See www.businesslink.gov.uk for some basic advice. If you need any advice with e-commerce legislation, please feel free to contact us or take a peek at our forums for question and answers.

2. Let people browse and BUY without having to register
Don’t force people into registering their details on your site prior to buying products; you will collect their details naturally at checkout. Collecting this information is beneficial as it enables you to be proactive with your customers. You can also give your customers friendly recognition without being too forward.

3. List your prices clearly
Be up-front about any charges, as unhappy surprises at checkout can be off putting. Clearly state whether prices are inclusive or exclusive of VAT and whether the price includes delivery.

4. Use good clear images and concise product descriptions
A clear image of the product encourages buyers – everyone likes to see what they’re buying! Your site is probably not the only one a potential customer has looked at before making their final decision, so a concise description may swing the sale.

5. Have a ‘best selling’ or ‘most popular’ listing
This often boosts sales and is similar to putting products near a checkout area of a shop. It also provides you with an opportunity to tell your customers about other products you offer.

6. Keep it simple
Make sure adding items to a basket and checking out is obvious and simple, if not people will just drop the basket and run!

7. Keep your site up to date
If a product is out of stock, mark it as ‘temporarily out of stock’ and give customers the option to receive notification when it is back in stock.

8. Search Marketing
If your not promoting your website and it can’t be found within search engines, customers will not be able to find you, let alone buy from you! Contact Silkstream for search marketing advice.

9. Confirm and Thank
After-sale service is what can make a good service into an excellent one. A simple call or email a short period after the sale will enlighten the customer experience. Furthermore customers are entitled to written confirmation under the Distance Selling Regulations 2000 (www.businesslink.gov.uk). You can combine SEL (our off-the-shelf e-commerce package) with SEND (our email marketing product) allowing you to create auto-responders, newsletters or monthly promotions to loyal customers.

10. Communication is key
A common pitfall when trading online is miscommunication or lack of communication. Be clear about your policies (e.g. delivery and return promises) and always maintain good contact with your customers. As in point 9 SEND can be a simple and effective tool for communicating with both new and existing customers.

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Leigh

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  • Susan

    Definitely, I think other than the products the focus of on-line shopping should to be making the experience enjoyable and easy, and more likely that the customer will return. I always consider factors such as ‘simplicity’ mentioned above. I think it’s wise to invest in good ecommerce software, the one I’m using at the moment enables me to add extra features such as gift wrapping and discounts easily, particularly good for the current festive period.