6 Important Aspects of E-Commerce Websites

Web development is an intricate process as there are multiple aspects to keep in mind. There are several things to consider like appealing design, user-experience, performance and easy navigation. E-commerce website development is a challenging process. Discussed here are certain important qualities that every e-commerce site should have.

Responsive Design:

Smart phone users are growing constantly. Most of the people prefer to shop online. It is due to this reason that a virtual shop should be responsive. It should be able to adapt itself as per the screen of the gadget in which it is accessed. Right from the basic navigation to checkout and payment, every platform of e-shop should be made available to the mobile phone users so that people on the move can buy.

Should Support Guest Checkouts:

The users should be able to create an account to book orders and purchase. A follow up communication often leads to future sales and hence this aspect of e-commerce website is important. Notifications for the upcoming items lead to the sales and hence a virtual shop should have this feature.

Site Search Feature Must be There:

30 % of the customers visit e-commerce sites to search for the products. It is important to ensure that the search functionality should be there in the site. Auto complete features help the users to find their popular products. Also, the visitors should be able to narrow their search in several ways.

Security is Important:

All the e-commerce website should support SSL to encrypt the information requires to remain secure. This is so because the payments are done through credit cards and the bank details are furnished. If your site is not secured, customers will not purchase from you.

Should Contain Multiple Modes of Payments:

People like to pay as per their convenience. It is due to this reason that ever e-commerce website should have multiple modes of payments including the most commonly used Cash-on-Delivery method. Most of the customers run away from the sites that do not have COD payment mode.

Should be Well-Optimised:

With an increasing competition for selling products and services online, there are more people than ever that are in the race. If you cannot be found easily on the search engines, you will be at a loss. An e-commerce website should be well-optimised and easily found. A majority of people leave your website if it does not load easily.

These are a few important features that an e-commerce website should have. If you want to have a roaring online business, you need to hire a reputed and reliable website development company that can take care of all the important aspects.

Benefits of Free Classified Ads

Of late there has been a much debate on relevance and usefulness of Free Classified Ads from the business perspective. Free classified ads are a sort of boon for small businesses who cannot afford to pump up large bucks into other forms of paid advertising.

Hands down, a classified ad is the cheapest way to spread the word about your company in order to connect with your potential audience. On the whole, below are some general benefits of using classified sites for advertising.

So, are they really useful? Yes, they are useful. But there is a catch; it depends on your requirement.

Time and Money:

While you can post your ad for free in many sites, the cost to access the popular classifieds sites which attract traffic is not costly too; in fact, it is nothing in comparison to the ROI it entails. Moreover, posting an ad is a simple process that doesn’t demand a lot of time. A simple ad copy is all you need.

Simple and Easy:

While other forms of internet marketing techniques demand a dedicated time and effort, classifieds posting is as simple and easy it can be. Preparing an ad and posting it could be a manual job,but there are sites which automates this process for you; Some of them even help you in preparing a better ad copy specific to each type of posting.

Reachability:

Targeting a good number of sites carefully selected depending on the context of the service, an online business can enjoy a tremendous reachability through classifieds. True that you need a good quality of sites to achieve that, as we have discussed before, access to such sites is cheap too.

High Return on investment:

Not only because it is very affordable but also due to its inherent nature of getting the word out a quality pace, Classified ads offer one of highest return on investment among other internet marketing strategies.

As we have said at the start of this post, though Classified ads seem like the best choice among all its counterparts, but it depends on the requirement of the user. While each method has its own set of positives and negatives and is suitable for particular type of strategy,we can say that Classified ads are the safest possible option to get a considerable exposure.

Most people who visit a classified site are search of the services, so as a service provider it is the best place to feature your advert. All you have to do is choose a good site that attract a lot of traffic and write an attractive ad copy.

Where Does Advertising Fit Into the Marketing Mix?

Many people get confused about the role of advertising in the marketing mix so here’s a simple view of where it fits in.

