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Captchas – spam blockers or conversion killers?

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Web users are exercised by pop-ups which can be distracting as much as they are annoying. Equally, captchas can be one of the most bothersome things on the web. Even if they drive irritated visitors from your website, which in essence might not offend you, how do you feel about losing conversions?  The overarching concern regarding the negative effects of captchas on your website is loss of earnings and no return on investment. The whole concept and establishment of captchas resulted from the explosive growth in the web at the end of the 1900s and the corresponding  increase in spam. The latter phenomenon was counteracted with a spam prevention or blocking system named captchas whose raison d’etre was to stop spam robots from carrying out their task of recognising spam and penalising accordingly.

Even though captchas were designed to block spamming they proved in reality not to be totally spam proof as they were quickly outwitted by spam robots and their architects. However in spite of their shortcomings they did manage to filter some of the spam, which is the reason why they remain a popular feature on Websites. Their existence, whilst helpful in that respect can also act adversely as a barrier to real human visitors. That causes a dilemma for site owners in their analysis of the pros and cons of captchas. Do the advantages outweigh the disadvantages? As an anti-spam application captchas come at a price in that they hinder search engine crawlers from performing their natural role of scanning webpages and rewarding certain algorithm criteria in the Search Engine Results pages. The problem for search bots is that content could be so far beyond their scope and accessibility that they simply move on to more friendly sites.

When not written and presented properly with due care and strategic planning, captchas can actually cause data loss. Such an extreme scenario might well occur. However, countenance the situation where your captcha is placed near unreadable text or where it has been filled in inaccurately resulting in the erasure of the data and causing the angry user to start over again. How many visitors in that situation would be put off to the extent that they would not be bothered to refill a form just to purchase something from your website? It follows that captchas, if they adversely affect UX and as a consequence degrade or prevent spider indexation of web pages beyond them, will prove a barrier to SEO in this context.

To make some comparisons – spam is less annoying and less expensive than loss of conversions and the resultant loss in revenue. Captchas on diverse locations such as newsletters or shopping sites can be a definite turn-off for site visitors or customers who find them frustrating and a distraction. The more illegible and diffuse the captcha the greater the likelihood of conversion loss with potential customers going elsewhere to make a purchase. Interestingly, the captchas with the highest rejection rates are those connected with sound and video. That is not at all surprising especially with the the growing popularity of on-site media trends. The greatest click away rates are caused by those captchas that for potential customers waste the most time and  register the greatest disapproval. If they are not conversion killers and they are not obviously penalising your rankings in SERPS then use them in the more friendly ways we have mentioned.

Tecchies are continuing to look for more effective alternatives as spam blockers – it is a work in progress. In the meantime there are captcha variations you can deploy to minimise user turn-off

and site rejection. An alternative is to introduce a simple maths problem for the user to solve – much more friendly than the unreadable letters that hack people off. A definite replacement for a captcha is a customised spam blocking solution and there are many to choose from. Currently there are universal spam filters for sale that provide the type of protection sought by professional Websites.

From your perspective, the resolution of the dilemma – to use captchas or not – can only be based on your own personal experience. If you do not get a lot of spam and you find that captchas interfere with conversions then the obvious thing to do is get rid of them. However, adversely, if your site analysis indicates that captchas do not bother your visitors whilst you still receive a lot of spam – then it is probably better to retain the captcha.

Our team of digital marketing experts and web design Belfast and web design Newry teams can help with any digital marketingadwordsvideo productionsocial mediaSEOMagento or web design questions you may have.

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Google Confirms Changes to Ad Positions on Desktop Search Results

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Google has confirmed text ads will no longer appear on the right sidebar of desktop search results. The giant search engine broke the news of this drastic change on 19th February 2016. Rather than appearing at the top, bottom and right side of search results, ads will be positioned above and below them instead.

In addition to this, the number of text ads shown above organic listings will be increased to four, not three. This will occur for those considered to be “highly commercial queries”.

Advertisers are dying to know how these sudden changes to ads on desktop search results will affect their own ad performance. Factors such as CPC (PPC), CTR and average position etc. are at the top of the growing list of concerns executed by online advertisers.

 

Here’s what Google has confirmed so far about the recent changes:

·         Text ads will no longer appear on the right side of desktop search results.

·         For “highly commercial queries”, four text ads will be served above search results instead of three.

·         A maximum of seven text ads will be displayed on a SERP.

·         No more than three text ads are to be shown below SERPs.

·         Relevant queries will display Knowledge Panels and Product Listing Ad Blocks on the right rail of SERPs.

·         All of these recent changes and updates will be implemented worldwide (regardless of language), on both Google.com and each of its search partners. These changes are permanent.

 

Should We Have Expected This Shift?

Back in 2010, when Google first began to test the notion of four ads shown directly above search results it appeared to be just that, a notion. However, those experiments continued for an additional several years. So, should we be kicking ourselves for not seeing these changes coming sooner?

No, not exactly.

Whilst slight changes were seen by users in the past, this was by no means expected to be permanent. In the beginning, Google experimented with simple mortgage queries. Users noticed that instead of having three ads on top of their organic results, there were four. In some instances, no ads appeared in the right sidebar whatsoever. This was perhaps the first clue that there were bigger changes to come.

So why didn’t any of us see it coming?

Google denied these changes were going to be permanent. As a result, people turned their attention elsewhere and desktop ad changes were put away in a tiny box at the back of our minds, never having to be dealt with. That is, until Friday 19th February happened.

 

More about Highly Commercial Queries

Highly Commercial Queries (aka, the ones where four ads will show instead of three) are seen by Google as being queries where the user is intent on making a purchase. For the time being, this is unlikely to affect ad tests in Knowledge Panels or Product Listings. Instead, Google will continue to run various experiments in Knowledge Panels and with Product Listing Ad layouts, despite the recent changes to the right rail of SERPs.

 

What Does all of this Mean for CPC?

Many are worried that the cost of CPC will rise as a result of there being less ad space available. However, there may not be as much interest to place ads at the bottom of organic search listings as there were for having ads on the right side of SERPs. Until more data is available on the subject, we can do nothing but speculate according to prior knowledge and the information that Google has currently provided us with.

We can guarantee, however, that advertisers running bid-to-position strategies are likely to need to make relevant updates. These updates may cause an auction fluctuation period. This will settle once advertisers become accustomed to Google’s changes to ad layout on desktop search results.

Keep an eye on our blog for more updates as this story unfolds.

 

Our team of digital marketing experts and web design Belfast and web design Newry teams can help with any digital marketing adwords video production social media SEO Belfast Magento PPC Agency Belfast or web design questions you may have.

 

 

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10 SEO E-Commerce Rules your Business Should Abide By

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SEO should be at the top of your business’ online strategy. You need it to build a firm customer base, boost organic traffic and climb the search engine ladder. But for an SEO strategy to work, you need to learn what NOT to do.

Follow these 10 SEO Rules to avoid being smite by the big guy…who in this case, happens to be Google.

