Part 1: What Does Starting an Online Shopping Mall Involve?
Part 2: Advantages of Using Ecommerce Software.
- a) E-commerce tools
- b) Quality shopping cart
Part 3: Making an online shopping mall out of your store.
Part 1: How to Open an Internet Store?
First, you need a site. Then you will need 3 things:
- Within the site you have to put the goods on show for people to buy them.
- You have to make them want to make a purchase of what you have on your site.
- And you have to give them the pleasant experience of buying and ordering through your site which means safety and overall smoothness of all the steps that payment process includes.
That’s not all but these points have been found to be the main areas that are to be focused on when making an online store.
If you want your store to become money pocketing online shopping mall then extra steps need to be taken. What exactly it involves is explained further down in this article.
So, you need to streamline the process.
The problem is that if you want to go the physical business route in your online selling endeavourers and just get people on the phone to make a “face-to-face” sale, so to speak, you are up for a big challenge: you have to convince them to buy. And you’ll have to do it the hard way.
But people don’t like dealing with the “sneaky” salesmen jumping through hoops to get what you have. They need this process to be streamlined. The less interaction with the salesmen they have the better.
People need to be “bought” into the buying process… but it has to be done differently. Online it is done… automatically.
So, the answer to the question “how to open an internet store” would be:
- to get the site
- to make this site work
It seems easy. But keep reading. The bottom line is that it’s really that easy. But only if you know what you are doing and how to go about that properly.
For the first part you may install a simple WP (wordpress) site on the hosting and buy a premium theme that will make your site look professional and make sales.
Or you may have the site designed from scratch. That’s the more expensive route but you have to choose knowing all the options you’ve got.
Okay, that part is more or less clear.
The second one is not so obvious at the first glance: how to make the site work?
You also have 2 options here.
And keep in mind: your goal here is to make sales. That’s it. As simple as that. It all boils down to how well your site sells. Nothing else. And all the fuss about the online stores is about making them sell and sell more. Okay, now that we have that out of the way we may continue.
The first option out of those 2 we just mentioned: get the stuff programmed and designed from scratch. That will be like reinventing the wheel, let me tell you. Or take the second option which is now chosen by successful online entrepreneurs. Hold on for a moment. I will disclose what it is soon.
Great user experience on the site makes for greater sales. So, what if you could replace the cashier in a shop with the robot that works 10 times as fast? Then you’d be getting money 10 times as fast as well. Interested? The question now is “How do you do that?”
Listen, get ready now – you are in for a treat.
The answer is this: you do that by installing ecommerce software on your site. An electronic automatic cashier.
What is it and why do I need this?
Part 2. Will ecommerce software work for me?
What is it?
Ecommerce software automates the process for your site to MAKE MORE SALES AND CREATE REPEAT CUSTOMERS WHO BUY EVEN MORE.
Ecommerce software includes a set of ecommerce tools, different tools, included in a complete toolkit. It consists of a great variety of elements to use on a site that is supposed to sells the stuff online.
- a) E-commerce tools
They are (but not limited to):
- Live chat
- Email auto-responders
- Calls where you call them back if they chose this option
- Holding Webinars
- Direct mail delivery to the physical addresses
- Tracking to see what makes them tick to buy
- A/b testing to see what kind of the ordering process works better
- Personalization options to make them feel good about your store
- Interactive elements to make them chose better
One of the biggest and the most important elements of an ecommerce set of tools is the shopping cart element where the customer puts and collects into a basket all the items which he is willing to buy. That’s where the great interaction takes place and where the sales can be increased 10 times. How? By choosing the:
- b) Quality shopping cart.
What makes a good shopping cart?
This element, and I mean a great one, has to allow for having the following functions:
- Huge images of the product
If you remember just this 1 thing – do it, implement it on your site. And you will be astonished at the results. The matter is that images are the way to interact with the customer who has to see the product on offer to make an educated decision. Big, detailed images have been proven to boost sales dramatically. Your shopping cart must have the function of having bigger allowance for the size of the images used.
- Product Reviews and Star Ratings.
Real reviews dramatically boost sales. Quality shopping cart will have the function of allowing the customers to leave reviews. Star ratings make people “tick” and subconsciously willing to buy, especially the best rated items.
It won’t just appear automatically – you either have to have programmers and designers of your site to prepare it in the code or use an ecommerce shopping cart software with these functions built-in by default.
- Menu with filtering mechanism
When there are many options to buy, like thousands, one might want to have the filters built-in into a quality shopping cart that make it easy for the customer to filter out the products they need going by their attributes: groups, categories, sub-categories, colors, size, model etc. This is a standard for serious shopping malls.
