By 2004 Forrester Research, Inc. estimates that business-to-business commerce on web will hit $2.7 trillion. It's true that web can be a highly profitable venture, but without careful planning, your business may flounder before it ever makes money. Following these seven steps can help you plan a cohesive strategy before you sell your first product.
Identify Your Internet Business- Ask yourself why customers would come to your web site. Is it an extension of your bricks and mortar store? Or will it be a stand-alone operation? What can you provide that no one else can? Of what value is your site to customers? Even if you don't sell online, you need to answer these questions. Customers don't always come to a web site to buy products. Sometimes they come for information. Tell them about products you sell, give them your store hours and phone number, provide a map so they can find your shop. Even though you haven't sold them anything, you've given them value. Customers will come back to your site if you provide value.
Create a well designed, easy-to-use, fast, and functional web site- Your web site should have a clean, straightforward design. Customers don't like busy, cluttered web sites. A customer should be able to find a product in two mouse clicks. Any more and they feel like they're being led through a maze. Or worse, they may lose interest and leave.
Keep graphics and text simple and small. Animation and sound files can be interesting, but don't force customers to view these items in order to buy a product.
There are many options for managing orders. The most popular way to manage orders is through shopping cart technology. The customer goes through site and picks items s/he wants to buy. At check out, s/he fills in billing details and purchases items. Building a shopping cart requires programming knowledge or a software package that can manage behind scenes work.
Can customers pay online with a credit card? They increasingly like convenience of this. The order is placed quickly and they receive an instant confirmation receipt. However, your store must be enabled to accept online credit card purchases. This requires both a merchant account that accepts online orders and an electronic gateway that facilitates transaction.
Select right domain name- A domain name is an extension of your store. It is first thing people learn about store, so name should be relevant to business. If you own a store or a brand name, this should be domain name as well. Many single words have been registered as domains already. New domain names can be up to 67 characters long, so choose a combination of words that describes your store.