10 SEO E-Commerce Rules

1. Don’t Use Duplicated Content

 

In the digital sphere, stealing content is a crime against Google. To avoid penalisation, evade duplicated content at all costs. Ensure that your site uses original, relevant and useful content. Don’t bombard your web pages with pointless jargon.

Develop high quality content strategies and update your content regularly. An on-site blog can help with this. Google will punish sites that don’t abide by this rule, so take heed and listen.

 

2. Don’t Cram Keywords

 

Yes, your website needs relevant keywords to attract customers. However, this doesn’t mean it’s okay to stuff your content with them. In the past, cramming keywords into the content of your E-Commerce site may have helped your sites performance. But times have changed and you need to keep the number of on-site keywords to a minimum.

Only use relevant keywords that will help search engines see the value of your site. Avoid cramming keywords as this will be seen as an attempt to fool Google’s algorithms.

 

3. Don’t Use Black-Hat SEO

 

The battle between Good and Evil has been going on for centuries. On the internet, this battle is alive in the form of White Hat and Black Hat SEO strategies.

Avoid the dark side and try to use white hat SEO tactics to improve your website’s performance. This will help to make your website more valuable and relevant to users. Your site will be more likely to perform better as a result.

 

4. Don’t Include Too Many Ads

 

A good user experience means giving customers what they want. If your website is crowded with ads, this can be extremely irritating to your site’s visitors. Loose and “scrawny” content alongside all these ads is even worse.

Make sure that your site keeps ads to a minimum. Google will pick up on low quality content, which does not bode well for its online performance.

 

5. Don’t Install Hidden Text

 

Many sneaky business owners have tried to hide SEO text from the Google bot. These tactics include putting white text on a white background with the aim to show different text to site visitors and Google. However, this method of improving organic traffic will not work as well as you might think.

Algorithms can detect cloaked and hidden text. This results in the immediate drop of your site down search results listings.

 

6. Don’t Use the Same Meta Descriptions and Title Tags

 

Avoid using the same title tags for each page of your website. Focus on the specific details, services or content included in specific web pages.

If you use the same title tags throughout your site, this can prove to be damaging towards your SEO efforts. The same goes with meta descriptions. Make them unique and persuasive to encourage viewers to click on your link.

 

7. Don’t Choose Link Quantity Over Quality

 

Too many websites are focusing on how many links they have rather than the quality of these links.

A single link from a high performing blog for instance, can do wonders for your site. Whereas having many links from low quality directory links won’t do you any favours. Google sees high quality links as a reliable measure of website quality.

 

8. Don’t Create Microsites

 

Once upon a time (before the Panda algorithm came along), the creation of microsites were used to boost rankings and traffic. The sites usually contained thin content and where used to link back to the main site.

However, Google’s Panda algorithm update has swept these mini sites off the face of the internet, making them completely redundant.

 

9. Don’t Use Link Farms

 

One of the best SEO tactics is to have links coming to and from your website. You’re more likely to get noticed if your content includes links. These should be from outside sources such as quality blogs or social media pages etc.

However, this only works if it happens organically. Never use link farms or link-swapping methods which will trigger a red flag, resulting in the possibility of finding yourself on Google’s black-list

 

10. Don’t Spam Customers or Google Maps

 

Spamming will send you so far down the ranks that it would take God himself to pull you back up into the first page of search results. Just don’t it. Also, don’t bother creating a false listing on Google Maps either.

Many businesses have done this AND paid the ultimate price for it. This is seen as an attempt to fool Google, which (as you probably gather from the other 9 rules) will result in the harsh punishment of your website.

Our team of digital marketing experts and web design Belfast and web design Newry teams can help with any digital marketing adwords video production social media SEO Belfast Magento PPC Agency Belfast or web design questions you may have.

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3 Easy Steps for Ecommerce Success

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There are currently 3.2 billion internet users worldwide – that’s almost HALF of the entire population! So what is it about the internet that has all of these people so intrigued? Most are either scrolling through their social media accounts, watching videos on YouTube or shopping online.

The ecommerce industry is booming.

The temptation to shop online is just too great and who can blame them? The allure lies with the simplicity of it all; no need to carry heavy shopping bags around town, the expedient home delivery system (and it’s even better when it’s free), the large range of products and the validating customer reviews and testimonials to help put our indecisive minds to rest. Shopping online is a blast.

In 2015, 7 out of 10 adults in the UK purchased goods or services online. 80% of these consumers (57% of the UK population) carried out the transaction via their smartphones. These figures are expected to rise in 2016, skyrocketing ecommerce profit margins to figures never thought possible.

With so much potential still to come, ecommerce owners have the opportunity to retain even more customers. All it takes is a few easy steps to implement a simple ecommerce strategy that will increase online sales and yield best possible results.

So here they are, the top 3 steps for ecommerce success:

3 Easy Steps for Ecommerce Success

Step 1: Bring it to the Little Screen (Mobile Optimisation)

Four out of five people use their smartphones to shop online. In fact, mobile sales account for over one third of global ecommerce. By adapting your strategy and the usability of your site to accommodate mobile users, you will be able to access this whirlpool of mobile shoppers.

A responsive design will automatically rank higher in search engine result pages, which is an added bonus of going mobile. When we say ‘mobile optimisation’, we aren’t just talking about mobiles. The responsive design must cater to other small screen devices such as tablets and smartphones etc.

A consistent customer experience is essential because over 30% of mobile shoppers abandon a shopping cart if the experience proves to be frustrating, slow or simply not fully optimised. The checkout process must be seamless and simple. Users should be able to purchase from your site just as they would be using a laptop or computer. Alternative payment options will make the experience more pleasing to many users. Some people prefer to shop online with credit cards whilst others prefer to use PayPal. Cater to all possibilities to reach each potential customer.

 

Step 2: Speak to the Individual (User-Focused)

Adopt a user-focused approach. Shoppers aren’t looking for something to suit everyone else. They want something that suits themselves. Speaking to the individual rather than the masses will help to keep your strategies focused and less ‘flimsy’. Connect to your customers on a more personal level and accommodate their shopping experience to reflect their preferences.

According to recent studies, 45% of online shoppers prefer buying from a website that offers them personalised offers. Make your customers feel special and they will reward you for it. So, how is it done effectively without seeming too ‘pushy’?

Tailor content to target the user. This means having dynamic product pages that speaks to the user rather than reading like the back page of an instruction manual. Imagine yourself as the shopper. You’re in need of a brand new handbag but you don’t want just any old handbag, you’re searching for one to take to the beach this summer. So, you come across the perfect product. The images are clear and it all looks perfect until you read over the robotic copy and immediately feel deflated. Personalised product descriptions will generate more interest in the product. Cater to the needs of your customers. If you are selling a beach bag, describe it in a way that will intrigue and entice consumers.

Consider using personalised recommendations to target customers based on location or buying and browsing history. This again is a method of user-focused targeting online and it works exceptionally well. Big ecommerce sites such as Amazon use personalised recommendations throughout the user shopping experience to accumulate even more sales and it works extremely well.