In the traditional marketing model, we talk about the 4 P’s

o Product

o Pricing

o Place

o Promotion

The last section – Promotion is what we mean when we say you are “doing your marketing”. It’s your communications or your actual marketing activities.

But first, let’s get clear about the PURPOSE of marketing and why you want to get good at it.

“The PURPOSE of marketing or it’s biggest task is to

persuade prospects to visit you online or offline so you

can present your offer. Done well they come waving their

credit card and ready to buy so there’s no need for hard sell.”

Whenever and wherever you get in front of your potential market is your marketing opportunity – you are communicating or getting your message across.

You could say this started as far back as Babylon when the Town Crier was the only delivery method! They went around town shouting out to people to go to the marketplace and you went to the marketplace with your goods to “present your offer”.

With the invention of print and other technologies you now have a smorgasbord of delivery methods or media to reach people such as

o Print – newspapers, magazines, catalogues, newsletters

o Phone, mail, fax

o Radio & TV,

o Internet – through websites, blogs, social networking sites, email, video & Audio podcasts

o Teleseminars & webinars

o Mobile media – Blackberrys and mobile or cell phones

o And lets not forget in person public speaking and networking

Now that range adds a level of complexity. But choice is good and you don’t have to use all of these but they are available to you.

In any event you’ll either be speaking or writing. Simply narrow down what makes sense for you and your business and use your strengths to work out a plan.

JUST remember the marketing principles remain the same no matter the medium – so the PURPOSE of your marketing is still the same. To persuade prospects to visit you online or offline so you can present your offer.

So where does advertising fit into this?

Advertising is simply a subset of your marketing activities it’s the SALES function when you make the sales pitch or “present your offer”. This could be verbal or written in all the same media you use for your marketing communications. What adds to the confusion is sometimes big companies use image based ads for awareness so the “sales pitch” isn’t obvious.

But the primary purpose of advertising is to SELL.

So you create ads in one form or another and get them in front of your audience.

Small businesses can’t afford to waste money on image advertising that is designed for the masses to promote a well known brand. It simply isn’t designed to sell, NOW.

What I do and recommend is Direct Marketing which is based on one-on-one relationships and uses proven direct response advertising techniques instead of mass advertising.

The purpose of a direct response advertisement is to get a response, NOW! Which means these ads actually ask the prospect to DO something.

Whether you’re building a list, selling a product or service, an appointment or even something you are giving away – you still need to “sell” it to your prospect. And ask them to take the action you want them to take to move them through the sales process.

In a nutshell, advertising is a subset of marketing and direct response marketing and advertising is the champion for small business.

Earn Cash Back When You Shop Online

Cashback shopping is a growing Internet shopping experience, you not only get all the online discounts, promotional giveaways, free trials & special offers that the company you are buying from normally offer, but you also earn money back, for things that you would be buying anyway!

Cashback websites pay the money earned to members via various payment options (BACS, PayPal or cheque) within a stated time period and this is in cash, not points, so the member can use the money to buy anything they like, not just what a particular retailer wants to offer them, such as you would get with a Nectar Card or Clubcard, or a site that offers you points towards items in their “gift catalogue”.

Cashback shopping in the UK is relatively new, but it is growing, with more sites appearing every week. As 1 in every 10 retail purchases in the UK is now made over the internet (according to figures published by the Interactive Media in Retail Group), there are certainly good sums of cashback available to claim by clued up consumers.

Cashback sites have clickable links to online retailers that are provided by the retailers through companies called affiliate networks. Many cashback sites have over 1000 links, meaning there’s a great choice of retailers, in many different categories, for you to get cashback from. Many of the well known high street brands are available on cashback websites.

Merchants advertise their products on websites & when a surfer clicks on the ad & then buys the product or service, the retailer pays a fee (commission) to the website owner. You will see these ads all over most of the websites you browse everyday. Cashback Shopping sites act as an interface in between retailers and online shoppers, offering to share that payment with their members. Once an online shopper clicks on the links of the retailers listed on these portals he is redirected to the retailer’s website as normal and upon buying the product, gets the cashback percentage, or flat rate payment promised by the portal for that particular retailer.

