The E-ABCs of CyberMerchandising!

Written by Bob Apperson

Shopping onrepparttar Internet isrepparttar 109093 wave ofrepparttar 109094 future! Everything we knew about conventional marketing inrepparttar 109095 past has been turned on its head. The Internet has a personality of its own and you better learnrepparttar 109096 ins and outs if you're going to succeed. The Internet is self-contained. It is its own advertising medium. It is where you buy and sell. It is where you communicate. Everything is electronic. And it is only a click or two away at any given time!

Run your web site in a businesslike manner. Remember that people are still leery about making purchases with a faceless and sometimes nameless entity. When you walk into a store you actually see a person, know how to find that person if something goes wrong, and usually see some type of reassuring information that gives comfort such as a Better Business Bureau sign. Most web sites are a study in anonymity. It's hard to find a real person's name or even a business name. Mailing addresses are kept a secret. E-mail correspondence is done by auto-responders. You look at a cold computer screen and get a chilly reception. Imagine asking someone to give you their credit card information, their home address and phone number, and other pertinent data and never telling them who you are and where you can be located if a problem arises! WOW. A bit presumptuous, don't you think? It is very important to make your site a comfortable and easy place to do business.

First, you are faceless torepparttar 109097 shopper andrepparttar 109098 shopper is faceless to you! In fact, you usually don't know who came and went. To overcome this, giverepparttar 109099 visitor every opportunity to contact you by e-mail or phone. One ofrepparttar 109100 most effective ways is to go to exis/swlib/hotfiles/info.html?fcode=0015H 0, get a free HumanClick chat program and install one on every page on your site where questions or problems might arise. If you are online you can answer immediately. If not,repparttar 109101 potential customer can send an e-mail message for you to answer when you do go online. This gives you online presence even when you aren't there!

Next, consider your site as a store or office. Make sure that your products and services are easy to find. Think ofrepparttar 109102 aisles of a grocery store. If you haven't been frustrated in a badly laid-out grocery store you are truly unique! After you set up your hyperlinks in an orderly fashion, you must furnish clear explanations of what you are offering and how to makerepparttar 109103 purchase. I ran an advertising agency for many years and lived by a simple rule. That rule still holds true. Tellrepparttar 109104 readerrepparttar 109105 features and explainrepparttar 109106 benefits. A potential customer wants a simple question answered…what is it going to do for me? Then you must justifyrepparttar 109107 cost. If you do a good job definingrepparttar 109108 features and benefits,repparttar 109109 price should be easy to justify.


Written by Thomas Harpointner

If you plan on cashing in onrepparttar e-commerce revolution,repparttar 109092 question is no longer whether or not you should accept credit cards and checks on your web site. The question now is how to set up a successful e-commerce solution that fits both your business model and your budget.

Here are some statistics you should be aware of: According to Nua Internet Surveys, as of January 2000, there are approximately 248.6 million people online worldwide.

CREDIT CARD USE DOUBLES IN YEAR Dec 3, 1999: Twice as many US adults used credit cards to buy products and services online in 1999 than did in 1998, according to new research from Cyber Dialogue.

INTERNET ECONOMY WORTH $1 TRILLION IN 2001 Nov 4, 1999: The Internet economy will be worth $1 trillion byrepparttar 109093 end of 2001 and $2.8 trillion byrepparttar 109094 end of 2003.

BUSINESS-TO-BUSINESS E-COMMERCE TO SOAR Business-to-business e-commerce will show blistering growth inrepparttar 109095 coming years, withrepparttar 109096 worldwide market expected to expand to $7.29 trillion by 2004, more than 50 times larger than in 1999, states a market research company. (TechWeb)

When you take these facts and figures into consideration, it's no surprise that more and more entrepreneurs and businesses are feverishly rushing to establish e-commerce web sites.

Onrepparttar 109097 surface,repparttar 109098 concept is very simple: You set up a web hosting account with a web hosting company; you create an appealing site that sells your products or services; and you get a credit card merchant account so you can accept credit cards.

But there is more to enabling an e-commerce web site. There is a lot of uncommon knowledge regardingrepparttar 109099 establishment and operation of a successful e-commerce web site, which makesrepparttar 109100 difference between your site becoming a success or thousands of dollars wasted and hundreds of hours of pain-staking trial and error.

SIX DEADLY E-COMMERCE SINS I have outlined belowrepparttar 109101 six deadly sins that can derail an otherwise simple process of enabling an e-commerce web site.

1.Merchant account does not support e-commerce or AVS If your merchant account is not compatible with Internet processing systems, you will need to manually enter transactions and even risk losing your account due to bank regulations. AVS (Address Verification System) is required by VISA and it is a system that matches address criteria onrepparttar 109102 cardholder's statement to reduce chargebacks. If AVS is not used, you can be charged up to 3.75% or more per transaction and leave yourself open to chargebacks. If you incur a chargeback rate higher than 3%,repparttar 109103 bank may terminate your merchant privileges. Once you are listed as a terminated merchant, getting another credit card merchant account is virtually impossible. Be sure your processing solution uses AVS and that your merchant account is set up for Internet processing.

2.Processing solution does not support real-time processing Processing solutions that do not work in real-time can wreak havoc on your growth and marketing efforts. Spending time entering every order manually can literally cost you more thanrepparttar 109104 order is worth. Also, when Internet orders are not processed in real-time, you won't know if a credit card is valid until you manually process it, at which point you will need to personally contactrepparttar 109105 card holder. This can turn into a time consuming and costly process, especially ifrepparttar 109106 customer lives overseas.

Of allrepparttar 109107 credit card orders processed by our office, about 7% are invalid or declinedrepparttar 109108 first time. Fortunately, since we utilize a real-time processing system,repparttar 109109 customer is able to re-enter his/her credit card number or use a different card.

Additionally, AVS is not typically used or available with manual systems, thus boosting your transaction discount rate to a whopping 3.75% on every dollar!

3.ISP or hosting company does not support particular processing solution or shopping cart Often, a web host does not support a certain shopping cart. In addition, not all shopping carts work with all credit card processing solutions. Furthermore, if you're working with a different vendor for each service, you're vulnerable to customer service nightmares. Few things are worse for an online business than not being able to get fast answers to common questions or problems. You can save yourself a bundle of frustration by working with a company that can provide one-stop service for your web hosting, shopping cart, and e-commerce needs.

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