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7 Simple E-Commerce Tips for Beginners

If you are just starting an ecommerce business, you might find a few tips to help you get off the ground helpful.

Starting an ecommerce business is much easier, faster and less costly than launching a traditional brick and mortar business. In many ways, the principles of sales and business are the same, and in many other ways, an ecommerce business is vastly different than a traditional business.

Here are 7 basic tips to help you with your ecommerce start-up:

1. Your domain name is one of the most important things about your ecommerce business! Choose a name that describes what you sell, incorporates some of your best keywords, and is short and very simple to brand.

2. Keyword research is essential! Take the time to research and find the very best keywords for your products and niche. Remember that with an online business, being found by the search engines is crucial to your success.

3. Use best SEO practices when building your website! This means using your main keywords in page headers, page files, content, within text links, anchor text, alt tags, image titles, and more.

4. Use good website design principles. This means using harmonious colors with text that is easy on the eyes. Research has shown that dark text on a light background is best for the human eye. Avoid flash and a jangling clash of colors, fonts and content that is too long or crowded onto the web page.

5. When using social media marketing and display ads on websites, target your consumer audience for best results. For example, Friendster and Bebo are predominantly younger people. So, if you are selling products mainly in use by senior citizens, you need to go somewhere else for marketing.

6. Make your checkout process as quick and easy as possible. If it is too involved with too many detailed steps, you will lose a lot of sales! Only get the information that you need to make the sale, anything else like an opt-in for your email marketing subscription list can come after the purchase has been made.

7. Display trust and safety symbols prominently! One of the biggest factors in making or losing an online sale is trust. You must let customers know that your website is safe and secure.

There are plenty of other things you will need to do, but just observing these simple rules will help you get your home dropshipping business or other ecommerce enterprise off to a flying start!

If you liked this article, you may also like this one:

history of ecommerce

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Online Sales Sluggish? Offer Promotions and Coupons!

If things seem to be a bit sluggish for you lately in your online dropship store or other ecommerce business, maybe you should consider having some good promotions and offering discount coupons to beef up your sales.

While many ecommerce entrepreneurs go heavy on promotions, discounts and coupons during the holidays, some tend to get a little slack about these things during the rest of the year.

The “Dog Days” of summer are notoriously slow for many merchants both online and in brick and mortar stores, so using promotions to stir up some shopping interest is just good business sense!

First of all, if you sell anything that can be used or worn by kids going back to school, this is a great time!

In many parts of the US, school will start back next month, and many parents as well as students will begin shopping for school supplies and clothing early.

To get the word out about your promotions, send out a newsletter specifically geared toward whatever discounts or coupons you are offering.
Make sure to put the details and the best and most appealing points above the fold, or on the top half of the page.

Besides sending out a newsletter, make sure your website is up to date with the details of the promotion and/or coupons.

One of the best things you can do when running a promotion is to make it time sensitive!

Make sure people understand that your promotion, discount or coupons are only going to be good for a limited amount of time.

It helps to have a calendar with the dates circled on your web page.

If you run display ads about your promotion, be sure to have appropriate landing pages so that visitors who click on one of your ads goes to a page with details about the promotion you are offering.

Promotions, discounts and coupons are fantastic ways to beat the summer doldrums and boost your profits!

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eBay Fall Seller Updates: Stop the Insanity!

As most eBay sellers know by now, more changes are coming down the pike and scheduled to go into effect this coming September.

There is a new twist to the latest and possibly one of the worst, most truly mind-boggling changes made since CEO Donahoe’s reign of terror—this one is retroactive.

Yes! Believe it or not, eBay is actually going back a year for smaller sellers and their stats during the past year will count against them, for a period of time before they even knew about the change. It would be funny if it wasn’t so awful.

The newest change: Starting in September, sellers will have yet another flaming hoop to jump through. The new policy says that a smallish seller cannot have more than .05% of “open cases” filed against them in a twelve month period.

Remember that number. One-half of one percent.

That equates to approximately two opened disputes for Item Not Received or Item Significantly Not as Described in a years time. Anything over that and a seller will lose their Top Rated Seller Status, be demoted in Search, and according to some of the eBay “Pinks” or employees who fielded a few questions on an eBay discussion forum this week—these horrible sellers who exceed two opened cases in a year might have to receive “coaching” to help them shape up.

One must wonder how on earth eBay, who seems completely unable to provide even the bare bones of a Customer Service department, is going to come up with someone bright enough to coach sellers.