 

Step 3: Bring it Together (Social Customer Experience)

Provide users with a superb customer experience to set your brand apart from your biggest competitors, increase brand loyalty and to encourage customers to return to your site. If you own a small company, customer services should be one of your main priorities. People talk. Stories of disastrous customer service experiences have gone viral in the past. It’s the kind of publicity you definitely DO NOT want to provoke. Treat your customers like they are the most important people in the world and they will be more likely to buy from you.

Social media is an excellent way to establish a consistent brand experience. Many people contact companies via social media channels. It’s a convenient way of communicating with a brand so make sure that you provide fast responses and don’t keep them waiting for too long. Remember that a customer has emotions. You want to solve their problems and do so with courtesy and respect.

Many successful ecommerce sites have embedded a live chat function to allow customers to get in contact whenever they like. The great thing about this is that it provides instant customer service when it is needed most. Communication is important. Listen to your customers and your profit margins will thank you for it!

Our team of digital marketing experts and web design Belfast and web design Newry teams can help with any digital marketing adwords video production social media SEO Belfast Magento PPC Agency Belfast or web design questions you may have.

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E-Commerce Mistakes that can Damage your SEO Efforts

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If you thought that optimising your eCommerce site would be a piece of cake, you’re sadly mistaken. It is much more difficult to optimise an eCommerce website than it is for a simple blog or a 3-page website. Yet that’s not to say that it is impossible to achieve – you just need a helping hand.

E-Commerce websites with a large number of product listings require more attention to detail. This is because of the constant shifting of these products on and off the website. Constant changes such as this, can prove to be problematic with regards to SEO.

So, how can you improve the SEO of your eCommerce site?

The first step is to fix any present errors. To help with this, we have compiled a list of the most common SEO mistakes to AVOID (you can thank us later).

 

Mistake #1 – Using Manufacturer Product Descriptions

Manufacturers distribute product descriptions to online retailers who sell their products. It can be tempting to use the descriptions provided, but this won’t do your site any favours. Upon scanning your website, Google is alerted to the presence of duplicate content. This ensures that your site is dragged down the rankings. It might even get banned altogether from search engines if Google sees fit.

The solution? Create unique and compelling content. Yes, it may take some time, but in the end it will be worth it. A website containing unique product descriptions ranks higher. It’s as simple as that.

In some cases, there may be some products for which you are unable to write unique content for. Reasons for this include products that will be exiting your inventory soon. For products like this, it is better to take them out of search engines altogether. You can do this by putting a ‘No Index’ meta tag on these product pages. If you write unique content for only half of your products, search engines may flag your site as spam. It is better to keep your website as search engine friendly as possible.

 

Mistake #2 –  Missing Product Descriptions

This is a major error across a wide range of eCommerce sites. Pictures is a must, but it is also important to include an adjoining product description. Keep in mind that Google is blind to images. Search engines need content to read and analyse. Without content, your website will be swept under the rug. A product page without any text will not have a chance of reaching anywhere near the top 10 results of a search query.

Use descriptive text when writing product descriptions to increase customers interest in the product. Never copy content from another website. Do this and search engines will penalise you.

 

Mistake #3 – Failing to Optimise based on Keywords

Be aware of your target audience and your keywords. Use keywords that people are searching for. Make sure to include these in your product descriptions, title pages and headlines. The more specific your keywords are, the better. A few tips to better optimise product pages is to use brand names and model numbers. Many shoppers know exactly what brand and item that they wish to buy. Give them what they want and make their shopping experience as convenient as possible.

It is also a common mistake among eCommerce websites to neglect the image alt tag. Try not to forget this little golden nugget which helps search engines to see your images. Another big error is to overload your pages with repetitive keywords. Keep them to a minimum!

 

Mistake #4 – Absence of Keyword friendly URLs

Lack of keyword friendly URLs, otherwise known as “speaking” URLs, is a huge eCommerce mistake. It basically refers to the name of the product being present in the URL address. This is extremely important for SEO. A unique URL helps your pages to stand out. It’s advised to create unique URLs for each of your products. One advantage is that it makes finding your products easier for the customer because the URL tells users what to expect before landing on the associated page. This sets your website apart from the rest and makes it appear more reliable and relevant at the same time. You can also get lucky with keywords and anchor links because the chances of another website picking up on your URL and re-posting it increases.

 

Mistake #5 – Missing Product Reviews

Product reviews make a website more trustworthy and credible. 70% of online shoppers read product reviews before deciding to make a purchase. A website missing product reviews will be quickly replaced with one containing honest and useful insights. By having reviews enabled on your website, it will be much easier for you to climb to the top of search results. Reviews also help to create unique content for your online business and it keeps the product page ALIVE.

 

Don’t let simple mistakes like these stop your eCommerce business from climbing the search results ladder.

Our team of digital marketing experts and web design Belfast and web design Newry teams can help with any digital marketing adwords video production social media SEO Belfast Magento PPC Agency Belfast or web design questions you may have.

Get in Touch!

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Top 3 Common SEO Issues Found in Magento Sites and their Solutions

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If truth be told, Magento isn’t the most SEO friendly e-commerce platform available. This is largely due to its complex codebase, its intricate rewrite engine and its requirement for dynamic content. Despite these apparent drawbacks, Magento still holds the crown as being the strongest and most efficient e-commerce CMS in the digital universe.

However, many people are under the misplaced illusion that the SEO issues related to Magento are unresolvable when in fact, the solution is to work with a SEO company that specialise in Magento.

Ryco Marketing are SEO and Magento specialists. We have attended Magento retailers of all sizes and across every sector, solving any technical SEO issues to ensure flawless results.

Where Magento has setbacks, Ryco has the solutions:

 

DILEMMA #1: Filter URLs  

Filters are present to make the shopping experience much more convenient for users. However, a common issue for multiple Magento websites is having duplicated parameter-based pages whenever these attribute filters are in motion.

This is incredibly frustrating, especially since these filter URLs produce duplicate problems for search engines, which can have a negative effect on a websites SEO performance.

 

SOLUTION:

Google may class pages as separate if the category page content varies whilst filters are live. Tackling this issue works best using the Canonical Tag solution. This tag has been built into the latest editions of Magento and it works by assigning canonical tags within your elements.

This encourages Google to turn a blind eye to the current page and instead directs the search engine towards the master version. Since search engines will view duplicated filter URL’s negatively, it’s best to guarantee that similar patterns are canonicalised to category pages.

 

DILEMMA #2: Multiple Categories containing Same Product

Sometimes online retailers want to show a product under more than one category, which results in two different forms of the product URL. While this may not seem like a very big problem at first, two pages containing the same product manifests duplicated issues that search engines will pick up on.

This a huge disadvantage, especially singe Google is coming down harder on sites that publish repetitive content on multiple pages.

 

SOLUTION:

Set canonical tags to prevent Magento from creating duplicate content. This will allow Google and other popular search engines to choose the most desired version in the mix of similar URL’s for the exact same product. This will subsequently banish any duplicated content issues and allow you to display the same product in as many categories as you please.