You register with your chosen cashback site; the registration allows the website to know which member made which purchase & match the cashback paid from the retailer (via the affiliate network) to their account. You will need to be logged in to the cashback site & choose a retailer you want to buy from. The cashback offer for the retailer will be displayed against the link & will generally be a percentage of your purchase total, (e.g. 5%) or a set amount, (e.g. £30) for a contract mobile phone, or for opening a bank account.

When you click the link to a retailer, you are taken to their site and you make your purchase in the normal way. From the moment you click, the affiliate network will be tracking the transaction using (cookies stored on your PC), which identifies that you clicked on a link from a particular website (i.e. the cashback site). Commissions paid to other websites such as MSN, Yahoo etc. are tracked in exactly the same way, so don’t be wary of the tracking cookie.

Usually within a day or two, the affiliate network reports the transaction back to the cashback site and states how much commission is due to be paid to them. The cash back site then credits your account with a share of this commission (see the site for exactly how much – some sites pay around 50% of the commission earnt, whereas others pay 100% of the commission, but charge an administration fee).

The money becomes payable to you when the commission has been received by the cashback site from the retailer via the affiliate network, but only when you have reached the minimum payout level for the cashback site (again, this varies from site to site). Once both these things happen you can claim your money from the cashback site.

Typically your cash-back from purchases will become confirmed/payable about 2-3 months after the transaction. This is to allow for return of goods etc so that retailers don’t get stung. Uncleared payments usually show as “pending”.

The prices you get via cashback site links are the same prices that everyone else gets. The only difference is that you are getting money back on top & as well as this, you’re usually able to use retailers’ online discount codes in conjunction with cashback offers, making for even greater savings! Most sites will display lists of the special offers & codes that each retailer is offering, without you having to go hunting through the site.

Most of the UK cashback sites are free to join and even give you a sign-up bonus to get you started! They may also pay you an additional bonus if you get friends and family to join up, using a referral link that they give you. There are some sites that don’t do this, but they do claim to pay 100% of the commission they receive from the retailers!

The only restrictions are those the cashback sites set in terms of minimum payout levels, but with just one big-ish purchase (e.g. insurance policy or mobile phone contract) you may exceed this in one go.

Why else might you shop online, other than just for cash back? Well, the top reasons for shopping online include avoiding crowded stores, the availability of lower prices and the wide selection of goods and services available. Basically, you can sit at home, not get stressed by the crowds, still buy what you want, but get it cheaper and choose from a wider selection, not to mention if you use a cashback site, get some of your money back too!

Finally, there’s no limits on the amount of cashback you can earn with cashback sites and with 98% of retailers you can make repeat purchases and get cashback every time!

You can literally start saving money right now, in the next couple of minutes. It won’t cost you anything at all. And you just go on saving year after year. Just think how much money you are going to get back over the next year, the next 5 years, the next 10 years, just for using a cashback site to buy what you were going to buy anyway!!!

We would suggest that you register with at least one cashback site & then use a comparison site like Kelkoo or Price Runner to find the lowest price, or in the case of insurance confused.com, comparethmarket.com or moneysupermarket.com, but then return to the cashback site to click through to the retailer; that way, you are getting the best price & cashback too!:o)

Beware! As mentioned earlier, the cashback site relies on a tracking code (also sometimes known as a cookie) to record which site you came from & who is entitled to receive their cashback. If you initially visit a retailer through one site & then return to it through the cashback site, you may not get the cashback you expect, because the first cookie is the one used by the affiliate network.

Therefore, before using your cashback site, we recommend removing cookies from your browser, using the tools already built in to your browser, or by using an excellent free piece of software: CCleaner! This ensures that the “click” through the cashback site is the one registered by the affiliate network, not one from a comparison site, who would then get the money & not share it with you!!