Five Things Not to Sell From an Online Store

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If you are planning on starting an online store or if you already have one, it might be useful to know what really sells online and what does not. To some people this might seem obvious; however it is not a particular product that you should be looking to avoid but a particular group of products. The following is a list of five things to avoid:

1. Items under $10 – While this may sound like a great idea, this will end up hurting you financially in hidden costs. Shipping cost is something you must pay critical attention to. For example if your are offering Santa hats for $4 and they retail for $8 in normal stores, people will flock to you to buy them. However, if your shipping cost is $3 then the total cost to the customer is 7$. When they realize this, they might even consider going over to the local store to get it instead of having to wait for it via mail because the benefit from buying online is minimal. One way to overcome this is to bundle several items together and that way the shipping cost becomes negligible.

2. What everyone else is selling – If several people are successfully selling Xbox’s do not dream that you will be immediately successful as well. This has nothing to do with your ability to sell, but everything to do with the bulk quantities that your competitors are able to buy. By buying bulk, they get discounts and discounts enable them to offer lower prices; something you will not be able to do if you want to sustain your business.

3. Things you love…but no one else does – Just because you love your hobbies or a certain gadget it does not necessarily mean that everyone else will. You must understand that starting a trend is extremely difficult and should be undertaken only if a sufficient budget is available to push the product on many different levels of advertising.

4. Items that are difficult to ship – Fragile items and items that are likely to deteriorate quickly like flowers or plants should be avoided as the risk during shipping is very high. It is possible that you would receive negative feedback and worse still, negative reviews if the product arrives damaged at the consumer’s location.

5. Very large or bulky items – This should be undertaken only when you are an experienced seller. Initially, you should stick to smaller, easier-to-pack items as they are less complicated to ship than very large products.

The Structure of an Effective Web Store

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When designing a web store, it is always essential to pay attention to its structure. Broadly speaking, the structure is divided into three sections – the Header, Main Area, and the Footer. The main area can be divided into lower columns and the main middle area. The main middle area can be further divided into two, three, or even four column designs (usually found on bookstore sites).

It is useful to think in this “compartment-like” way as it enables you to make optimum use of your design and create a user friendly site. You should also keep in mind that any site design you come across that looks like a wavy or oblique design also incorporates this “compartment” concept. If you look closely at them, you will see how the structure works within such a design.

While there is nothing stopping you from doing it differently, it is advisable to place the Navigation in the Header, Footer and the Left-side column. This is useful as the user is familiar with these locations and automatically looks for the navigation to be there.

The structure of the Main page and the sub-pages can and most often do differ. This is obviously due to the difference in content and focus. Usually, the Main page is formatted to 800×600 but is now moving towards the 1024×768 size. You can design a page that dynamically changes its size to fit the user’s viewing resolution. However, this is harder to do as it is a difficult task to ensure that the page displays as it should in every resolution possible.

The main idea to follow with your structure is to make it as user-friendly as possible. That way, you will find it easier to drive customers towards a sale.

Three Mistakes to Avoid Starting Your Own Store

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Opening an online store can be an excellent way to start a new business or expand an existing one. When starting any online business, it is best if you take all the necessary precautions. This article focuses on three mistakes to avoid.The first mistake to avoid when opening your own online store is not ensuring your website is ready for use. You must troubleshoot your website to make certain it will not crash, that hackers will not infiltrate it, nor will it slow down when it experiences heavy volume. For a new website, all credibility will be lost if it fails on the first attempt of users. To prevent failure, hire experienced technical individuals who can run a variety of tests to ensure the new online store will work properly.The next blunder to avoid is under marketing. There are literally billions of websites out there, and most likely there will be several online stores similar to the one you are putting up. To beat the competition, be sure to market your online store rigorously before opening, and during the grand opening. An effective marketing campaign will include taking out advertisement space on heavily trafficked websites. Also, include verbiage on the online store which will maximize search optimization.The last mistake to avoid is making promises that you cannot keep. For example, do not promise that you can deliver the product within one week, if it will actually take two. Making impossible promises will decrease the online store’s credibility with customers and will ensure lower performance.

Why Google Analytics is Essential to Your Business

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Google Analytics is a tool for anyone who has an online business. Its focus is to improve the marketing and advertising for a particular website. Google Analytics is a branch off of Google’s Adsense program. Google provides this service for free because it also benefits from the website doing well. Its aim to increase traffic and conversion helps with their sale of ads.Google Analytics charts and organizes information as an accessible way so that the owner of the website can see how his or her site is doing. It organizes the information in such sections as visitors and traffic sources. Each has their own purpose and unique information for the website user.One of the key components of the visitor section is the breakdown of the types of visitors. Google Analytics allows for the website owner to view the difference between absolute unique visitors and the number of visits. The former refers the total number of hits to the site in a given time frame, whereas the latter is the number of people who have viewed the site. Google also provides where the traffic comes from, such as direct visits (people just typing in the site in a browser), referrals (visits coming from other sites, and which sites they are), and search engines (which keywords were used to find the site).Google Analytics allows the site owner to customize and explore information on his or her site beyond the basic discussed. It provides data utilizing any website.

The Four Generations of Ecommerce

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Ecommerce, like all other facets of life, has undergone many changes since its inception as a mainstream marketing and sales medium. Its growth over the last 15 years has seen massive profits and greater opportunity for merchants and consumers. Let’s take a look at the evolution of ecommerce broken into four separate generations:

The first generation of ecommerce involved direct business to consumer sales online. The trend began in 1995 and the most notable entrant to the market was Amazon.com, the first large online retailer not to have a physical retail outlet. The concept was simple, to sell your products online directly to the consumer.