 

DILEMMA #3: Sort URLs

Sort URL’s are viewed as duplicates by the major search engines which can be a bit of a nuisance. Sort allows users to organise a page of products based on desired attributes such as price, popularity and those most relevant etc. Magento then reorders the products based on this action and automatically produces a new URL which is affixed with a query string parameter. Google then determines this to be duplication, which is bad news for SEO.

 

SOLUTION:

To solve this problem, you need to ensure that variations of your original URL is not indexed by Google. The easiest way to do this is to use the canonical tag once more which will direct Google to the prioritised page.

 

Seek Professional Assistance

The main reason why online businesses experience Search Engine Optimisation difficulties is due to their immense size. Optimising your Magento site can be difficult for someone who is inexperienced with such matters. Your best option is to seek professional help from a SEO company who knows exactly what they are doing.

 

Get your FREE SEO Audit today.

Call us NOW on:

Newry  :  028 3026 1861  |  Belfast  :  028 9099 8106

 

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10 Best SEO Practices for Ecommerce Websites

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Search engine optimization (SEO) is crucial for eCommerce sites to drive uphill traffic and convert customers. Reaching those precious top positions in search results is something that every eCommerce site should strive to accomplish. The average click-through rate (CTR) of websites ranked on the first page of Google search results is 71.3% with the number one position receiving the highest average CTR of 31.24%.

Your eCommerce website needs to reach high ranking positions (preferably on the first page of search results) in order to see any real changes to traffic and sales.

Here is a list of the top 10 best SEO practices for eCommerce sites.

 

1. Cleanse your Site

Identify current SEO drawbacks by carrying out an all-inclusive audit of your website. Possible SEO issues such as duplicated content, missing tags, redirects and other errors could be present within your script, CSS, images and links, which in turn can pose as a real threat to your website’s performance. Once you have cleansed your website, you can begin to implement a more tactically suitable SEO strategy.

 

2. Research Keywords

Long-tail keywords are favoured by Google algorithms. These are specifically targeted phrases that contain three or more words and are used to attract customers who are more likely to be interested in your products or services. Use this tool to attract quality traffic.

 

3. Original Product Descriptions

Avoid using manufacturers’ product descriptions and instead create unique alternatives. Duplicated content is a major concern for eCommerce sites because it ultimately lessens the value and status of your website.

 

4. Use Social Media

Add social media sharing buttons to your product pages to encourage customers to share and rave about your fantastic services. SMO (social media optimisation) influences Google rankings who look at a highly shared piece of content/web page etc. and attribute its growing popularity as being the result of a relevant and high quality website.

 

5. Optimise Page Loading Times

Boost Google rankings by optimising fast page loading times. 40% of internet users will leave your product page if it fails to load within three seconds. This is particularly true with regards to the mobile version of your eCommerce website because mobile sales are on the steady increase and when people are on the go, they are also in a rush and have no time to wait for slow loading product pages.

 

6. Interesting Metadata

Include your keywords in unique Meta titles and Meta descriptions. Your Metadata must entice your audience and encourage them to click on your website and view your products.

 

7. Easy Navigation

A complicated site structure will drive traffic away from your site. Highly ranked sites are clearly organized and presented in a way that enables visitors to easily navigate, understand and search through your site without any complications or added hassle.

 

8. Quality Product Images

Quality product images and videos are necessary to help customers get a better idea of the products that you are offering. Ensure that each picture is tagged with appropriate metadata to allow them to appear on image-based Google searches.

 

9. Search-Friendly URL’s

URL’s must be optimised for important keywords and titled appropriately to give not only customers valuable information but also to alert Google to the content of your eCommerce page and to showcase its relevancy.

 

10. Mobile Optimisation

A responsive website is crucial. 80% of internet users search online with their mobile phones before searching on their desktops. Google ranks mobile-friendly sites higher than non-responsive sites, so make sure that your eCommerce website provides a great mobile shopping experience.

 

 

 

 

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E-Commerce: Expanding to a Global Market

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Steve Jobs, the CEO of Apple Inc. and Pixar Animation Studios predicted in 1996 that global eCommerce “is going to be HUGE”…and he was right.

Reeling in customers from the other side of the world can be challenging but it can also be the key towards achieving an eCommerce site that EXPLODES with success. Think about sites such as Amazon, EBay and even MAC Cosmetics. These eCommerce sites have successfully broken into the global market and have made millions as a result.

The competitive world of online sales makes up 30% of the UK’s economy, so you can imagine the mass potential that could arise if you were to expand your business internationally. Retail eCommerce sales worldwide are expected to rise to almost £2.5 trillion by 2018.

So how can your business benefit from this enormous growth in global eCommerce?

A solid platform and an effective global business strategy MUST be set in motion. Your international customers need to interact and convert with your business without any hassle or inconvenience. The purchasing process has to be as simple as it is when the consumer makes a purchase from their local online retail stores.

But how can your eCommerce site provide this if it is based on the other side of the world?

LOCALISATION.

Understanding the international market is crucial. The opportunities for success abroad are readily available, but before you dive your business into a new region, appropriate research must be conducted to access the potential demand for your services using various performance indicators. This will help you to govern the need and performance of your business within foreign regions and gauge its success.

Your eCommerce site must be localised to adhere to the specific currency and language of foreign visitors. Think about a foreign buyer stumbling across your eCommerce site. What is their frame of reference as a buyer? Well, they are probably accustomed to seeing their own language on webpages.

What else?

They will expect international delivery services. If you are a UK company expanding into the U.S market, seemingly small dialect and spelling changes such as colour (UK) and color (U.S) plays an important role. Ensure that your website takes into consideration these and other key differences between the UK and international markets and then apply your findings to your global business strategy – TAILOR the experience.

Payment methods also vary in different parts of the world. For example, Germany favours direct debit transfer whilst Spain has seen an increase with PayPal. Cater your payment options accordingly and make sure that your eCommerce provides a range of different payment routes for international customers to choose from.

The importance of currency and rounded numbers plays a keen psychological role with regards to consumers deciding to take action or turn away from a payment. For example, showing an EU visitor a product priced at €34.87 is likely to put them off making the purchase, whereas if you round off this number to €35.00 instead, you have a better chance of encouraging conversions because you have simplified the purchasing process.

Succeeding in a global market has a lot to do with efficient shipping. A special offer or Free Shipping will enable your eCommerce site to remain above the surface in this competitive foreign territory. Import and export laws vary in each country so your business must comply with these before promising a sale and your return policy for international buyers must be both clear and precise.

 

Global eCommerce can help you to reach a much wider audience. E-Commerce is essentially about selling products or services online instead of in person, so remember:

 

If you can’t sell with a smile, sell with a click.

