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    19 Replies Latest reply on Apr 5, 2010 5:33 AM by onchie

    Can You Help Me With My First Ecommerce?

    tropicalia Newbie
      Hello everyone. I am new to the community and I have just started my first business. It is a women's clothing eccommerce. I would like feedback and reviews about the website from all of you. Any ideas on how I get traffic into my eccommerce? I would like to get everybody's suggestions! Thanks to you all.
      www.tropicaliaboutique.com
        • Re: Can You Help Me With My First Ecommerce?
          aistudios Newbie
          I think I can. I am a co-partner an interactive/branding firm focused on small business. I took a look at your site and would love to learn more. Feel free to email me.
          • Re: Can You Help Me With My First Ecommerce?
            aistudios Newbie
            I think I can. I am the co-partner of an interactive/branding firm focused
            on small business. I took a look at your site and would love to learn
            more. Feel free to email me: rego@arcadiainteractivestudios.com
            • Re: Can You Help Me With My First Ecommerce?
              NatOnline Tracker
              Welcome to this forum Tropicalia,

              Congratulations this is a nice e-commerce.

              To help getting traffic to your site, first you need some descriptions on all your products, create interesting articles, etc... then you need a links building.and you will be ok.

              Good luck
              • Re: Can You Help Me With My First Ecommerce?
                iMicrobrand Adventurer
                WOW!!

                Incredible site!! Very clean - It was so easy for me to go from one place to another! Well done.

                The next thing of course is your team getting social. Optimize your sites performance using web 2.0 methodology and you should see your dream come to a reality. If you need some insight, feel free to contact me - I can give you what I have in the "old noodle" (my head..) LOL!!

                Cheers to Success!!

                Vincent A. Hunt
                Microbrandologist
                • Re: Can You Help Me With My First Ecommerce?
                  nMoncrief Adventurer
                  The site looks good to me. I didn't see anything specific that need's changing. As far as adding traffic, try Google AdWords if you have the money, or blogging if you have the time to wait. Good luck! If you need help with credit card processing for your site, let me know.

                  Neil Moncrief
                  www.CreekFinancial.com
                  • Re: Can You Help Me With My First Ecommerce?
                    k2forma Newbie
                    Hi Tropicalia,

                    Beautiful site! Clearly you have put a tremendous amount of work in to your business already.

                    Having a great site is only half of the battle. Getting people to visit your site is completely different. The first step is to know your audience and their habits. If you're not already tracking your visitors, Google Analytics is great, and its FREE! You just download a piece of code and drop it into your site. In about 24 hours you'll start getting traffic reports on where your current visitors are coming from, how long they're spending on your site, and what they're looking at. From there, you can begin to develop a strategy for maintaining your current customer loyalty while cultivating new customers.

                    I own a marketing firm that helps small businesses, and I have some ideas that might be useful. Feel free to contact me at info@k2forma or call 800-656-8670.

                    Good luck!
                    • Re: Can You Help Me With My First Ecommerce?
                      VelvetBlues Wayfarer
                      Hi Tropicalia,

                      Nice site design. Very simple to use.

                      In terms of traffic, I took a look at your source code and I see that it is not optimized for search engines. Of course, you are in search engines, which is great. But you should make use of several on page and off page factors to increase the 'worth' of your page and thus increase your organic traffic. Also, try to get listed in directories. And a great way to plaster the internet with links to your site is to submit a free press release. (Do a Google search to discover free services.) And lastly, you could always create a blog to compliment your existing site...

                      Feel free to contact me for additional details on what I've mentioned. (sap@velvetblues.com)

                      Take care and Good Luck. :-)
                      • Re: Can You Help Me With My First Ecommerce?
                        GSOL.US Wayfarer
                        Hi,

                        Nice website! Intelligent use of Flash technology -- that will help you a long ways in getting traffic from search engines!

                        Have you spoken with a Search Engine Marketing company yet??

                        Most website traffic originates at a search engine.

                        Someone else in this forum said something about getting descriptions, etc into your pages.

                        That observation was correct.

                        Take a look at this website: http://www.topfashionexpression.com -- that website was created, and is currently being marketed by us.

                        They are similar to your website, and they get good, qualified traffic that allows them to bring in some nice revenue.

                        If you haven't spoken with anyone yet, we'd be glad to send you a proposal for our services, just let us know.
                          • Re: Can You Help Me With My First Ecommerce?
                            amspcs Ranger
                            Ideas to build website traffic:

                            First and foremost, you need to be patient. Once your site is up and running for 6 months to a year, it will gain search engine relevence on it's own due to longetivity assuming it has good content. My advise is to avoid the so-called 'search engine enhancers that come out of the woodwork. They can very easily do more harm than good. (There are some good ones out there, but it's very hard to tell who is who...I know I haven't figured it out yet).

