How to build a successful ecommerce business?

Building and running an ecommerce website is not a trivial task. This two part article will discuss how to build a feature-rich ecommerce website, and also cover strategies for promoting your website efficiently.

Part 1. How to build an effective ecommerce web site?

Building a website is not hard, but building a converting website is not easy. It cost a lot of money and effort to bring traffic to your website, so it is your job to build a website that converts. Depending on whether you have the targeted traffic, your conversion rate will vary significantly. Assuming you have ppc or display advertisement traffic, you will most likely convert about 2% of your traffic which is not too bad.

There are a number of factors that will determine whether a prospect will purchase a product or service from your website. Here are a few important factors to consider when building an effective website.

1. Customers don't have the time. Make it up front and show everything you've got on the product description page. Customer look at the pictures, price, description and product reviews. Make sure you display "add to cart" button next to the picture and the price. It will be noticeable and won't be missed. Offer free shipping or at least be upfront about it. Don't waste customer's time or yours.

2. Customers make buying decision based on number of factors. Price is one of them, but it's not the sole criteria. Make your description very clear, and have the answers to all FAQ questions. If they have a doubt or unanswered questions, they will haunts somewhere else. Remember, it cost you alot of money to bring this customer to your website. While they are on your website, you will have to convert this visitor to a customer.

3. Before committing to buy a product, over 55% of the people read product reviews. If your don't have the product reviews, your are missing a puzzle in your ecommerce strategy. Solicit your past customers for product reviews even if you have to offer something free. Be sure to read those reviews, but do not delete or forge negative reviews. If a product received a lot if negative reviews, there are reasons for it. Help your customers and yourself by removing bad products from your catalog.

4. Provide closeup pictures in a different angle, and also provide videos if you have them. A picture is worth a thousand words. Give detailed description about the product. Customers will have a lot of questions before buying a product. Your description should answer all those questions, or you will not make a sale.

5. Make your checkout process simple and short. Every additional step require to complete a sale, your are risking your prospective customer abadoning their cart. Amazon introduced a 1-click checout, and pay phrase which perfectly explains streamlined checkout process.

6. Maximize your profit by offering cross-sell and up-sell. Cross-selling related items, and up-selling accompanying accessories will not only increase average order size, but will also increase profit as combined shipping will yield higher profit.

7. Make it easier for your customers to find the products they are looking for. Displaying best sellers, clearance items, deals and featured items are a good examples of showcasing hot sellers. Also, offering products by price, manufacturer, and category are must have feathers. Just understand that the customers don't have a whole lot of time to spend on your website.

8. There are a number of ways to drive traffic to your website, free and paid traffic. The goal is to use freely available resources first, and then explore the paid resources when you're ready to expand your business. Before spending any money driving traffic to your website, you must sign up to receive free traffic from shopping comparison engines. The three most popular shopping comparison traffic you can draw freely include (1) google prduct search, (2) bing, and (3) thefind. Those are shopping portals that allow merchants to add products to their shopping engine at no cost to you, and send traffic to your site for those customers interested in the products that you sell.

9. You may also consider selling your products through 3rd-party marketplaces. You'll pay pre-determined commission (rate up to 15%) on each sale you make through marketplaces. The most popular marketplaces are Amazon, EBay,, newegg, sears and Walmart which will join the force in the very near-term. The benefit of selling through 3rd-party marketplaces is that you only pay comission when your product sells at the price you want.

10. Join an affiliate marketing program. Allow other publishers to advertise your business and drive traffic to your website by joining an affiliate network. By joining an affiliate network, you agree to pay pre-agreed percentage of commission to affiliates when they help you sell products (or services) on your website. Similar to marketplace sale, you only pay fee when sales occur.

11. Build search engine traffic by optimizing your website for major search engines. Although it takes much time to rank well on SERP (search engine result pages), it is worthwhile investing preset percentage of your marketing dollars in search engine optimization. Paid PPC traffic stop immediately when you suspend you advertisements, but when you have organic search traffic you'll be less pressured spend hefty marketing dollars in drawing traffic to your site.

12. Explore CSEs such as Nextag,, Shopzilla/Bizrate,, Amazon Product Ads, and etc.


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