As I have now designed quite a number of e-commerce websites for customers in Nottingham and beyond, I have gained a great deal of experience in this sector. Therefore I would like to share some of my best tips some of which might not be immediately obvious and may be surprising to you.
I've seen spectacular successes and conspicuous failures. So you can learn the lessons from mistakes made by some as well as share in the secrets of the successes of others. My years of experience in helping customers succeed with their e-commerce websites has taught me much and I would like to pass this on to you.
The first thing I would like to discuss is, in my opinion, the most important fact about e-commerce websites:
All successful e-commerce websites were in a sector already well known by the owner
There are two kinds of people who want an e-commerce website (there are of course many more but these are the two main categories of people). There are those whose sole interest is in having an e-commerce website. They decide they want the website first and think of what they will sell second. The other type is someone who already has a successful business in a particular sector and wish to extend their sales capabilities to the Internet.
The e-commerce business-person
There are always exceptions to every rule but in my experience, the type of person who is more interested in the fact that it is e-commerce than in the product they are selling is doomed to failure. This is because there is more to running an e-commerce website than first meets the eye. There is some kind of romantic notion out there that if you build a great looking website with great functions, it can run itself and all you have to do is pop stuff in envelopes and parcels and go to the Post Office once a day.
This sounds like a great life-style but has no basis in reality. Goods go missing, credit card companies charge back payments at the drop of a hat. Also, the website itself must be kept up-to-date to ensure sales are as strong as possible.
This can come as a shock and if you are unprepared for this, you might be tempted to drop you idea of the dream life-style as en e-commerce magnate!
The established business-person
Contrast this with a person who already has a successful retail and/or wholesale business. They know their sector, they know what their customers want, they know what prices their customers want to pay. Most importantly of all, they know which products sell the most and/or make the most profit so they know what to always push to the forefront.
In my experience, provided the e-commerce site is well designed and promoted, these types of business people always succeed in e-commerce. In the worst cases they increase their turnover by a significant percentage and in many cases, selling online completely transforms their business.
The best tip for selling online
So my best tip to anyone thinking of starting an e-commerce business is simply to treat it like any other. Expect to learn the ropes and learn how to sell and promote just as you would if you were setting up a high street shop or a wholesale operation. Selling online is no different. And if you already have a successful business but have not yet thought about e-commerce, my advice is to start today. You never know to what dizzy heights this might lead!