- Having an express checkout process implemented within 1 page with the minimum of fields. It has to be smooth and enjoyable, fast and safe.
Studies have shown the more it takes for the customer to fill on the page with forms when ordering and the more overall pages he has to click through to finish the purchase the more people abandon this activity as they get impatient, bored and/or even frustrated.
- Search function MUST be presented in a quality shopping cart.
Search makes it way easier for the visitor on your site to make a decision and find what he wants to buy it.
- Availability of an option of applying coupons and reducing prices by having discounts
- Ability to extract the price list with all the items in a separate file to upload it on Facebook or send via email
- Ability to be integrated into the cross-platform solutions that include the functioning of the other ecommerce software, tools and third-party solutions
- Tracking, analyzing and watching visitor’s behavior on the site. What make them tick, where they make the purchasing decision, which pages they visit etc.
- Customer service integrated platform called the helpdesk
- Live chat function for greater interaction
- Free phone number
- Wish list – for the buyer to navigate through the purchasing process and enjoy it. This increases sales.
- Items viewed function
- Similar items function
These two functions have been shown to have a great effect on the quantity of sales a person makes. Also, it improves involvement and the time people spend on the site which improves site positions in Google. This leads to even more sales through the higher position in the search results.
- Order tracking – holding them by the hand all the way through the ordering and then shipping process.
For example, navigation bars that show how many of the steps of the ordering process have been already made. Also, confirmation emails, SMS texts, accompanying emails on the status of their order and shipping details – these all make a customer grow in confidence and get to love your shop. This, in turn, leads to them willing to come to you again. That’s all is done and achieved by using the ecommerce tools.
- Website security
That’s a great deal when buying online. People need to be calm and have piece of mind as to shelling out their money on your goods. This includes having the option of paying the way they like and feel comfortable with and having the ssl encryption and showing the signs and notes about website security.
- Special offers function
This adds a lot of traction to your sales, especially for the new customers.
- Some of the ecommerce software platforms have all of the features from this list.
If you are selling physical goods you need the shipping process to be taken care of as people need the stuff delivered to their door or at least their mailbox. So, it means the physical addresses have to be collected and then the shipping transaction performed in an automatic mode.
This is a quick introduction on how to open an internet store and what such decision may entail.
If you don’t use ecommerce software you will end up paying exponentially bigger amounts and sums of money for programmers and customer service personnel if done the usual way.
Part 3: Online shopping mall: what makes an ordinary store a great online shopping mall you can be proud of?
Online shopping mall may be viewed as a super advanced online store made on a platform that streamlines the overall process of buying for the customer making the user experience pleasant and full of joy. Online shopping mall handles the great variety of payment options and has a marketing platform to follow through on the purchases and who made them, and capabilities to ensure customer retention. Tracking, A/B split testing, that’s the whole analytical team working on your behalf. It also provides fast and stable and reliable platform for orders where the customer has to search through sometimes tens of thousands of items. This is done through separate search elements on the site, filtering options and great navigation patterns that make it easy for the customer to land on their destination product they are eager to buy.
It also has to ensure the smooth delivery down to the door of a customer’s house, to make it work in a way where the customer is completely and totally satisfied and feels he is treated in a good way. Attitude makes the difference and using ecommerce platform shows you are taking your customers and your business seriously.
“Money is paid – order is sent”. It is all done through using the ecommerce software.
Better software solutions will make it easier to provide exclusive Customer Service as well.
Ecommerce tools and platforms allow you to get your business on the Internet fast. And it’s cheaper then hiring a team of developers. 10 times cheaper or more.
And then it allows you to have your business to not just be on the Internet but prosper and thrive by making visitors to want to buy, to enjoy the process, handling all the ordering and delivering procedures and nuances and then making them willing to come back to you again and buy more.
Ecommerce software makes a selling machine out of your online store.
This was a quick overview of how to open an internet store and what the advantages of using ecommerce software are. Also we checked in with the necessity and functions of ecommerce tools and what makes a great quality shopping cart. And then we ended up by reviewing the attributes of a site that appears to be not just a simple ordinary online store without its own face, but which may be called a great online shopping mall which you can be proud of to show off to the world. Be bold and go ahead! And you’ll reap the benefits by ridiculously lowering your business expenses with the ecommerce software.
Nicolas Fincher is a marketing and PR manager working for the CS-Cart ecommerce software company, which offers the comprehensive range of multifunctional shopping cart tools, including CS-Cart and Multi-Vendor software.