                            Google Adwords is good. But do your homework, it can be expensive if not done correctly. My own experience is Google PPC works better than Yahoo.

                            Join chambers of commerce leads groups. Attend all the mixers and functions. Hand out business cards by the ton, all with your URL prominently displayed, of course.

                            Write articles and press releases online and refer to your website within. The search engines like these.. www.ezines.com is a good ezine site. Google online press release for sources for news releases.

                            Participate in quality business forums like this one. Offer legitimate help and advise in your areas of knowledge and expertise, don't just 'spam' away. This will build credibility for your site in the long run.

                            Of course, once the traffic starts to trickle in, you'll need a way to sell and collect payments online. We happen to be in the credit card processing biz, but to be perfectly honest our recommendation is NOT to open a merchant account yet until your volume justifies the expense of a traditional merchant account along with all the other necessary components like, gateway access and fees, shopping cart fees. and so on. You'd be very smart and enhance the probability of success of your business if you take a 'walk before you run' approach. We've witnessed far too many prospective ecommerce merchants go "whole hog" from day one, only to find they run out of money before the venture gets off the ground, which WILL take time no matter what anybody may claim to the contrary.. Start out with a simple Paypal account which includes primitive but workable credit card payment ability, gateway, and shopping cart solutions all built in and integrated, but doesn't have a long term commitment. This way, you can use Paypal to get started, then when your site grows enough, you can easily without financial penalty graduate up to a full fledged merchant account (which hopefully you'll consult with us for setup). Setting up the Paypal account is EZ, just click on *https://www.paypal.com/us/mrb/pal=2SXM26U7ZHJUA (*copy and paste this to your browser), select 'sign up today' then "start now" under business accounts for business owners, then under 'select product' choose Website Payment Pro*.*

                            Hope this helps. Call or email if I can be of any help. If you MUST have a full fledged merchant account today, hope you'll call us. But again in all honesty, I've been around a long time and I REALLY think the approach I outlined above is your best bet.

                            Barry G
                            AMS, Inc.
                            amspcs@juno.com
                            www.MerchantServices-help.com
                              • Re: Can You Help Me With My First Ecommerce?
                                GSOL.US Wayfarer
                                Short of saying: "Yeah, what Barry said. . ." I'll outline my responses in-line to what he said.

                                While I agree with some of the things he's mentioned, I also disagree with some of the things he's mentioned.

                                Nonetheless, I still respect his opinion, and ultimately, it will be up to you to decide how to proceed:

                                Ideas to build website traffic:

                                First and foremost, you need to be patient. Once your site is up and
                                running for 6 months to a year, it will gain search engine relevence on
                                it's own due to longetivity assuming it has good content. My advise is
                                to avoid the so-called 'search engine enhancers that come out of the
                                woodwork. They can very easily do more harm than good. (There are some
                                good ones out there, but it's very hard to tell who is who...I know I
                                haven't figured it out yet).

                                 


                                This is true. Google, Yahoo, and MSN have been known to extend better results to those sites who have been in on the web for at least 1 year. Avoid companies that try to sell you "Search Engine Submission" services, or companies that sell what's called "raw traffic" -- the kind of traffic that you can buy (i.e. 50,000 hits for $50), as it is mostly useless traffic, and most users will not even see your website, nor will any real sales come out of it for your website. Barry is right in the respect that it is hard to tell who's who in the Search Engine Marketing arena, however, some ways that you can investigate is by contacting a company's clients to see what they have to say about the company. Another way is by researching them online to see if their are any complaints against them, etc. Just being a member of the better business burea doesn't qualify them to work with your website. Try searching Google for one of the company's officers, and try typing <company name> "complaints". This will usually yield good results, and will help you to gauge a company's reputation. For example, you can search my name: Eric Gillette, or GSolutions Online LLC "complaints" to get an idea of how this works. You'll see that people and clients I have worked with personally and professionally have only good things to see about me and my company.*

                                 


                                Google Adwords is good. But do your homework, it can be expensive if
                                not done correctly. My own experience is Google PPC works better than
                                Yahoo.

