

The biggest expense people face when starting a new site relates to design fees. Top professionals will charge a premium for their services because they know how to get the best results. However, you could save a small fortune by designing your site in-house. You just need to identify the best site builder tools you could use. WordPress is the most popular platform for creating websites without all the hard work. There are thousands of free themes you could utilise and lots of great plugins. Indeed, it’s possible to develop a fantastic site without any knowledge of code.

Look for the best ecommerce solutions

Most ecommerce sites will use an ecommerce store provider to sell their products. The only issue is that most of the solutions take a percentage of your profits. They might hold around 2% of the money you make for transaction charges or commission. That is why you need to check all the different store providers ahead of time for the best deals. You should avoid using PayPal unless there is no other option. While it is one of the most recognisable payment solutions available, it’s also one of the most costly.

There are lots of other ways you can save money when launching a new website. For instance, you could use freelancers to create all the text for your pages. That would cost less than using professional content providers, but you should get the same results. Just create an account with websites like People Per Hour and post your jobs accordingly. Many freelancers should contact you offering their services, and you just need to choose the best writer.

The Essential Guide To Business Websites

There’s a lot of talk about websites and how they play a role in the business world. Funnily enough, many people are unsure about a lot of things surrounding business websites. So, I’ve come up with a guide to help out:

The Importance Of A Business Website

You’ve probably heard people bang on about how important it is for a business to have a website. But, they often leave things at that. They don’t go into detail as to why a website is crucial for all businesses. Today, I’m going to tell you just that. To start things off, a website contributes to your brand image. A company without a site will not have a very positive image. People will think you’re a bit amateur at what you do. But, with a website, you can increase that reputation. Secondly, websites are a great digital marketing tool. You can get lots more customers, just by having a website. It’s your portal to the online community. Without one, there are millions of people that will never know about your company. Thirdly, they can help you earn more money. Place adverts on your site and generate cash for your business. Or, even better, sell things online via your website!

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Designing Your Website

A business website needs to look great and be easy to use. These are the two things your design should focus on. Make it aesthetically pleasing, make it look professional. I recommend you get someone to design the look of your site for you. Preferably someone with a background in design and previous experience designing websites. After you’ve got the looks sorted, it’s time to focus on making it easily accessible. You can do a few things to your website to increase the ease of access. One of those is the most simple thing ever, ensure you have a search bar on your site. This gives people an easy way to navigate around and find what they want. Another top tip is to have a postcode finder API on your site. This is something that will find someone’s address for them, all they need to do is type in their postcode. It’s a great way to make checkout time easier if anyone is buying something on your site. Or, if you have a signup page, it can come in handy there too. Make sure you design your website, so it looks good and functions well.

Promoting Your Website

Having a business website is great, but what you really want is a successful one. Websites measure success depending on how much traffic they get daily. Promote your website and try and get as many visitors as possible. To do this, you can use techniques like SEO or PPC to improve search engine performance. Or, take to social media and drive traffic to your site that way. The more daily visitors you have, the more your business will benefit from this website.

Hopefully, you now understand business websites a little better than at the start of this piece. If your company doesn’t already have one, then make sure you get one ASAP!

Save Your Business Money This Year by Making These Changes

A new year always marks a busy time for any business. You’ve come back off the festive break, and now you have to make sure you build on last year. And that can sometimes be easier said than done. There is a lot that can go wrong, and there are several economic changes that you may need to factor in.

As such, it can be difficult to understand exactly how you build on your previous success. But, a good rule of thumb in business is to focus on being cost-effective. If you can try to earn or save a little more cash each year, you’ll find that your business will benefit as a result. So, with that in mind, here are some excellent changed you can make to save your business money this year.

Outsource More Projects

Outsourcing is the secret magic word for most business owners across the word. And it is becoming more and more popular these days. We live in a time where technology is prevalent, and as a result, people can become specialists in certain areas fairly quickly. So, that means you will have experts you can pool to cover all the important and basic areas of your business. Outsourcing is a lot cheaper, and will help you get your work done much faster. So this needs to be your first step if it isn’t already.

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Cut Out Anything You Don’t Need

This is the big one and one that many business owners are guilty of overlooking. You’ve got to get rid of anything you don’t need that is costing you money. You might not be able to think of something off the top of your head, but there will certainly be something; there always is. So, it’s important to be really ruthless and get rid of any of this stuff. You’ll be surprised by how much money you’re losing on things you don’t even need or use.

Go Virtual as Much as You Can

As we touched on earlier, computers rule the world these days. So for the sake of ease and pragmatism, it’s probably a good idea to go virtual as much as possible. That might mean a virtual office and a mail forwarding service. It will certainly mean building online platforms and using digital marketing. If you can make sure everything functions online and in a virtual sense, then you will save heaps of cash and the business will be more streamlined.

Green is the Future

You need to think about the ongoing action you can take that will benefit your company. These days you need to make sure you are being as eco-friendly as possible. And the best way to achieve this is to make sure you go green. Green is the future of business and the world. And by going green you’re going to cut back on your expenditure considerably, so don’t overlook it.

Whenever you launch a business, you always need to assess the financial situation. It’s important to look at ways to make more money, and to save the company as much as you can. That means you need to come up with original and effective ideas that will help you to save cash as much as you can.