Bottom Line Tips for Creating a Professional Online eCommerce Store

If you’ve set your sights on the goal of building a profitable online ecommerce store, your chances of business survival and success are theoretically higher than if you pursued the goal of opening up a “bricks and mortar” store. One of the immediate advantages of creating an online ecommerce store is that you expand your potential marketing reach from the geographic region in which you live to the boundless expanse of the global Internet marketplace. Furthermore, the fact that you’re operating as a “virtual store”, rather than a traditional retail store, means that you can usually build an ecommerce website without the usual expenses, employees, and overhead of local businesses.

For existing retail or wholesale stores that have already established a large customer base and channels of distribution, setting up a professional online ecommerce store can be a route to even greater revenues and profit possibilities. As is the case with any business, however, a certain degree of risk is unavoidable and there are no guarantees that your online ecommerce store will be the next Internet success story.

Several of the factors that hold back ecommerce websites from realizing their full potential include the following realities of both human nature and ecommerce web site development:

1)    Internet shoppers are generally pretty savvy, these days, and can quickly size up whether a web site is professional looking, well designed, and competitive, in terms of pricing, web design, navigability, payment options, selection, customer service and online security. In other words, you can’t just throw up a half-baked web site and expect the orders to start flying in from every corner of the globe.

2)    Assuming you’ve turned over the development of your online ecommerce store to a competent ecommerce website development company, there’s still one critical challenge that is often overlooked: the necessity of attracting hundreds of targeted sales prospects and customers to your web site on a daily basis. Many a web site has been created that could easily win awards for beautiful web design, great navigability, and outstanding product selection, only to disappear from sight a year or two later, because nobody could find it on the four major search engines. Their web site was indexed but it was buried under hundreds of competitive listings. By neglecting to do keyword research to find out what shoppers are actually searching for, and then optimizing web pages for those specific traffic-generating phrases, there are untold numbers of professional-looking, well-organized online ecommerce stores that are – for all intents and purposes – invisible on the Web.

An action plan for avoiding the common pitfalls of running a startup Internet business, while, at the same time, increasing the chances of producing a healthy ecommerce return on investment, might include the following steps, strategies, and approaches:

1) Choose an ecommerce website development company with a portfolio of visually appealing, well organized online ecommerce stores.

2) Shop around for ecommerce web site software that supports all the major payment gateways, provides inventory management features, and offers all the shopping cart features your business needs.

3) Look for ecommerce web site software that enables you to get shipping quotes, do sales tax calculations, and helps you with order fulfillment tasks, such as printing shipping labels.

4) Ask if the ecommerce web site software you’re considering is secure against the theft of credit card data. Ideally, the company through which you get your shopping cart software and web hosting services should be PCI Level 1 CISP certified. Not only will this certification drastically reduce the chances of you or your customers falling victim to identity theft or credit card fraud, but it will also instill a “trust factor” in shoppers who visit your site. That creates an atmosphere that helps foster a higher percentage of sales conversions, valuable word-of-mouth referrals, and repeat visits.