Well, you have probably figured out the good news by now; that there has been a recent finding of retail sales growing again. You may ask, how do you know? The National Retail Federation forecasts retail sales will be up 2.5 % in 2010. After a 2.5 % decline last year, this year’s retail sales will pretty much make up for all of last year’s losses.
But, have you prepared for it?
Although retail sales are forecasted to grow again, a typical retailer will just wait for the wave of new customers to come to his store. This is similar to the “If we build it, they will come” perception. However, nothing could be farther away from the truth.
Actually, one of the best investments a retailer could partake in is to set up an online store to complement his physical, brick-n-mortar store. According to Forrester Research Inc. forecasts e-commerce sales will double by the year 2012.
Furthermore and according to Forrester analyst Sucharita Mulpuru, one of the reasons for this growth in e-commerce sales is because sales are shifting from physical retail stores to online stores.
A retail store owner will agree with everything in this article and will nod his head at every point that has been made, but will ask the typical question: ” How do I sell online without paying too much money and wasting too much time?”
We know just how overwhelming it can be to find the right e-commerce solution seeing that the market is flooded with way too many options. Every retailer wants the best solution and for the best price. But how do we get that? Well, it’s simple, here are some basic guidelines:
1) Avoid buying software and stick with hosted solutions
As a business owner, your time is better spent on running the business itself, not figuring out the technical issues of installing software. The beauty with hosted software solutions is that the e-commerce vendor takes care of all of the technical issue for you. All you have to do is enter the products into your online store and make sure that the products get shipped for each order. Let someone else take care of the technical details.
2) Try out the free-trial of the e-commerce solution you’re considering
A free trial is a way for you to test drive the e-commerce solution before you actually invest money and time into it. However make sure that free trial does not contain the 3 C’s: No hidden costs, no hidden commitments, and no credit card required. You’d be surprised how many times people sign up to free trials only to receive diet pills for the next year.
3) Ask to see the transaction fee schedule
Oh man, the worst is when your online store gets big all of a sudden and your e-commerce provider tells you, “Oh, you didn’t know, we take a % of your sales, and this month you us $1,000,000!” An online store such as Yahoo would do just that, because they charge a small fee up-front but once your site gets popular, you pay through the nose.
4) Ask to see the cancellation policy
Come on now, you don’t want to pay a huge cancellation fee or continue to pay for a solution that you do not want. It’s simple, just ask to see the cancellation policy. Typically, you do not want to sign any long-term contracts, and you do not want to pay any cancellation fees should your online store not work out.
You bet your hat we do. Firstly, our software is a hosted solution, so you don’t have to install it nor do you have to manage the technical in’s and out’s of the online store.
Secondly, our free trial is free of the 3 C’s: No hidden costs, no credit card required, and no hidden commitments.
Thirdly, we only charge a flat monthly fee, regardless of how well your store does online. So there are no hidden transaction fees of any sort.
Last but not least, you are allowed to cancel anytime without any penalties. The only thing we ask for is a 30-day notice so that we may take care of transferring all of your store’s data to you. Simple enough!