                                 


                                This is very true. I've seen many companies, and new business owners find out the hard way after plunking down thousands incorrectly on Adwords (Google's PPC), and/or YSEM (Yahoo's PPC). Then they've come to us to fix the mess they've made, and it usually takes time, and even more money to get it fixed. This is something that is best done right the first time around. However, I have to say that in today's world, somethings should be left to the professionals. For example, if you're car broke down, you wouldn't attempt to fix it yourself, you'd instead take it to a professional to fix the problem for you. This can also be true of managing a Pay-Per-Click campaign. While it can be a good primer in PPC teaching yourself, you need to also consider that there are companies like mine, that will always be a step ahead of the Small Business Owner, since we do this full-time, and can spend hours tweaking and working with a campaign to ensure that our clients get the best results. It's similar to the stock market. While you can sometimes out maneuver the big firms like JP Morgan Chase, etc, sometimes it's a better idea to hire a professional like T. Rowe Price to compete with them on your behalf, so that you can spend time doing what you initially setup to do from the beginning. . .that is. . .run your business! As far as which is better, in my experience (I've been in this field now for about 7 years), Google PPC traffic tends to have higher conversion rates, than Yahoo's PPC traffic, but Yahoo seems to deliver higher quality traffic (i.e. those looking to buy, rather than those just researching a purchase -- these are two very different kinds of buyers).*

                                 


                                Join chambers of commerce leads groups. Attend all the mixers and
                                functions. Hand out business cards by the ton, all with your URL
                                prominently displayed, of course.

                                 


                                This is also true. I find that these things will work very limited in the beginning, but the more you brand your product/company/URL, the more traffic you will get over the long haul, even if it seems to be ineffective in the beginning. Just also keep in mind, that most of your business, eventually, will come by referral, and as a result, handing out business cards, is an often overlooked but effective business building technique.*

                                 


                                Write articles and press releases online and refer to your website
                                within. The search engines like these.. www.ezines.com is a good ezine
                                site. Google online press release for sources for news releases.

                                 


                                This is true, but a word of caution. . .while search engines do like articles, and press releases. . .they have to be HIGHLY targeted. Writing a press release to talk about your new business launch is good, while writing a press release to discuss the fact that your company offers multiple lines of women's clothing is probably not going to be as effective. I've written press releases for clients that have been picked up by journalists, because they're newsworthy. Consider whether or not something is actually "newsworth" before putting in the trouble to write it. Otherwise, it's much like a shot in the foot. Sometimes if poorly written, articles, and press releases can be considered spam, which would just work against you. PRWeb.com is probably the best place to submit a press release, as they can make sure that it's picked up by Google, Yahoo, and other places that journalists and visitors alike may read.*

                                 


                                Participate in quality business forums like this one. Offer legitimate
                                help and advise in your areas of knowledge and expertise, don't just
                                'spam' away. This will build credibility for your site in the long run.

                                 


                                This is very true as well. A well-placed forum post can do wonders for your business, especially if you have specialized knowledge in a field, and you aren't just trying to make yourself appear to be knowlegeable. People hate spam, but love legitimate business ideas, and business relationships.*

                                 


                                Of course, once the traffic starts to trickle in, you'll need a way to
                                sell and collect payments online. We happen to be in the credit card
                                processing biz, but to be perfectly honest our recommendation is NOT to
                                open a merchant account yet until your volume justifies the expense of
                                a traditional merchant account along with all the other necessary
                                components like, gateway access and fees, shopping cart fees. and so
                                on. You'd be very smart and enhance the probability of success of your
                                business if you take a 'walk before you run' approach. We've witnessed
                                far too many prospective ecommerce merchants go "whole hog" from day
                                one, only to find they run out of money before the venture gets off the
                                ground, which WILL take time no matter what anybody may claim to the
                                contrary.. Start out with a simple Paypal account which includes
                                primitive but workable credit card payment ability, gateway, and
                                shopping cart solutions all built in and integrated, but doesn't have a
                                long term commitment. This way, you can use Paypal to get started, then
                                when your site grows enough, you can easily without financial penalty
                                graduate up to a full fledged merchant account (which hopefully you'll
                                consult with us for setup). Setting up the Paypal account is EZ, just
                                click on *https://www.paypal.com/us/mrb/pal=2SXM26U7ZHJUA (*copy and
                                paste this to your browser), select 'sign up today' then "start now"
                                under business accounts for business owners, then under 'select
                                product' choose Website Payment Pro*.*

                                 