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The Importance of Adopting a Mobile-Friendly E-Commerce Site

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With over 100 billion global online searches carried out each month, it is no surprise that Google and other search engines such as Bing and Yahoo, have amended their algorithms to give better search results for consumers by prioritizing mobile-friendly sites. After all, the vast majority of internet users first begin their search engine explorations via their mobiles, with 80% of users choosing to access the internet using their smartphone rather than a desktop.
But what does this mean for your ecommerce site? Is it time for you to make the switch and develop an effective mobile marketing strategy?
The answer is YES.
Mobiles are an essential part of every-day life and if you cannot reach your audience via mobile, you give up those potential customers to your fierce competitors who ARE able to provide them with a pleasing mobile experience. To put it more accurately, there are currently seven billion people on this earth and 6.8 billion of them own or have access to a mobile phone.
There is vast market potential for businesses who have embraced mobile friendly sites that are both effective and responsive, but in order to take advantage of this mass potential your mobile ecommerce site must enable consumers to both engage and interact with your site.
Google ranks sites that use responsive design solutions higher than those who don’t because responsive designs provide consumers with quicker page loading times, shareable content and a single URL. To guarantee that your website performs optimally on any device, including mobile and tablet, you must implement a responsive web design solution which will drive traffic and provide the ultimate mobile-user experience.
Your mobile site must include the same usability, design, features and content that is available on the desktop version of your site. This is to ensure that both versions are parallel to each other. According to CMO Council, mobile devices will account for at least 87% of the total sales of Internet-enabled technology by 2017, which means that if you want your ecommerce site to succeed you must have it optimized for mobile to enable you to:
Keep up with your customers.
Keep up with your competitors.
Keep up with change.

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E-Commerce: Necessity for Businesses on the Web

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E-commerce is an essential requirement for businesses who wish to broaden their brand via the web in order to increase sales and expand their reach to a wider audience of potential consumers. E-Commerce, otherwise known as electronic commerce, is the term given to an online system that allows businesses to trade through the internet selling their services, goods or information to online customers. Today’s business world is extremely competitive which is why many businesses are benefiting from having an online presence which enables them to reach masses of potential customers from around the globe.

Encourage a ‘Take Action’ Approach

Having an e-commerce site for your company allows you to better connect with your target audience. Your website will showcase your business in the best light, allowing potential customers to understand why they not only want but need your service or product. When a customer decides to buy something, the first step that they usually take is to find it online, hence they end up viewing your website to determine whether or not they want to make a purchase. Having an e-commerce solution will influence customers to take action which will result in an increase of sales.

Expand your Business Brand

One of the most advantageous aspects of having an e-commerce site is being able to extend your reach to not only your target audience, but beyond that. Choosing Rycoweb to design your website will ensure that your brand reaches top Google rankings so that when a potential customer seeks to purchase a specific product or service via the web, your e-commerce site will be one of the first options that they will see. Developing an effective ‘social media strategy’ will also help your brand to grow. By updating your social media accounts with good content, special offer notifications and competitions, it not only raises the company’s profile but encourages traffic to your e-commerce site, resulting in an increase of sales and an expanding consumer base.

Convenient and Less Time Consuming

In today’s busy world, people no longer have the time or the patience to head out shopping after a long day in the office which is why so many customers appreciate the convenience of online shopping. Rycoweb enables businesses to better connect with their consumers because when your business has its own e-commerce website, customers are able to make a purchase with a few simple clicks.This is an extremely efficient solution because payment and sales are completed quickly whilst ensuring customers that their payment information is kept safe and secure.

Cost Effective Solution

In comparison to traditional methods of trade, e-commerce provides the ultimate cost effective solution to all of your business and sales needs. E-commerce marketing has proven to be able to achieve a higher customer to cost ratio because the cost of advertising online is evidently less expensive than marketing via a TV commercial, for example. The long-term advantages of having an e-commerce website for your business is irrefutable, sales will continue to grow as your brand expands to reach a wider audience. E-commerce is the more cost effective solution to allow for online movement between business and customer, permitting the ability to buy and sell goods and services without having to set one foot outside the door.

 

 

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Ecommerce – Gateway To Global Trade Domination

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Doing business online is now accepted as a means of business growth potential on a global scale. Many entrepreneurs are now recognising the value of virtual stores and are convinced that this is where business of the future will be conducted.

The potential is unlimited and with cost effective and credible ecommerce applications, businesses are being taken to an area where they can best flourish. With an enormous catchment of buyers and sellers online you need an ecommerce platform to grow your business and reach out to your potential market. Every conceivable product and service is now available to buy or sell online and ecommerce is the in word and concept. A well designed and built website will help launch your enterprise on a sound platform, and an effective marketing strategy and campaign will assist online growth. To sustain this growth you will have to consider search engine optimisation campaigns which creates awareness of your business and products online. Initially it is essential to ensure that your website build includes integrated SEO modules to give you an immediate boost in the search engine rankings and to put your business on the world map.

Parochial or regional targeting is not a sole option for growing businesses online. You need to open your business to as wide a market as possible in other words the global markets. If you manage to secure sales of 3% for example in a regional area, you can increase this a hundred fold at least by opening up to a more densely populated global market. To achieve this standard of online trading success your ecommerce web design must be fit for purpose, so ensure you have a solution that is professionally designed, coded and marketed before attempting to engage world markets. Language is no longer a barrier to international trading as your ecommerce website can be presented in any language you choose. Security of payment is a highly rated priority for customers so this must be a prime consideration when having all the required features integrated technically in your ecommerce application. Merchant accounts should work smoothly with secure transaction tools and shopping cart reliability. If you have all these integrated facilities and a highly visible website then your ecommerce solution will prove a valuable gateway to global trade domination.

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Ecommerce – Planning For A successful Ecommerce Website Design

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Deja vu is a very useful experience to draw from when planning to design your ecommerce website. The pitfalls are many for the uninitiated and for the entrepreneur looking for a quick fix design set up the mistakes made in haste are humbling and very often irredeemable.

The message to anyone thinking of creating a design for their website is to consider the challenge in terms of (a) finding the right designer to create the desired solution and (b) communicating effectively with that designer so they know exactly what you want and can implement the requisite system to deliver your requirements.

Primarily, finding an empathetic, skilled designer with a proven track record is your first challenge and there are a number of ways to secure the best. You can contact successful ecommerce businesses and ask if they could recommend their designer or design team. Very often the best designers are referred from one customer to another, as long as your business is non threatening in the competitive commerce arena. You basically require a designer who can create a customised system to drive your business. At the point of selecting and commissioning your website designer it is necessary to know exactly what you want them to do for you. Most entrepreneurs will want the designer to create the web design and work through a complete process with continual consultation throughout the project. This eliminates anomalies, buts and maybes and enables the designer to deliver exactly what you want. From initial designs to completed project the key concept is engagement. The more consultation the more successful the outcome and the more economical the process will be. Be careful to select your designer on past results and not necessarily price. You can find affordable designers with flair and integrity who will give you what you want as long as the second challenge is fulfilled. Constant communication between the ecommerce entrepreneur and the website designer will negate any disasters that might otherwise arise in the design process. Designers are not mind readers and can only work with the remit they are given – so the more detailed and precise the design concept is in the planning stages, the more successful will be the outcome. With your feedback your designer can review their designs and provide you with a selection of designs for your consideration. Your final choice can then be made so the design sign off stage of your project is accomplished to your total satisfaction. This pre empts the horror stories you hear about other disastrous website designs.