Be that as it may, the totally ridiculous part of the new policy is that it makes no difference how a case was resolved, the seller—even if clearly shown to be innocent of any wrongdoing—is still considered guilty by eBay by virtue of having a case opened at all.

Here is a quote from an eBay employee on the above mentioned discussion forum:

“We count opened cases, because it is an indication of how well a seller is both setting and meeting buyer expectations.”

Huh?

Incredible, isn’t it?

So, if a buyer gets a seller mixed up with another seller and files an Item Not Received in error, and the accused seller furnishes a Delivery Confirmation number that proves the item was, in fact, received; it is still a strike against the seller!

One of the goofiest things about this new policy is that during an eBay webinar back in April when this upcoming policy was discussed, one of eBay’s own employees said that “only about 1% of buyers are problems.”

So, eBay acknowledges that 1% of buyers are problems, and yet sellers are only allowed HALF that percentage before they’re sanctioned?

What is wrong with this picture? Does nobody at eBay see how ludicrous this is?

Let’s apply the warped reasoning behind the new change to an automobile driver we’ll call John Q. Seller:

Mr. Seller has been driving for years and has never had an accident or gotten a ticket for anything. He observes all of the safety rules of the road and does his best to be a defensive driver.

However, one day Mr. Seller is stopped at a red light when a vehicle driven by an escaped lunatic—drunk and on drugs—and who also has never driven an automobile before in his life; rear ends Mr. Seller’s car.

11 months later, Mr. Seller is proceeding in a safe and orderly fashion down the street when suddenly, a car driven by a fleeing felon who has just robbed a bank careens out of a side street and T-Bones Mr. Seller’s vehicle.

Now, if the Department of Motor Vehicles, insurance companies and law enforcement followed eBay’s convoluted logic, John Q. Seller….even though totally innocent and obviously the victim in both of these mishaps….would have his drivers license revoked, his auto insurance canceled and be thrown in the slammer for 30 days to boot.

Why? Because—based on eBay’s reasoning—for John Q. Seller to be involved in two incidents within a year, it is a clear indication that he must be doing something wrong.

There doesn’t seem to be any difference between this scenario and eBay’s latest policy change!

And the hits just keep on coming……

If you are a dropship seller, or any kind of eBay seller, good luck on making the newest and most unrealistic cut!

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E-Commerce: Social Media Marketing with Facebook

Facebook has over 500 million users and is still growing at an extremely fast rate as people all over the world become members of this popular social site, and is an excellent platform for your social media marketing efforts!

There are several great ways to leverage the power of Facebook to build your brand and promote your home dropshipping business.

Here are some suggestions as to how you can use Facebook effectively to grow your online business:

Have a Facebook Fan Page: This is one of the easiest and most effective means of using Facebook for social media marketing! You can get really creative with your Fan page, and be sure to use good SEO because this will help your Fan page get picked up by the search engines.

Use Payvment to sell your products on Facebook: Payvment is a fantastic FREE way to increase your online sales! It couldn’t be any easier to set up and run, and with 500 million potential customers, the traffic is certainly there for you.

Be sure to include links: Take advantage of your Facebook presence to link to your website and blog, and vice versa. This will help tremendously in creating a flow of fresh traffic for you.

Have a contest or promotion: This is a great way to put your Facebook Fan Page to good use! There are very few people who don’t like a freebie or contest, and you can generate a lot of good PR plus boost traffic to your online store.

According to a recent study by ComScore, Facebook accounts for more than 40% of the total social media traffic.

Wow!

Pie Facebook resized 600

Source: ComScore

Bear in mind that many social media analysts predict this percentage to increase, and you can easily see why your business needs to be there.

Facebook is focusing more and more on ecommerce, and the integration of ecommerce and social media is basically a done deal that will continue to grow as time goes on.

If you aren’t already using Facebook as part of your social media marketing tools, don’t waste any more time!

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E-Commerce: Taking Stock of Your Social Media Marketing Efforts

If you are an ecommerce entrepreneur, you are hopefully using social media marketing, and it might be quite beneficial to you to stop, step back, and evaluate your efforts and strategies to see how well things are working for you.

Anyone who still doesn’t believe that social media is the wave of the future needs to join the rest of us in the 21st century!

Social media is not a flash in the pan or a passing fad. It’s big, it’s powerful, and it isn’t going away anytime soon.

