Thursday, 29 July 2010

How to Apply eCommerce Best Practice

What is E-Commerce?E-Commerce or Electronic Commerce is the process of selling and buying goods and services online. It is a billion dollar industry with endless online store owners and online buyers. E-commerce has gained popularity today than ever before, and is here to stay. The big advantage of e-commerce is that it is advantageous to both the seller as well as the buyer. The state of not needing to step out of the comforts of your chair, the option of not having to deal with crowded customers with almost everyone leading a busy life, as well as having the opportunity to review and shop anytime, be it midnight or whenever the mood strikes is what drives customers to buy online. Sites like PriceGrabber and Froogle make it even more convenient to shop online by giving you the best deals - by sifting through hundreds of sellers for you.
On the other side, E-commerce also greatly benefits the sellers too. The main benefit of having an ecommerce store for online selling is its cost-effectiveness; the amount of investment it takes is quite less as compared to a brick and mortar store.

E-commerce includes retail shopping, banking, stocks and bonds trading, teleconferencing, auctions, real estate transactions, airline booking, electronic tickets, B2B, B2C - almost everything you can do in the real world.

How to apply eCommerce Best Practice

On a poll conducted about best e-commerce practices, ease of use was the most common reason cited for choosing an online shopping site. Other factors like online store usability and eCommerce shopping cart usability are also important factors for all online sellers.

On-site search: This is the core/basis of most online activity. Improving on-site search is clearly one of the best practices in e-commerce today. If the customer can't find the product, there is no way he could buy. Descriptive searches and misspelled words should be avoided as well.

Category-Refinement: Within the on-site search button, it is very useful adding a category-refinement, so that shoppers don't have to go to another page for their search, and can have the detailed information on one single page. It is also a great way to display the category offerings and show visitors which categories they can shop within.

Page headers: Product copy like text headings and descriptions are important aspects of usability for both shoppers and search engines. Researchers have said that a Westerner reader's eyes tend to move from the upper-left corner of the screen to the lower-right corner. So understanding the audience, putting the most important information like the logo, heading etc in or near the upper-left corner is a good practice.

Fresh content and catalogue:
Promotional activities and emails are the factors pulling customers to your site. Make sure that something changes all the time. Regularly change the theme, lay-out, create extra views and regular updates.

No Registration compulsion:
Allow shoppers adding items to their carts before registering up for an account. It is very common to see lots of ecommerce sites refusing shoppers to add items to their cart before signing up for an account. This can really put shoppers off as they need to take an extra step in the buying process. Once they have selected the products they want, they will be more than willing to sign up to get the products they have chosen.

Check-out Pricing: Do not wait till the checkout button to show the price of the item, amount/quantity saved or any other applicable shipping or VAT. Be transparent and have these details shown all through the process.


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