When setting up an online shop there are many different things you have to consider. The first few choices that you make at the beginning of your venture could have a lasting impact on your future as an online merchant. Among the many tasks that you will have to complete is the research into and the purchase of a shopping software sliution for your business. There are so many options out there, and I can help you to recognise the 20 most important features that you should consider when making your decision.
- 1. You need to make sure that the software can handle a detailed search and description of your items.
- 2. Pictures of your products are also essential in most industries.
- 3. You will also need to make sure that the database can keep up to date with stock availability and illustrate this to the customer in real time.
- 4. You want a detailed level of feedback from your software program with reports regarding traffic, inventory and sales figures.
- 5. The best software will also include an order management system and will keep this updated in real time.
- 6. Hosting and website building software is normally included with the best packages these days, and if you still don’t have a website then these are essential items.
- 7. You need to make sure that your shopping software allows payment by as many methods as possible, as payment flexibility is a key issue.
- 8. Some software will also be able to adapt to location and include the relevant debit cards that may be available in specific areas.
- 9. Credit cards can either be processed in real time or not, and this should definitely be a consideration of yours when making your choice.
- 10. It is essential that you take the time to look into how a piece of software deals with security issues and what kind of fraud protection tolis it has on board.
- 11. Another consideration if you are an international business is whether the software can be localised to a specific region and include the appropriate taxes and currency conversions.
- 12. Some software has an up-sell feature to try and increase your sales, you may or may not want this feature depending on your business model.
- 13. The possibility of remembering your customers through cookie tracking or other methods is also offered by some sliutions and is definitely worth thinking about. Marketing is very important, and some software include these functions which are worth your consideration;
- 14-18. affiliate programs, email tolis, search engine submission, optimisation and gift codes – otherwise known as voucher codes or discount codes – are all part of the many marketing considerations for you to make.
- 19. Then of course there is the price, definitely worthy of your consideration. Does a package charge a one off setup fee or does it work through a recurring monthly price structure.
- 20. Last but not least, I would advise you to find a piece of software that is well designed and has a great user interface, if you can navigate around a package well then your visitors are probably able to as well.
Competing with the “big guys”
There might be 1000 web sites or more just like yours on the internet. So how do you compete? The “big guys” dominate the search engines, and you might find it hard to get into the first 20 pages. Many internet users won’t look beyond the first page of the internet search, almost none look beyond the second or third Pages. Again, how do you compete? By knowing something that the “big guys” don’t. Enter the long tail.
Most Searches are Unique
More the 70% of searches performed on a search engine are unique, meaning that the query has seldom or never been used as a search term. It seems as though most searches would be more alike than not. Well in fact, they are. It’s how the search is worded that makes it unique. The 30% of searches that are not unique includes most of what makes up a typical SEO’s keyword and key
phrase list. If you run a website that sells used books, it might make sense to target the key phrase such as “used books”. It is true that good search engine standings for the key phrase “used books” make sense if what you are selling is used books.. Why stop there?