If you are already leveraging the awesome power of social media, here are some tips to help you evaluate how well your efforts are paying off:

  • Are you furnishing information and messages that your target market is interested in? Each niche has its own demographics, at least to some extent. In order to optimize the effectiveness of your social media presence, you should be gearing your efforts toward your own particular niche. Otherwise, it would be akin to setting up a Hawaiian Ice stand at the North Pole. No matter how tasty and delicious your slushies might be, it is doubtful you would get many customers up there.
  • Are you on the right social sites? Again, the social communities you should be frequenting for your marketing efforts should reflect your niche market audience. For example, if your online dropship sales website sells Depends and other like products usually best suited for a more mature audience, you would probably be wasting your time on Bebo, where the demographics are mostly teens and young adults.
  • Are you paying attention to what others are saying to you? Social media can be immensely helpful in allowing you to keep your finger on the pulse of your potential or existing customers who interact with you IF you listen when they speak! Some of these folks might have a valid complaint about your product or website—or a suggestion for improvement—that it would behoove you to listen and act on.

Social media marketing is a wonderful, free way to build your brand and promote your online business!

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A Tisket, A Tasket, Don’t Put All Your Eggs Into eBay’s Basket!

If you are an ecommerce entrepreneur who is selling solely on eBay, you are probably making a potentially very bad mistake by putting all of your eggs into one basket.

For most smallish sellers with home businesses in dropship eBay sales or other auction or Fixed Price listings on eBay, it is entirely too risky anymore to make eBay your only venue for selling.

Why?

Simply because the policies that have come with the “Disruptive Innovation” —as the CEO of eBay, John Donahoe likes to call the train wreck of the past two and a half years—are definitely not seller friendly.

Unless you sell a huge amount of merchandise on eBay, it would only take two or three unreasonable or dishonest buyers to ding your DSRs and feedback badly enough to get you suspended for 30 days or longer.

Most people can’t afford to lose their livelihood for a month or more. If eBay is your only source of income and you have even a mini-run of bad luck with buyers….you won’t have an income for a while.

This is not a happy situation in most cases.

So, think ahead. Do your best to be an excellent seller with great customer service, etc. Unfortunately, though, that won’t always save you from unfair negative feedback or low Detailed Seller Ratings.

So, hope for the best but prepare for the worst!

Preparing for the worst means that you should be set up on other websites. There are eBay alternatives, good ones! Whether it’s Amazon, Bonanzle, Etsy, Boocoo Auctions, eCrater or any of the other alternative selling sites; you should already be a presence at one or more of them.

That way, if you are unfortunate enough to encounter a few snarky buyers or scammers, you can weather the storm of a suspension from selling on eBay by having alternate sources of income from your products.

Even if your eBay sales are good at the moment, it’s always a good idea to hedge your bets. So check out some of the eBay alternatives today!

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eCommerce: Shortcuts to Success in a Home Business

The internet has opened the doors to a whole new world of opportunities for enterprising entrepreneurs who want to make a living online, and taking a few shortcuts will have you making a profit even faster in your home dropship business!

Time is of the essence for many “netpreneurs” who are starting and running a home business.

Most home business owners take care of every aspect of operations by themselves and consequently wear a lot of different hats. So, making every minute count is of paramount importance!

Save a little time with these shortcuts to success in an internet business:

  • Use a free website design program. There are some great ones available online! Professional website designers spend a lot of time and a lot of money getting the right website design programs and learning all about how to use them. Face it, unless you are a wealthy home business owner, you probably can’t afford to hire one of these ultra snazzy design firms that produce the sophisticated websites for multi-million dollar corporations. So take advantage of one of the free sites that allow you to create a very professional looking website.
  • Sometimes it is best to spend money by hiring a pro. You need the best content for your website that you can get. It should have effective SEO, as well. If you are not proficient at writing content and/or not good at SEO, then definitely hire someone to do this for you. This is not the area to cut corners and try to save a few bucks!
  • Get started in social media marketing ASAP! Especially for a fledgling business, money may be in as short supply as time, so use the free marketing available from social sites and a business blog to drive traffic to your website. There are several free services and tools available on the internet for social media marketing that allow you to save considerable time by basically consolidating everything for you.

Success awaits anyone who is willing to put in the time and effort necessary to make it happen, whether it is an online dropshipping business or another ecommerce endeavor. Time is money, so saving time with shortcuts can help speed you on your way down the road to success!

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Tips for Building an eCommerce Business Blog

According to internet marketing analysts, having a blog for your ecommerce business is a great addition to your social media marketing efforts.

If you don’t yet have a business blog, but are eager to get started, here are some tips that may prove useful for establishing a blog that will help build your brand and grow your online dropshipping business or other ecommerce website:

  • Check out the fantastic FREE blog platforms available to you on the World Wide Web. The following three blog platforms have much to offer a blogger. Plus they’re all extremely user friendly. You can set up your blog and start posting in a matter of minutes!

