by Jim Martin
Thinking of entering e-commerce? The time is right. U.S. online retail sales are expected to grow 57 percent by 2018. Here are some tips you can use to start selling online:
Brand Your Store With a Domain Name. One of the easiest (but most critical) ways to brand your business online is to register the right domain name. You want a memorable Web address to market your store and promote your brand. Additionally, your customers can easily use that Web address to find you - even if you need to change e-commerce providers down the line. A little known secret, if you’re plan to sell within an e-commerce platform like Amazon, eBay, Shopify or Etsy, is that you can choose the Web address your domain name points to, to point customers to your online store directly. Keep in mind that your domain name should be memorable and descriptive of your business in order to stand out from the competition. A domain name that contains your location, includes popular search keywords, or creatively highlights certain aspects of your business may be the most successful in getting customer attention.
Choose the Right e-Commerce Solution. Do you want a store on your own website or do you want to sell within an existing marketplace platform (e.g. Amazon)? Are you selling just one product or do you need a more complex shopping cart? Answering these questions will help you choose from a number of available solutions. Consider the options. A hosted provider like Shopify or Bigcommerce lets you create a store that resides on their servers for a monthly fee. They all offer several budget options. If you already have a website, your hosting provider may offer e-commerce packages that will upgrade your website so you can sell products online. Or you can choose to add e-commerce tools, such as Opencart, to transform your existing website into an online store. You can also create a store using an existing online marketplace like Etsy, Amazon or eBay. Benefits often include a quick and easy set-up for a low-budget Web presence, and a built-in base of potential customers.
Make the Shopping Experience Easy. Write product descriptions and take photos. Web customers can’t touch or try on your product. Help them purchase with a comprehensive description. It’s important to provide as much information as you can, like weights and measurements, along with quality, high resolution images. Don’t forget aboutmobile shoppers: consumers shop more frequently with mobile devices. An option to make your website mobile-friendly will be worth the investment. You can also obtain additional search engine optimization benefits with a mobile site.
Create a Trusted Shopping Experience. Clearly state store policies, including shipping times, shipping costs and return or exchange policies. Implement security measures: one critical tool is an SSL (Secure Socket Layer) certificate which encrypts parts of your website that collect personal information, like credit card and customer details. Having an SSL certificate not only helps to keep your customers safe from hackers and identity thieves, but also gives your business credibility.
We’d like to thank Verisign for these comments. A global leader in domain names for more than 15 years, Verisign has operated the infrastructure for a portfolio of top-level domains that today includes .com, .net, .tv, .cc, .name, .jobs, .edu and .gov, as well as two of the world’s 13 Internet root servers. To learn more visit VerisignInc.com.