The second generation of ecommerce, prompted by online auctions sites such as ebay, was the introduction of consumer-to-consumer and business-to-business commerce online. Auction sites like ebay allowed ordinary consumers to sell to others directly, with a very simple business model. This in turn allowed businesses to sell directly to other businesses.

The third generation of ecommerce was prompted by Yahoo, which took the existing business to consumer and consumer to consumer model one step further and setup a super online mall. This was a single large market online, which sold everything you could possibly want. The sheer variety was possible because of the combination of businesses and consumers both selling products in one single searchable location. This generation also saw the introduction of individual storefronts for small merchants.

The fourth generation of ecommerce saw the introduction in 2009 of business-to-business to consumer-to-consumer commerce. The concept is simple; it allowed consumers to sell goods and services to other consumers without actually maintaining inventory of their own. A business would manufacture products, which would be sold through another business to a consumer who in turn sells it to the final consumer.

Three Tips for Buying into an Opportunity

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Ecommerce business opportunities are a dime a dozen these days and at times it can seem like every salesperson on the planet is trying to sell you one. One trait most of these “opportunities” have in common is that they offer you amazing returns, in an unbelievably short amount of time. When confronted with such a deal, follow the adage “if it’s too good to be true”.Ask questions – The salesperson has one goal – to make the sale. Therefore, no matter what, they will only harp on the good qualities of the product, the positive benefits and paint a rosy picture. Simply read between the lines and ask questions. For example, how much time will you need to commit to building the business, what is the marketing plan and how long will it be before you some return on your investment.Get a Second Opinion – The Internet is a fantastic tool for research. Put it to good use. Through e-mail, forums, reviews and searches you can derive enough information about the company to give you the correct picture. You should also talk to someone you trust who does have some experience with ecommerce. They may provide you with some helpful insights as well as arm you with questions that should ask the salesperson.Evaluate the long-term potential – Will the business be around in the next five to 10 years? Market saturation? Does it look like the business has adequate planning? Will the product be useful to people? What is the competition like? Answering these and similar questions will help you see where your investment is going.Personal and financial freedoms are part of the rewards of owning your own business. So make sure your foray into the ecommerce world is informed and well-researched.

Wholesale Suppliers and Drop Shippers

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While there are often conflicting stories on whether you can or cannot make money on the Internet the truth is, you can. But there is a catch, hard work.As with any legal means of making money, at the beginning you may not rake in the cash, but as time goes by you will see your investment return in large amounts. Your investment at the beginning may run into a few hundred dollars, but in a few months you will see it growing and the returns you experience will be in the thousands.However, there is an easier legal way to make money online. You will find it easy to earn money if you choose the right business model. All you have to do is be the salesman to a wholesaler. If you buy at wholesale rates, then your margins are respectable. So all you have to do is put up a website promoting some items and reap the dividends.You may be wondering about the costs for warehousing and storing and how that plays in this game. That is where the smart business model comes in. By dealing with wholesale suppliers and drop shipping, you can personally have no inventory. All you have to do is take the orders and pass it on to the manufacturer. The technique known as drop shipping is where you take the order and send all the information, including the shipping information to the supplier (Manufacturer/wholesaler). They then undertake to send the goods to your customer.This is an effective process that can be very profitable if you do it right. But as always, research your supplier before you start this type of trading, or you may be left holding the bag.

Merchant Accounts – Selecting the Best

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When it comes to choosing a Merchant account, the keyword is caution. A merchant account is a convenient way of accepting online payments by debit or credit cards. A common misconception people have is that a merchant account provider is another arm of a bank, this not so in a majority of cases. Usually they are different entities, who in turn have agreements with each other. So first, you should carefully study any agreement you make with a merchant account provider. Do not rush headlong into one.But even before you get to the agreement stage, you have to choose a provider. At this point you must do a lot of research. Reviews of merchant account providers will give you a good idea of what the process is like. But the best way to get information is to talk to some of their clients. Some experiences never make it to a review or even get edited out, so a personal chat will help you gain an insight into the provider you like. Costs or fees are another big factor you have to consider. This includes application fees, transaction fees, and even minimum monthly fees. Some providers charge on a per-item or percentage basis, in these instances paying 5% on monthly sales is an acceptable and reasonable rate.Shop around and try to find package deals. For example some providers offer a payroll service as well. If this is something you need, then take a bundle offer to get a discount on both services.

Design Online Scrapbooks from Slides and Images with QuickMix

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If you have 35mm slide scanners and want to do more than just save your family memories to a file, one new service to check out is offered at Scrapblog. Their new QuickMix kits allow people to have the same amount of fun creating scrapbooks when they scan 35mm slides as they do when making physical scrapbooks from prints.  QuickMix gives you preset scrapbooks based off of images that you upload, based on one of many readymade scrapbook themes provided by Scrapblog. 

You can then customize the QuickMix in a variety of different ways. From there, you can either choose to share your QuickMix for free over the Internet or order physical scrapbooks with additional features such as digital stickers, additional photos from a digital film scanner and more. The service is currently free, although digital media blog Zatz Not Funny! says that Scrapblog will charge for the features in the QuickMix in the future. So now is a great time to try it for yourself.