                                With this, I would have to disagree with Barry. Being an e-commerce developer, and having successfully managed thousands of client websites, I have to say doing it right from the beginning is the best way to get it done. Setup a merchant account from the very beginning. In business, you want things to be scalable, lest it cost you more in the long run when the time to "upgrade" or "switch" everything comes up when business is really rolling in. Setup the merchant account right away. Most have fees associated with them (usually a nominal fee like $20 per month or something), even if you aren't processing any sales, but this as most would come to know it, is the commonly referred to as "the cost of doing business". While it will take you some time to get things moving, having the things you need in place from the beginning, will make things easier, and scalable as business starts to increase. Further to this, is that when you accept ONE method of payment, and that payment method is PayPal, most people will get the impression that you are a small "mom and pop" type business, and while this is true, you need to project the image of a successful business, before you become one, and having your own merchant account will help you do just that. But don't just take my word for it, usability studies by other experts in my field will concur with what I just explained. For whatever reason, people just don't like to do business with "little guys" online! I respect Barry's opinion on this, and I think he is trying to point you in the right direction, but I think my experience in the field will stand the test of time in the advice I'm giving you. Your best solution is to go with the merchant account right from the beginning! The other, and probably most important reason you want your own merchant account, is because with PayPal, you do not see the customer's information, which increases the potential for fraudulent transactions. With your own merchant account, there are safeguards you can put in place to prevent fraud, and you also can control your transactions more readily (i.e. comparing billing address to shipping), whereas with PayPal, the only thing you see is the shipping address, and whether or not the address is "confirmed" in the person's paypal account. This won't help you if they just use their credit card on PayPal directly. And it won't help you if the shipping address is in Nigeria, while the billing address is in New York. With your merchant account, you have access to all this information, and can easily call the cardholder to confirm the transaction. If they tell you it's fraudulent, you simply cancel the transaction, nothing gained, nothing lost. With PayPal, this is something you wouldn't be able to see, and if you ship the product to the person committing the fraud, the REAL cardholder will simply dispute the charge, and their credit card issuer in most cases will only hold them liable for the first $50 of the transaction (if that -- some card companies like Capital One for example, have $0 liablity for their cardholders). They will dispute the charge to PayPal, and guess what PayPal will do. . .simply pass on the fraudulent charge to you. You will have lost out on both the merchandise, and the money for it! This isn't to say that PayPal isn't a viable option -- my argument is rather simple really. . .just don't make PayPal the ONLY option of payment you accept. Setup your own merchant account without any setup fees at http://www.freeauthnet.info or, setup with another 3rd party processor, like 2Checkout.com -- you'll be happy you did.*

                                 


                                Take a look at a few of these URL's to confirm what I'm telling you:

                                1) Webmaster World: http://www.webmasterworld.com/forum22/2843.htm

                                2) Webmaster World: http://www.webmasterworld.com/forum22/378.htm

                                3) http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/24776/paypal_vs_an_online_merchant_account.html

                                (All links above are RESPECTED forums or websites for like-minded ACTUAL e-commerce business owners)

                                Hope this helps. Call or email if I can be of any help. If you MUST
                                have a full fledged merchant account today, hope you'll call us. But
                                again in all honesty, I've been around a long time and I REALLY think
                                the approach I outlined above is your best bet.

                                 


                                Yes, while Barry has been around a long time, he is in a different business. I respect his response to you, but you need advice from those who have actually done, what they are suggesting that you do, and I am that person. Before starting my website development and search engine marketing company in 2001, in 1997, I had two e-commerce websites, and sold them both eventually for $160,000. To this day, my company still accepts credit cards directly. We also accept PayPal, and we also accept checks (we process checks electronically). Our chargeback rate is less than 0.001. We've had 6 chargebacks in 7 years, which is around 1 chargeback per year, and our fees are 1.89% per credit card transaction we process, and we only pay $10 per month for our statement/processing fees, etc. We have next day access to our funds -- which means if we process a credit card today before 5PM Eastern Time, we have the money in our business bank account the next day. We use Bank of America to process our credit cards. We started with FreeAuthnet.info, but then switched when Bank of America offered us credit card processing with next day access to our funds (with FreeAuthNet.info we had access to our funds within 48 hours, so they were still good). I'd recommend them, or Bank of America. Bank of America however will also do 48 hours too if you don't have a Bank of America account. In order to get the next day funds, you have to have an account with them. Also, ironically, while Barry told you to plug your business cards, etc. he also forgot to mention who important it is to have an e-mail address at your website, since this will help "brand" your presence. For example, my e-mail address is egillette@gsolutionsonline.net because my company's website is GSolutionsOnline.net. This is an important tool in helping you to "brand" your presence online. If you have any questions, or need any help with anything, please feel free to contact my company.*

                                 


                                My name is Eric Gillette
                                My company's phone number is 877-348-5552 x.726
                                My company's website is: http://www.gsolutionsonline.net

                                And if you want to "check me out" feel free to search on any search engine for "Eric Gillette". I'm usually in the first 5 results. Take care.