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Ecommerce – The Advantages

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Ecommerce or Electronic Commerce is the system whereby the consumer can buy or sell goods and services over the Internet and transfer payments or funds through digital media channels. It is undoubtedly one of the most coveted facets of the Internet to have developed over recent years.

Through a network of computers the operative can fulfil a transaction in a matter of minutes from the comfort and convenience of the consumer’s home. With security of payment methods having improved immeasurably in recent times and more on line transactions being conducted more speedily than ever, the customer has increased reassurance of successful outcomes. The virtual business environment that can often be intimidating and off putting has become so user friendly that online transactions are a simple process from start to finish.

Within this process people can carry out business unhindered by the constraints of distance or time. You can log onto the Internet at any convenient time – day or night – and sell or purchase anything your heart desires at the click of a mouse. A very basic working knowledge of keyboard skills and Internet Surfing experience are the basic requisite skills for enabling online shopping or selling. The direct cost-of-sale for an order executed on a website is more economical than traditional methods of paper based retail, as there is no human interaction during the online electronic purchase order process. However, for the customer who may find the virtual world of online trading too impersonal or desires to complete a transaction with the help of a human intermediary, there is normally a Telesales Service to help complete the purchase or sale. This service should be standard with any reputable professional online Ecommerce Business so to avert the possible difficulties that might confront potential customers and to provide the backup service necessary to guarantee successful customer transactions.

A benefit of electronic transactions is eliminating processing errors as well as providing faster transaction times and making the procedure more convenient for the customer.

Ecommerce is also an excellent platform for selling niche products. The customer base may be smaller but in the expansive market place of the Internet even specialist products could generate sufficient volume sales to render the business worthwhile.

Ecommerce has proved that it is the most economical way of doing business and with thoughtful effective SEO campaigns can improve their competitive standing in the market place. Climbing Google Rankings and Increasing Brand Awareness can lead to growth in sales or purchases, so the opportunities of Sustained Growth are greater than traditional marketing methods, which are costly and time consuming.

Ecommerce Businesses benefit from the reduced costs of selling online. Product prices can be checked and maintained at competitive rates without compromising profit margins.

There are many tangible advantages from the Buyer’s point of view including a reduction in the time taken to sort out purchases. Improved decision making is promoted by Ecommerce Business Sites with precise navigation to find the product required and quicker payment gateways to complete transactions and expedite the ordered goods. Unlike conventional buying, less time is wasted on resolving invoice and order mistakes. The customer also has greater opportunities for buying alternative products such is the wider availability of choice on the Internet.

There are also wider benefits to changing to an Ecommerce Business solution. Delivery times can be reduced as can labour costs and expense related to such considerations as preparation of documents and error detection and resolution. Other strategic advantages include savings on mail preparation and telephone bills, staff salaries and overtime and supervision expenses. Business processes are completed with less personnel and in reduced time frames.

With all these savings on Time, Energy and Capital, Ecommerce Enabled Businesses can thrive on suitable E Business Solutions Platforms, offering turnkey quality to Ecommerce Websites.

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Ecommerce – Misinformation On Creating Effective Ecommerce Websites

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There is a plethora of information on the Internet advising how to create effective ecommerce solutions. Such is the amount of advice available that the good gets lost with the bad, and bad practice is encouraged during the process of the ecommerce build.
To avoid the obvious pitfalls or disastrous decisions that might be incorporated in the development of an ecommerce solution it is necessary to remember certain points and dispel the myths.

There is a common belief that you can never provide your customers with too much information. The reality based on consumer testimonials is that simple product information is sufficient and that being overwhelmed can be a purchase turn off. Avoid ambiguity and confusion so as not paralyse potential buyers and present technical data if necessary as separate downloadable documents.

Inspiring consumer confidence in your website requires more than a security badge on your checkout pages. Security online is vital but the objective should be to convince potential buyers of the reliability of your website through effective website written content. In High Street shops cross-selling works very well but does not work effectively online. Checkout protocol online needs to be decisive, focused and fast so the least distractions there are the better. Customers who are bombarded with too many extra choices may find it off putting and may be driven to your competitors’ websites. The lesson is not to litter your checkout with cross-selling products. Another element worth remembering is that your sales success online does not depend on your web design alone. There are equally important factors that make up the full experience such as returns policies, customer services, order fulfilment and dispatch and enquiries handling. It is as important to provide good customer services online as off line especially when it may be the first human interaction in the purchase process for the customer.

The myth that launching and sustaining an ecommerce business is easy needs addressing. It takes business acumen and many other skills to grow the business so do not fall for the premise that a 16 year old can create and sustain an ebusiness.

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Reducing Fraud Risk Through Secure Ecommerce

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If your business accepts credit card payments then you are susceptible to credit card fraud and computer hacking. High Street retail stores and ecommerce businesses acknowledge this danger and have taken measures to address this growing problem.
They have reset their credit card processing systems to integrate secure technologies and protocol that effectively blocks card fraudulence. Though not totally fool proof these protocols have dealt quite successfully with the threat that faced retail businesses, accepting the fact that they practically all use the credit card payment system.
Ecommerce websites are also susceptible to being compromised by fraudsters and hackers and it is imperative that they protect the business and their customers. To do this ecommerce business should ensure they are PC1 compliant with industry best practices for credit card payments. The council governing PC1 security standards are endeavouring to simplify the process of protecting customer information from fraudsters and website hackers. This will regulate PC1 data security standards on ecommerce website software solutions and ensure minimum level of security attributes in database archives on the Server and the physical premises of the Server. Non compliance with PC1 standards can nullify a company’s sanction for processing online transactions. No ecommerce website owner can afford to lose the online transactions of their business. Customer security demands that businesses adopt the appropriate initiatives to stamp out fraudulence and protect their integrity. The outlay of any fines for non compliance would be better spent on a skilled website design team in the first instance.
The problem arising from a hacked ecommerce website is that the fraudsters can validate card numbers with small purchases. Once validated the card can be used at a later date to withdraw large sums of money. These criminals can even convince merchant accounts to credit back funds to a stolen card account. The card holder in this way does not notice the changing account balance in the short term. Another fraudulent practice in ecommerce websites that have been compromised is to replace the payment data. While ecommerce business orders move towards completion criminals can divert payments to their own forged accounts instead of the merchant account. There is always a question of responsibility regarding securing ecommerce websites. Is it the website provider or the payment gateway agency who takes responsibility of credit card transactions? This issue will undoubtedly be resolved in the future with tighter security all round.

