THE OFF SIDE OF ONLINE RETAILWritten by John Ginsberg
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1.Build trust - clearly a forgotten aspect of commerce, whether online or off. Since online retailers operate in an untrusted environment, their number one priority is to build trust amongst customers. 2.Cater for browser and buyer - for those who know what they want, help them to find it with ease. Offer a search facility and a call center number in case they can't find an item. For those who just want to browse around, give them a convenient starting point and guide them through a tour of your various departments. 3.Save customer profiles - many customers will return twice or even three times before making a purchasing decision. Allow them to save a profile up front which they can recall when returning. Don't ask for personal details until they are ready to buy. 4.Follow up - comparison shopping has never been easier, so make sure your site stands out from rest. Once a customer has saved a profile, send them an e-mail reminding them about their selection. And because shoppers tend to visit many web sites at a time, you'll need to constantly remind them of your web site address. Don't forget to include URL of your site in all e-mail correspondence. Be careful not to overdo it though, because it could be considered spam.
John Ginsberg is a senior consultant for Net Brothers, a leading Internet strategy consulting firm based in South Africa. He is also the editor of EyeBiz Magazine, an Internet strategy and marketing publication. To subscribe, send an e-mail to email@example.com.
Helping Merchant Accounts and Checking Accounts PlayHelping Merchant Accounts and Checking Accounts Play Nicely TogetherWritten by Karen LaVoy
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Letís presume that youíve accepted my astute advice and opened a business account for My Great Company. Next on your to-do list is registering your domain name. Now you find that your company name is not available as a domain name- someone else has already snapped it up. No t to worry! You can register a name related in some way to your company - maybe something like www.mycoolproduct.com. Remember how name on your checking account will be name on your merchant account? Banks like to see web site name match merchant account name. If your domain name, www.mycoolproduct.com doesnít match your account name of My Great Company, all you need to do is add that statement to your order form or shopping cart: Your credit card will be charged by My Great Company.
If your domain name is different from your company name, you can create awareness by splashing your company name all over your site. Of course it will be on home page, but including your company name on every page of your web site encourages your customers to remember you.
So make life easy for yourself and simplify tasks on your to-do list. When youíre deciding on your company name, see if itís available as a domain name. You can check to see if itís available here: http://www.aiswebhosting.com/regdomain.htm?co1866xhome . Once you find a domain name you want to keep, register it before someone else finds it! You can then open your checking account and merchant account when youíre ready.
Karen LaVoy, eBusiness Consultant for AIS Media, writes on topics important to small business owners. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org with your concerns about establishing your online business. AIS Media, www.aismedia.com, provides web design, web hosting, and e-commerce.