                                Barry G
                                AMS, Inc.
                                amspcs@juno.com
                                www.MerchantServices-help.com
                            • Re: Can You Help Me With My First Ecommerce?
                              webmasters Adventurer
                              Hello Tropicalia,

                              Keep doing what your doing. Go to and post on as many Forums as you can and submit the same post as you did here. It seems as if your website has received 13 visits as a result of your post here and you received good feedback.
                              Congrats on your first ecommerce website.

                               

                              Warm Regards,
                              -Webmaster
                              www.siteprohosting.com
                              1-858-605-0942
                              • Re: Can You Help Me With My First Ecommerce?
                                your_web_guy Adventurer
                                quite a bit of good info here, and without taking the time to read all the responses... lemme say a couple of things (which might have been stated earlier)

                                1) you need better urls... the .asp?product=blah&otherstuff=blahblah code is going to not make many search engines happy. Remember that SEO is per page, not per domain... each of your pages has a chance to be put in the top ten for a keyword. this is very useful because 1 top ten ranking for a high volume keyword brings in LESS (and less productive) traffic than hundereds of top ten listings for specific less volume keywords. Using htaccess you can have mod rewrite make those urls much more apealing to google and the rest.

                                2) make sure that whatever script you have running your back end submits your products to google product search (used to be called froogle). This is huge because your products will come up in searches for products much sooner than it will for keyword searches.

                                3) a good way to get out of the sandbox quicker is to pay for your domain name for several years at a time. You have done this so hopefully google will be pleased with that and hook you up soon.

                                4) trade links... with other clothiers preferably, but anyone will help - directories are a great way to get quick links to your site. just do a search for business directories or even clothing directories or any analog thereof and you will find lots.

                                hope this helps :)

                                Congratulations once more,
                                Your-Web-Guy
                                http://www.your-web-guys.com/
                                • Re: Can You Help Me With My First Ecommerce?
                                  thecrazyapple Newbie
                                  Yes I will recommend you to check this site www.guru.com you can find great designer from offshore for almost nothing. Also the site is based in the USA and is very secure to use. You will find from programmer to editor etc.........
                                  • Re: Can You Help Me With My First Ecommerce?
                                    intechspecial Ranger

                                    Site is going to be successful, once you can get your target market to site.

                                    Two suggestions:

                                    1. Offline Marketing
                                    2. Online Marketing

                                    1) Offline marketing entails anything you would normally do to advertise your business outside of the internet. (Newspaper, TV, business networking groups, etc).
                                    2) Online marketing entails Search Engine Optimization, Paid Advertising, Link Building, etc. Google Adwords would be a good start for you.

                                     

                                     

                                    intechspecial
                                    • Re: Can You Help Me With My First Ecommerce?
                                      eeon.net Wayfarer
                                      Not a bad looking site. Could use a few more images of the items on your models and not just hanging. What about your ecommerce side. Is it secure?

                                      CLA
                                      • Re: Can You Help Me With My First Ecommerce?
                                        onchie Newbie
                                        Hello,

                                        Congratulations on your first E-commerce. Its a typically designed normal website in the form of an online print advertisement. You will get your traffic I am sure but how much revenue it will generate remains the big question. At this stage what I advise you is to take all available opportunity to get the maximum exposure for your products to ensure continuity of increase in your sales and revenue.

                                        As an affiliate of SFI, I suggest that it is beneficial for your company to join TripleClicks to get that extra sales support and exposure for your products.

                                        Take note of these:

                                        1) TripleClicks have more than 100,000 sales affiliates including myself to help you promote your products to more than 190 countries worlwide.

                                        2) TripleClicks will provide your own customised Tconnect website.

                                        3) TripleClicks will also provide you the know-how in sales and marketing.

                                        These are some of the support you will get from the company at no cost.

                                        I suggest you visit this site and read along and you can register free.(www.tripleclicks.com/10971924/ECA)

                                        I will be happy to hear from you and share your future business successes.

                                        Be in touch and good luck.

                                         

                                        Ramon Del Rosario
                                        Affiliate
                                        SFI Nebraska, USA (www.sfimg.com/Reference/AboutSFI_pre.sfi)
                                        mondelrosario@yahoo.com