E-commerce for SMEs by Robert Downes

Robert Downes advises on e-commerce

27 Sep, 13

Robert Downes advises on e-commerce

Expert: Robert Downes

Company: Forum of Private Business

Background: Senior policy advisor at the not-for-profit Forum of Private Business organisation

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With rising rents, slump in high street sales and significant increase in online purchases, many small businesses are considering e-commerce.

If you sell, or plan to sell, using your website we have some top tips to help improve sales.

1.      Communicate extensively with your customers (and potential customers) before, during and after a transaction. This includes confirmation emails, web chat sessions and forums.

2.      Be honest about delivery times and P&P. Most of the complaints about online retailers concern the shipping or posting process. Choose your shipping partner carefully.

3.      Offer as much information as possible on your products. Provide photos, specifications, details, reviews and external links to make sure the customer knows what they are buying.

4.      Offer different languages. Google site translator allows you to choose between 25 pairs of languages. While the resulting translation is often approximate, it is better than nothing and is certainly cheaper and faster than having to get a full time translator.

5.      Update your website as often as possible. This will almost certainly ensure your website occupies a good place in search engine results. Plus, there’s nothing more worrying than reading an e-commerce website was last updated in 2005.

6.      Accept payments online. There are a selection of reputable online payment companies that offer fast, safe and easy-to-use products that will allow your customers to buy online. These include Paypal, Nochex and Google Checkout. Just think, you could potentially make money while you are asleep, out of the office, or on holiday.