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Set up a great shop on the Net today!

E-commerce is the current "buzz word" on the Internet. It seems that every day a large enterprise is boasting it's latest exploits on the Net. The great thing about e-commerce is that even a "work from home" new venture can compete with the larger companies. In many cases we believe that the smaller business has in many instances been better able to provide a good level of service.

The products you can sell are endless and your online shop can contain thousands of items. These products are best sold using a "shopping cart". At Webnet works we recommend using "Shopassistant", it's produced by a British firm and can cope with the worldwide levels of Tax and carriage etc... Once we have integrated your product's into the "Shopassistant" software it will charge the appropriate Tax and postal charges due dependant on where the customer lives. The software will take all the customers shipping details and then direct the customer to his chosen method of payment, which can range from a credit card to a postal order.

If you have a credit card merchant account with clearing bank we can provide a wide range of different methods for processing your credit card sales. There really are many to choose from, with one sure to suit your business. We can of course advise which system is more likely to be the most advantageous to you. If you do not have a Merchant account with a Bank for accepting credit cards we can provide help in setting this up or a arrange for a full Bureau service through one of the many companies who offer this service. For example, "Netbanx" will for just a small percentage of the transaction charge, validate and process the credit card sales from your site. This simple method leaves you free to just despatch your goods without the worry of processing credit card payments and of course means you won't incur the charge for a card processing PDQ machine, normally around £25.00 per month.

Tips On E-Commerce

If you are serious about your Internet business, then you must also be serious about your website. After all, it serves as your store front in cyber-space, where potential customers will gain their first impression of you and your business. Keep your customer in mind at all times when designing or editing your pages.

Remember that your site has one purpose, and one purpose only - to promote and sell your products and services.

Consider these basic tips in setting up or amending the features of your website. These common sense concepts will go a long way toward presenting your site as a place where visitors will want to return, browse around, and do business.

1. Keep it simple! Go for clean lines and a non-cluttered format. Resist the urge to include elaborate Flash presentations, 'bells and whistles' or whirling neon gizmos (unless you're opening a casino.) Delete anything that presents a distraction from your sales message.

2. Choose colors carefully! Your own favorite color combination may not please the eyes of your potential customer. It's always best to avoid bold and dramatic color schemes that may assault the eye when viewed on a monitor screen. Present your message for easy reading, in dark font posed on a light (or plain white) background.

3. Present your guarantee on your index page! Let your visitor know up front that she is safe and secure in doing business with you. Otherwise, she may not risk her time to browse your offerings.

4. Stay focused! We've all visited sites where the webmaster appeared to have taken the word 'homepage' a bit too literally, including even the kitchen sink! If your site is focused on arts and crafts, don't attempt to tack on a book about parenting skills. Does your supermarket merchandise Cheerios and motor oil on the same shelf?

5. Introduce yourself to build customer confidence! When given a choice, many people will avoid a faceless vending machine, and will prefer to do business with other people. You may want to include a detailed 'about us' page. At the minimum, present clearly on your homepage your full name, postal address and city, email contact links, and even alternate contacts such as telephone and fax.

6. Use effective sales copy! The foundation of your success is built on the sales message you present. Many online businesses fail as a result of ineffective sales copy. Compose your website copy, and in fact any advertisement you write using this simple but tried and true formula:

A - Attention - A short but powerful headline I - Interest - Take advantage of human curiosity D - Desire - Stress the benefits of owning your product A - Action - Ask for the action you want them to take

7. Keep your links to yourself! Ideally, you should have no links on your site that lead outside your own domain. You want to keep your visitor focused on YOUR offers. However, if you wish to promote high paying affiliate programs from your site, be sure to add "TARGET="_blank" to the end of each affiliate URL. This will open a new window when the link is clicked, and your visitor will not actually exit your domain.

8. Offer something of value for FREE! Since a majority of your vistors will not buy on their first visit, you should collect email addresses for future contact. Offer by autoresponder a free (but valuable) report or ebook that is pertinent to your offerings. This will give your visitor an incentive to leave her email address behind when she goes. Then, follow-up with more information about your products and services.

These are certainly not the only factors involved in setting up and maintaining a successful website. Our own site, while successful in business, remains a testing ground for new ideas. We advise you to consider what YOU would want to see when visiting another eMarketer's site for the first time. Then, incorporate and test those ideas on your own site.