Selling online is a great subject to write about as it is constantly changing and evolving. Each month new start-up businesses bring in new ideas. There are lots of opportunities to improve your online business for B2B or B2C.
If you have any questions about eCommerce try our FAQs and Ideas Center or just send us a comment or email.
Wanted to share a few of the podcasts that I’m listening to/find interesting at the moment.
I’ve always loved the podcast format, as you can consume information, tips or stories in easily digestible chunks while leaving your hands free for other things. Whether it be your daily commute, an hour at the gym or your daily picking and packing time, I’ve always found a podcast to be a good way to add a layer of additional productivity to your "free" time.
Listed below are a few podcasts that contain interesting information, tips and tricks for online retailers, as well as a few random ones that I’m listening to at the moment in case you are looking for something else to fill some time.
All of these are available via iTunes if you search for the names below (as well as from their own sites as linked).
Please be advised that between the hours of 10:00 PM on Thursday 2nd February and 4:00AM Friday 3rd February (AEST) eCorner will be carrying out an update of our mass-hosted environment (all cloud-based online shops). The purpose of the upgrade is to update the core ePages software (to 6.17.52). During that time your website and adminstration systems will not be available.
The upgrade will be predominately for maintenance with a variety of fixes and improvements. These are aimed at creating a more stable, secure and faster system. However there are new features and services that will be added after the upgrade is complete.
The deductions available for the costs you in incur setting up a website have long been a point of speculation, as the general principles available in Australian tax law were mostly invented before the internet was as prevalent or pervasive as it is now (or in some cases long before the internet existed at all).
On 14 December 2016 the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has published their views on the topic in a public ruling titled: TR 2016/3: Income tax: deductibility of expenditure on a commercial website.
Through this ruling the Commissioner seeks to clarify the ATO’s expectations in relation to the treatment of expenditure incurred by a business in relation to its online presence. However, does it actually make commercial and practical sense?
You can get an online store up and running in 12 days!
There are some definite and important steps to get an online store or business started but it takes a little time. If you are a website or eCommerce novice then don't expect to work it out in the first five minutes. To be successful and build a good online presence needs time and some planning. An online business is still a business. You need to manage your business and when selling online that means managing your online store, products and content. You have to connect to other systems and channels to promote your products, organise shipping and to take payments for your products. It is not that difficult but for a new starter it can be a challenge. eCorner's role is to help with the challenging technical issues and provide you with an online shop that sells your products and sevices successfully.
Start a free trial online store and you will learn what it takes to sell online and how to use a hosted ecommerce solution. But the best news is that it gives you 30 days to setup your online free of charge. When you are ready to launch just let us know and we convert your trial store ot a real online store for your business.
Before you start thinking about software and hosting, there are some basic requirements that need to be met. If you do a little planning and think about the business structure it can save you heaps of time later.
Read more about this topic - Establish the basics.
It is important to get the right online store system for your business and that is eCorner's speciality. We recommend starting a free trial and getting a feel for the system. The good part it's free and what you do in the trial can be kept and converted to a live store so it is like getting the first 30 days free. Plan a couple of days to start and ask for our free training.
Read more - Select an online store system.
Your eCommerce package comes with a range of themes that you can use ‘out-of-the-box’. You can fully customise your theme or you can use one of our complete custom themes to help you get started. You can find lots or great information about our themes and deign on our website. Don't be afraid to start with something simple with eCorner's online store updating design is really easy. eCorner can also help you with your first design as part of the free training.
Read more - Design Themes and Layout.
Content really is king - good content means a more successful business. Most people will find your online store using a search engine like Google and search engines love content. So it is important to create great content. by content we mean category pages, blogs and importantly products. If you want to be successful then comprehensive product content and great photos are essential.
Read more - Prepare the site content.
Two of the most important business decisions that you will make will be how to calculate shipping costs and how to accept payments. Both are key to a successful and profitable online business. A good eCommerce system will have a range of payment and delivery options available to you straight out of the box. You simply select the options that best suit your business!
Read more - Delivery and Payments.
Most people search on Google or Bing to find the products and services that they want. Good search engine rankings are a result of good content. But make sure that you look at the quality of the important search engines meta tags and that you have included your main keywords. Don’t pay hundreds of dollars per month for so-called ‘SEO experts’. During the trial use the extensive search engine optimisation toolkit!