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Ecommerce Requirements

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Ecommerce website development has streamlined and smoothed many functions either individually or in an integrated fashion, that in effect has revolutionised online business.
The transfer of money over the Internet in a secure system has enabled shoppers to pay for their purchases with confidence online. The following operations also signal more professional online sales and create a shopping environment where the potential customer can complete a transaction ranging from product choice to payment online and delivery, without any glitches; automated data collection systems, electronic data exchanges; inventory management packages and supply chain management packages.

Internationally people are making transactions on the World Wide Web. Ecommerce businesses are a global phenomenon outreaching the boundaries of geographical and national limitations and open 365 days a year. The reservations you may have about Internet Trading are very often the product of a hastily and randomly created website which like any business without a business plan or marketing strategy will fail before it even begins. A strong business model is necessary to generate and sustain revenue in the ecommerce world. We only have to look at the big successes such as Ebay and Amazon to ascertain the need to have a credible business model to begin with.

It is therefore essential to consider the many facets of developing an ecommerce business. Building an effective website to sell products or services requires primarily a good business plan and then a Technically Cohesive Solution that integrates all areas of the online business model to provide the customer with a happy shopping experience. The system needs to be good enough to secure customer loyalty so they return for repeat purchases. Ensuring positive outcomes on any ecommerce website requires strong market research and effective marketing strategies, supported by a professional management and technical team. Providing complete information about products and services is paramount as is a common sharing of the information by customers, business associates, suppliers and shipping agents.

Technically the website system should be secure in every facet; it should also be reliable and stable and capable of responding speedily to new technical advances, as well as social and economic changes and innovation.

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Top Tips To Ensure Maximum Performance For Your Ecommerce Solutions

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If you have done your research and can pinpoint times when your business online is most busy, then you can take corrective steps to ensure optimum performance at these pressure sales times. It may be that coming up to the holiday seasons, both Winter and Summer, your website can avail of a facelift appeal and more importantly ensure your online store works seamlessly for your customers. There are a number of elements you should check out to effect optimum sales.
As online merchants face a shopping deluge the weakest point will be emphasised. To pre-empt this situation test your ecommerce application for maximum traffic and the fastest loading times it can cope with. It is imperative to provide a bandwith that is sufficient so your online business does not depend entirely on your server. The most efficient online stores must be open 24/7 with customer service always available.

Your website design should not only provide attractive images of the products being sold but also fast downloading times. Ensure you have categories for age, interests and gender and highlight the discounts and special offers, such as free shipping. You want to entice your potential customers to not only browse but to engage, stay on your site and make a transaction. Any tweaks you make must sustain your customers interest sufficiently and provide the smooth transition from product order to payment online.

There are a variety of reasons why customers abandon the shopping cart and quit shopping midway on an ecommerce store. These can be addressed and corrected to avoid customer loss. To reduce the likelihood of this you should ensure that the processes in the purchase chain are flawless and easily navigable. Such details as shipping schedules, cut off dates, ordering deadlines, product page information, product availability and pricing should be double checked and working smoothly. The other big issue of course is the payment methods and policies that are available to the online shopper.

Taken in the round all these elements are inextricably related to your website design which ties in with your hosting process. Your shopping cart is enmeshed with your ecommerce merchant account features and it is at this point that your customer is looking for alternative payment methods other than credit card. It behoves the online entrepreneur to make sure that the payment processing method is secure and not susceptible to online fraud.

These pointers are worth bearing in mind and enacting to ensure a smooth ecommerce shopping experience for the potential customer.

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Ecommerce Getting the Best Out of Your Ecommerce Website

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To get the best out of your ecommerce web solution, “it must do as it says on the tin” – to coin a cliche. The internet world of buying and selling online is changing and developing exponentially over recent times. There is a world of difference between running an ecommerce business and making it successful. An ecommerce website that is not strategically designed and operated will experience little advantage in trading in a cyber environment.

If you are serious about operating a professional, powerful captivating and effective ecommerce website then you need a solution that has all the essential ingredients to provide the desired outcomes. There are a number of aspects that you must integrate into a successful solution to give you a return on investment.

 

Your ecommerce website design must not only appeal visually to your potential customers but must provide the navigation and layout that takes the purchaser quickly with ease from the ordering stage to the payment check out stage. It is therefore imperative that you commission the best designer possible to create this platform – you will literally get what you pay for so research this area before making any decisions and select the best at the most affordable price. It is essential that the designer is conversant with market trends so that your website can be designed according to the market standards expected by your potential customers online. Careful planning and execution of the design elements will give you the desired return on investment.

 

Another feature that is of paramount importance in giving your website that credibility and reliability that instils confidence in your customer is your choice of web hosting. It must be secure and you can research this side of your hosting very easily to acquire the best hosting provider available. Your online shop should be accessible from anywhere in the world, with integrated features such as fast internet speeds, good uptime and responsive customer supports. Only consider a web hosting package that can offer all these traits.

 

Implement an advanced shopping cart software integration that provides good product displays, dependable payment gateway solutions, reliable and fast admin. support with add-on benefits. These features are an essential part of an effective ecommerce solutions and must be in place to effect smooth purchase processes and transactions.

 

The other area requiring indepth attention is your website marketing. If your online store cannot be seen or found easily then business will simply pass you by. Customers have to be aware of your availability in the market and an effective marketing strategy to highlight this is ‘de rigueur’. Again choose the right ecommerce design company to integrate all this software into a lean selling machine. To disregard any essential aspect of creating an effective ecommerce website will be at your peril!

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Ecommerce Defining an Ecommerce Consultant

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A consultant is normally someone who is expert in their field or speciality and becomes a professional adviser to those who require their expert or specialised skills and help. In the world of ecommerce the same applies and for those unacquainted with the technical and business know how of setting up and maintaining an ecommerce website, they are an indispensable assistance.
All too often entrepreneurs try to go it alone with ecommerce and the savings on spend they think they are making becomes a total loss due to their lack of specialist knowledge and skills surrounding the development and operation of an ecommerce website. If you recognise the need to consult someone at the development stage you will ultimately save money by avoiding costly mistakes that will certainly detract from your business’ profitability and success.

 

Experience is an essential element in creating a successful platform and choosing a credible consultant can prove a financial saving in the long term. We can quantify the advantages of using an ecommerce consultant. Their experience avoids mistakes you might have made yourself if you had gone it alone. Their knowledge can make your site successful as they have helped others before. They know what to implement to create success. They can help you navigate the stormy seas of being an internet entrepreneur and they will help you to market your ecommerce website so to drive in traffic that will provide an almost instant profit. They have the skills to ensure time saving features to make your business more efficient.

 

The money you lay out on an ecommerce consultant will make you money in the long term, so it is a positive decision to seek this help. If you desire the gold standard then a consultant of this standing will be expensive but you must give your ecommerce business the best chance possible to grow, succeed and become profitable.

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Ecommerce Evolution

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What began as a highly competitive ecommerce sphere has evolved into an arena where ecommerce software providers are providing the complete package for aspiring online entrepreneurs to establish Internet e businesses. They bundle their software to incorporate all the needs of the website from Home Page, Products to shopping carts and marketing services. For many entrepreneurs online there was a steep learning curve in the beginning – coming to terms with a market that knows no regional limitations.

