Tuesday, January 01, 2008

E-commerce - A guide for UK business managers

So you have a brilliant product and you want to sell online to take advantage of what is still the fastest growing marketplace in the world? Where do you start? What do you need?

Well the good news is that you only need a website that is capable of showing off your product and enabling the customer to order and pay for the goods. You also need a way of telling people that your website is open for business.

A well designed website on a good platform will have search engine optimisation capability built in.
Before you even design the website you should be considering how you will be promoting the site. If you feel that a highly interactive Flash site is what you want then forget about SEO work and concentrate on offline advertising and pay per click advertising.

A shopping cart website has a database behind it which holds the product information, customer information and order and payment information. It usually generates the product pages on the fly reflecting stock levels, price changes, delivery information. This means the website is a dynamic one. For example Product A is not selling so you decide to lower the price. The backend of the shopping cart site, ( The admin area) will allow you to change the price of it and immediately when a customer visits the Product A page the price shown will be your new lower price.
The admin side of your new web shop is an important component. It should be very easy to add new product and pictures and easy to edit existing product.

How secure is your shop? You will have to make sure customer details are not available to spammers and other con artists. A secure area on your website should be used for encrypting their details as they send them.

This guide will start with the basics of Domain registration and Hosting requirements. Then we will look at Shopping Cart platforms, Security, Payment processing, and delivery options.
The final parts will look at search engine optimisation, internet marketing and website promotion.

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