Read more - Search Engine Optimisation Built-in.
Read more - Legal Content and Trust.
A good eCommerce solution will offer a range of marketing and multi-channel sales tools ‘out-of-the-box’. We include; Newsletters, Cross-sell and upsell, Ratings and reviews, Social media, Promotional items, eBay and Facebook shop; and lots more. Spend some time getting to know how the various internal and external marketing features work. By external we mean services like Google Adwords, Adroll, Google Shopping, Getprice and the many other portals and markets. The website has to work well on any device so that your market effort will work for you.
Once you have the online store setup the work does not stop. It is a constant process of reviewing results and making improvements. The window in to your audience (online buyers) in the website analytics that can be used totrack activity. Improve your results by understanding customer behaviour and focus your attention where needed. Real-time reporting (Wagtail Analytics) and Google analytics helps you understand what your customer is doing on your store.
Read more - Understand what is happening on your website.
This is a question that we get asked regularly. Many people are striving for extra income or may have some extra time on their hands to give it a go. We also see people starting multiple businesses and expanding the products and services that they offer.
New customers may call in and ask "what do you suggest that I sell online?" This can be a difficult conversation as starting a business without a product probably means that there is no business plan and the likely outcome will not be good.
When writing content for your website, sales pages and product descriptions it’s easy to get caught in the trap of listing loads of information and features. But it’s important to keep your customers in mind.
Here are a dozen writing basics I’ve gathered over a decade+ writing websites.
Understanding your business plan and continually re-assessing your business’s performance against that plan is a necessary, but often overlooked, part of managing a business. Your business plan forms the core of how you should track success in your business, so ensuring it is meaningful and relevant on a regular basis is critical.
Every year we hear of stories about retailers who leave the preparations for the Holiday sales and Christmas to the last minute and then wonder why they don't do well. Christmas is the biggest retail sales time of the year for the vast majority of businesses. Sales increases related to holiday spending start around late September and peak late November to early December. There are heaps of issuses to think about so start early.
This year it is expected that the latest that you will be able to order online and expect delivery before Christmas will be Tuesday 20th December for most Australian deliveries. Australia Post have already advised for the international sea-mail cutoff dates however they have yet to announce the Australian dates.
Our advice to make the most from the opportunity of great retail holiday sales is to plan and prepare now. How long does it take you to pick, pack and ship? That will determine the last date for selling online and delivering by Christmas. Remember there may be backlogs in delivery so check with your shipping agent. What are the peak number of orders that you can handle each day and still get the deliveries out? Maybe you need some temporary staff to help you get through the holiday rush.
Being prepared is as simple as asking a few simple questions about your business.
Every year Christmas is the dominant retail sales period in Australia and New Zealand if not worldwide. Worldwide trends have been favourable for online shopping and the latest can provide some new confidence for online sellers. The trend is for more people to buy online being driven by many factors and this is unlikely to slow.
It might be a good time to review your overall eCommerce strategy and to look at how you can develop a more successful online business.
You can take some time to consider how you will deal with;
Spending a little time developing your plan and strategy can deliver better short and long term sales results and higher margins. It might also be a good time to look at promotional micro-sites to target the Christmas traffic.
Buying online for Christmas starts as early as September but the real peak starts from late-November. This year we will expect to see a busy and a longer buying period. The after Christmas, New Years sales, will still be important to sell off overstocked items at bargain prices.
Simple strategies to improve sales and conversions:
Check you website on your mobile
Over 50% of your potential buyers will come via a mobile this year. That might mean you can get more sales and more profit if those visitors can find and buy a product on a mobile. Don't expect your website to look the same on a mobile as a laptop or tablet. Your website needs to be mobile friendly. eCorner websites are mobile friendly but if you have not checked and optimised your content for mobiles it might need some work.
We are getting asked more and more regularly about issues and considerations when thinking about selling or buying an existing online business.
Whether it be a large, high transaction online retailer or a relatively small boutique web store, it’s important to remember that you are buying a business (not just a website). As such, there is a process that should be followed to ensure you know what you are buying and are paying a reasonable amount for that investment.