E-commerce for Small Business – Marketing Advice

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  1. Is a website is the right sales channel for the business.

Weigh up what the company is trying to achieve:

  • is the site to sell directly
  • offer post-sales support
  • or act more as a marketing tool for products and services
  1. Consider setting up on a marketplace.

Create an eBay shop or sign up to sell through Amazon to keep costs down and test the market before committing to creating a full blown ecommerce website.

This is also a good way to quickly reach an audience of buyers.

  1. Assess how user friendly the site is.

Make it easy to navigate each page and include a comprehensive search function.

Remember the 8-second rule – people unable to find what they want within this time are likely to go elsewhere.

  1. Make sure your site works on mobile devices.

People are increasingly browsing websites and buying online from their smart phones.

  1. Work out the best way to take payments.
  1. Try and offer a range of payment options.

Different people like to pay for things in different ways. In addition to offering payments via major debit and credit cards, consider allowing people to pay by cheque or cash on delivery.

  1. Ensure the website is secure and reassure customers.

If online payments are being taken, the website must be encrypted.

Give customers’ confidence by showing information about security on the website.

Some sites carry a badge to show they have been independently tested.

  1. Think about web marketing and how to drive traffic to the site.

Use keywords to improve search engine ranking.

Also consider pay-per-click advertising online.

  1. Fulfil orders efficiently.

Delight customers by getting products delivered to them quickly. Choose a reliable delivery service and make sure you have a good returns system in place. (Brush up on distance selling obligations, too.)

  1. Encourage feedback.

Successful websites build a dialogue with customers — use a ratings or a comments facility. Alternatively, creating a regular email newsletter with special offers and details of new products will also persuade visitors to revisit your site.

Cardinal rules


  • Work out exactly what you want from your website
  • Consider an off-the-shelf package at first
  • Make your site easy to navigate


  • Neglect IT security
  • Let the website get stale – update key pages
  • Forget the importance of marketing the website


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