Information availability increased exponentially for a few years and then at a much faster rate until by 2010, with increased broadband speeds and download times, deployment of second generation websites is now necessary to provide a more professional customer experience.

The online entrepreneur’s primary need remains a credible online presence that meets the demands of an increasingly educated, aware online consumer base. The ingredients of a good effective site were historically an effective design, a user friendly shopping cart, the appropriate products, a successful SEO and a cost per click marketing campaign. The service providers required to help the Internet entrepreneur make money were also profiting from their skill areas of ecommerce coding, web development and web marketing. Since its inception the Internet rose like the ‘phoenix from the ashes’ and the technology has developed at a mind boggling rate. However it has not been a successful vision for many budding ecommerce businesses, due to many factors including failure to plan properly or complete lack of vision in the first place. A lot of web mavericks have jumped on the bandwagon and impressionable entrepreneurs have in many cases opted for the cheap web application which does not “do what it says on the tin”. A lot of frustration and bewilderment has grown amongst those unsuccessful online business that took advice from ill chosen web developers who could not deliver on their promises.

With too many people doing the same thing the competition can be financially suffocating. Choices made during the crucial growing stage of a ecommerce business will be the decisive factor in their ability to jump to the next level or drown. Some investment is necessary in up to date web applications to maintain their credibility and sustain their growth. Business acumen and experience are just as important as the technical know how in creating successful online ecommerce businesses. For those ecommerce combatants who continue to survive and prosper the interest is now in the new breed of ecommerce providers who offer complete services – hosting, design, stock control software, shopping cart, product category and range management software, analytics, SEO marketing, SSL certificates at an affordable price. Again the overriding factor is finding ecommerce providers who have a proven tract record of fulfilling their promises – at the end of the day cheap is not always cheerful – you will get what you pay for.

There are a number of reputable ecommerce companies who will deliver on their promises and it behoves any aspiring online business to choose their system provider with care, having done their homework in advance. There is a bright future for ecommerce businesses who are savvy enough to make the smart choices that guarantee successful outcomes.

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Ecommerce (Online Sales)

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Try to quantify global sales and the statistical analysis becomes difficult if not impossible. The variables governing the results are so prone to change that daily, weekly or monthly data analysis can reveal ever changing quantities, based on the most prevalent factors and figures at any given point of time.

Ecommerce has become the lightning conductor in dictating expanding global trade. Online sales have increased exponentially over recent years and continue to outgrow all other retail and wholesale sales right across the economic spectrum. The shrewd entrepreneur has not only initiated an ecommerce website to up sell their products but has implemented a second generation ecommerce application to enhance the customer experience and improve online sales. The success of ecommerce marketing and sales is clear to all who browse the Internet and take time to look at Google or other search engine rankings.

 

Those companies who have embraced effective search engine optimisation campaigns over a period of time are reaping the rewards with high ranking places in the top pages. Consequently we find that these are the companies that outperform their competitors, in the sales arena and are continuing to grow their sales year on year. Having an awareness and appreciation of the growing trend towards ecommerce business, is the launch platform for future entrepreneurial success through ecommerce application.

 

Ecommerce has revolutionised the way in which people buy and sell products. What historically was a High Street transaction has become a purchase or sale over the Internet. With the establishment of such sales websites as E Bay and Amazon, the general public have been drawn into the intrigue of trading in a cyber environment that operates in real time and has replaced the cyber virtual world.

 

In plain terms, almost any transaction involving buying or selling goods or products is possible on the Internet and with the evolution of payment gateways, a complete service stretching from purchase to delivery is available to any customer. There are no restrictions on the types of business that can avail of ecommerce trading and while the larger ecommerce operators are the retail/wholesale conglomerates the independent trader has proven that ecommerce trading outperforms the traditional Sales methods of across the counter sales.

 

The concept opens up a world of global trade encompassing every industry, from the cottage to the multinational. Some operatives have actually abandoned the traditional High Street sales pitch for the online sales of ecommerce. This burgeoning industry not only provides the trader with video market access but provides many useful services for the business such as providing data for market research, attracting traffic for ecommerce store fronts and performing market research for online ordering and delivery systems. There are even integrated software packages to control stock levels and ordering systems.

 

Ecommerce business also introduces new media channels, such as VOIP telephone systems, video streaming, online marketing and brand awareness. These all contribute to making online business successful. Ecommerce offers the customer a one stop shop. You can browse, pick, order and pay for your purchase without leaving your armchair. It will even be delivered to your doorstep with a clearly defined returns and exchange policy to complete the transaction and reassure the potential customer. Ecommerce systems are ‘de rigueur’ the platform to increasing your sales.

 

Globalisation demands that companies wishing to outperform their competitors must embrace these latest technologies to sustain growth and survival in the commercial world.

 

Wider audiences create wider demand for your products and services and you ignore at your peril the role of ecommerce business solution providers, whose systems dictate the real success of your online ecommerce business application. Bespoke packages are the driving force behind user friendly, effective website applications. These can range from simple brochure sites to high-end database driven applications. The future of online trading in products and services is undoubtedly ecommerce.

 

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Ecommerce – Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail

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Opening any type of business requires a business plan and failing to do a plan will most often see the demise of the business before it gets started. The same principle applies to starting an ecommerce business, where the most overlooked process is planning.

 

The success of your ecommerce business can be defined in terms of proper planning, target setting and market research. Unfortunately many online e-commerce businesses, eager to get going without any real thought or consideration fail to deliver and end up on the refuse heap. When stepping into the arena of e-commerce there are many pitfalls awaiting the uninitiated. It is often a two edged sword.

 

A beautiful website can fail as a sales tool if the business side is neglected. No matter how dynamic technically an ecommerce website is, if not designed in tandem with sound business principles, it will flounder. The risk of a virtual loss as opposed to a bricks and mortar loss may be more tolerable but no one starts a business with the premise that it will fail. If you have a niche product that is competitively priced why would it not sell? Failing to answer this question suggests that they do not have the basics of business planning. Without understanding the challenge of e-commerce business you cannot plan for the predictable let alone the unpredictable ahead.

 

To plan for an ecommerce business you must start with the end in mind. You need to set acceptable profit targets based realistically on what is possible. Establish a competitive selling price for your products. Converting visits to your site to sales depends a lot on how the customer gets to your site. If the search terms on which your site rankings are based, are closely connected to the products or services being sold, your conversion rate will likely be higher. In creating a conversion rate keep to a conservatively low number so you can work out how many visits are needed on your site to meet revenue targets. Your task is how to achieve the required number of visitors to use your products or services in order to meet your planned revenue targets. You are now planning to succeed rather than fail – you have to implement the required measures on your website to attract the requisite footfall and transactions for a profitable outcome.

 

It is also necessary to budget for an on-going search engine optimisation plan. Without an effective SEO campaign your website development spend will probably be in vain. If you build SEO into the marketing plan of your ecommerce site your online business should be profitable and predictable.