Blogger.com
WordPress.com
Tumblr.com

  • Choose a name (web address) for your blog that incorporates the name of your online web store or product. For example, if the name of your ecommerce business is Better Ink Pens, then make the URL for your blog something like BetterInkPensBlog. You get the idea.
  • Make sure to use images in your blog. Internet research has shown that viewers respond more favorably to blog posts with images, and that images do more to keep a reader engaged than a post without images.
  • Choose pleasing colors, but nothing too busy or distracting. Human beings can most easily read a dark text on a light background, so bear that in mind. Don’t choose a font that is too fancy or off the wall because these tend to make your content hard to read.
  • Don’t make your blog posts too lengthy! The average internet viewer only scans content instead of actually reading it. If you drone on too long, you will probably lose the attention of your readers and that will be that. If you have an exceptionally long piece to write, break it up into segments.
  • To be successful in business blogging, you must provide fresh content on a regular and frequent basis. The search engines love fresh content, so make sure you have it for them! Getting noticed by the search engines is a must if you want to build your home dropship business or other ecommerce enterprise!

So, if you don’t have a blog for your business—get started without delay! It will be well worth the effort!

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Build Your Brand and Grow Your eCommerce Business with Twitter

Twitter is one of the most popular social media sites, and can be immensely advantageous in helping you build your brand and promote your ecommerce business.

It’s hard to imagine that messages as short as the 140 characters you are allowed in Twitter tweets can actually do you much good, but the fact is that they can, and do, when you go about it the right way!

Here are some tips that will assist you in building your brand and developing brand loyalty:

  • If you don’t already have a business logo, you should set about getting one that reflects the nature of your ecommerce business. Branding is much easier if you have a distinctive logo that people will remember over time and associate with your business. Use this logo on your Twitter profile! It gives you an easily recognizable brand, plus it lends authenticity to your presence on Twitter.
  • Use some of the free tools available on the internet that will allow you to track the buzz about your brand. This is a great way to monitor your progress in building your brand, plus it furnishes an early warning if there is less than favorable talk about your business circulating on Twitter.
  • Create and maintain a great profile on Twitter. Make it professional, yet friendly and approachable. Make it clear exactly what your business is all about. Be sure to have a link to your ecommerce website on your Twitter profile!
  • To make your brand memorable, always be sure to post great tweets! Don’t be afraid to infuse some humor along the way. People respond favorably to things that make them smile! Also, make a giant effort to only tweet about things that are of value in some way to others. It might be something educational or entertaining, or an interesting tidbit that correlates somehow with your industry. The main thing is to not tweet just for the sake of tweeting. This is a good way to lose followers you want to keep.

With a little time and effort, you can use Twitter to build your brand and grow your online dropship business!

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Two Power Words That Can Help Grow Your eCommerce Business

Did you know that there are two words that are so effective and so powerful they can help build and grow your ecommerce business?

It’s true. Two little words, if you use them, can do wonders to help you build a thriving, successful online business, as well as garner many loyal, repeat customers who will come back to your website over and over again to buy your products.

Those two little words are: Thank You.

Yes.

It’s just that simple.

We seem to live in such a fast paced world that sometimes the common courtesies fall by the wayside. This may be particularly true on the World Wide Web, as sometimes we tend to forget the little civilities that come naturally in a face to face encounter.

However, saying “Thank you” is not something a savvy entrepreneur should ever overlook or forget!

A simple, sincere word of thanks goes a long way toward cementing a relationship between you and a customer. It’s a fundamental fact of life that human beings of all ages and both genders like to feel appreciated.

With the fierce competition that exists for a buyer’s business, you definitely should appreciate it when they choose to do business with you instead of one of your competitors, and you should certainly let them know that their business is appreciated!

When a customer makes a purchase from you, a word of thanks should be included in the order confirmation email.

Along with saying thanks, it is also a good idea to periodically show your repeat customers that you appreciate them by offering them a good promo such as half price shipping or a special sale.

You have absolutely nothing to lose by expressing your thanks and appreciation, and a great deal to gain.

Always remember one of the basic axioms of sales: People buy from those they like.

If you show your appreciation and express gratitude for a customer’s patronage, and then award some type of benefit as recognition of their repeat, continued business, you are taking a giant step toward having that customer like you.

So, don’t forget those two little words and let your online dropshipping business buyers know that you appreciate them to keep them coming back!

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