Top Three Mistakes in Selecting an Ecommerce Platform

Do you want to build an internet business but need help in building the online storefront? Then you’ll need to know how to pick an ecommerce platform. An ecommerce platform is the actual store builder and shopping cart software that a business uses to present products, receive orders and process payments online.

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In a way, it is “the” store itself. Local businesses that are bringing their products online for the first time may become confused during the selection process because the offers of many ecommerce platforms tend to sound alike. And with so many available at in today’s market, how do you make the best choice?

Today, instead of just listing down what you should be looking for in an ecommerce platform, like the PinnacleCart eCommerce software solution, let us also tell you what to avoid. These are the top 3 mistakes that business owners commit when selecting an ecommerce platform:

Mistake # 1: Not knowing the advanced features of the platform.

All shopping cart software allows its users to perform the following basic tasks: uploading product images, setting product prices, receiving orders and processing payments. However, the first big mistake that you can commit when selecting a platform is being content with “just” the minimum features. Running a successful online store requires more than just being able to receive orders and process payments. You need to look into the future a bit and plan what your store may need. Trying to upgrade to a better ecommerce platform at a future date is not easy.

Additional features such as SEO-friendly store customization, mobile app integration, mobile Web capabilities, etc., all play a hand in improving the value of your online store. With today’s ultra-competitive market, not having access to advanced features that will help you stay in front of your paying customers can be considered tantamount to “throwing in the towel.”

Mistake # 2: Basing your decision solely on price.

There will always be ecommerce platforms that offer “dirt cheap” monthly subscriptions but they will likely come with certain limitations or upsells to stick you with later. It’s very easy to be tempted by these offers initially, especially if your business is already spending so much on other expenses (your new Web staff being one of them).

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The issue that we have with this approach to selecting shopping cart software is that it’s based on price instead of on a thorough examination of the actual features of the platform. Like we’ve said before, every online business has specific needs and it’s imperative that you first start with these needs instead of just looking at the software price tags.

Price and value aren’t mutually exclusive, in most cases. If you want to be competitive and want to provide value, you have to find an ecommerce platform that provides more than the basic features so you start with features that help you reach and sell to your market, and so you can scale up your operations easily when the time comes.

Mistake # 3: Being content with only a handful of shipping options and payment gateways.

Shipping options and payment gateways are the lifeblood of online retailing. People want more value for their money nowadays and discounted/free shipping should be just one of the options you provide your customers to encourage them to complete the sale.

Your ecommerce platform should have functionality that will allow you to easily offer additional shipping and payment options, so you can cater to a much larger segment of the market. Otherwise, people who can’t get good deals from your online store will simply head over to the next one.

Not understanding the features of your software, making decisions based on price and not offering enough option with shipping and payment are the top three mistakes business owners make when they select an ecommerce platform. Avoid these mistakes and you’ll be well on your way to setting up a successful online company!

If you have more questions about how to select ecommerce software, check out the expert eCom team at PinnacleCart. They’re always happy to help.



How eCommerce has Changed Over the Years

The advent and rise of E-Commerce has led to a great transformation in the process of executing business activities. Its impact is not restricted to the economic sphere. Rather, it has a social impact as well. For example, the relative importance of time has been redefined. Similarly, dissemination of instant information plays a positive role in informing the consumers and protecting their rights. In other words, E-commerce has evolved drastically since its invention and it continues to do so.

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To start with, there was the question for acceptance of E-commerce as a reliable mode of doing business. In 1979. Michael Aldrich, the English entrepreneur, innovator, and inventor, made a comprehensive demonstration of the pioneer shopping system. This laid the foundation for future advancement in E-commerce.

Second, E-commerce started gaining popularity in Business-to-Business marketing. This was mainly significant in sourcing goods that are used in the production process. In addition to that, outsourcing become a cost efficient way of running business operations and E-commerce came in handy in the outsourcing process.

For example, manufacturers started seeking the services of accounting firms for the purpose of auditing their finances. In other words, E-commerce became part and parcel of the supply chain and a great determinant of a product life cycle. By the end of 2001, B2B business model was already a $ 700 billion industry.

Another great example is clothing retailers. Boutique options, such as Plus Size Lingerie from Angelique, are now giving us the convenience of many different styles, as well as the ability to have these items delivered directly to our door.

Third, doing business locally and nationally is a commendable thing. However, it may translate to more competition and concentration of risk. E-commerce enabled online businesses to seek expansion opportunities abroad. It should be noted that the development of security protocols played a critical role in promoting the use of online platforms in entrepreneurship. This is because the protocols ensured faster connection and more rapid access to the internet connection.

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Fourth, the retail industry had to adapt to the rapid changes provided by E-commerce. In particular, it has been able to reach the next generation shoppers- the young demographic group that uses the web to search for almost everything. The video and music industry has taken the greatest prominence in this with young people making a more pronounced supply order through online platforms. Similarly, all generations have used downloadable media to access books.

Fifth, the use of the smart phones was another crucial step in E-commerce. The desktop have been popular for many years, and they are still popular. But the fact that they are cumbersome is eroding their popularity. Furthermore, the use of mobile phone websites and apps has increased the use of smartphones.

Lastly, the use of the social media took E-commerce by storm. The social media was originally a place of “hanging out” without serious business going on. Online entrepreneurs moved away from tradition and started going to where the consumers are- on the social media. Today, it is unthinkable to exclude a marketing strategy without using the social media in at least part of the strategy.

E-commerce is not restricted to shopping. Rather, it now includes fixing the doctor’s appointment, banking, retirement planning, and planning for holidays. The good thing is that E-commerce has a lot of potential fore growth. Overall, entrepreneurs should renew their commitment to E-commerce in order to achieve high traffic and realize optimal profits.



The Best Apps for Searching a Home

Sometime ago, one could only rely on the real estate agents in order to get information about the search of a new home. Today, with just a smartphone, one can peruse through thousands of listings and make a successful search for a new home depending on one’s needs and preferences. Mortgage companies, real estate firms, and listings, offer thousands of free smart phone apps that can help someone to get a share of the American Dream.

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Daniel Terdiman, a writer at CNET.com says that effective home-hunting apps employ the global-positioning system in order to locate where one is. Consequently, the apps provide a wealth of data and information on the listings that are in one’s proximity based on various variables such as the neighborhood, price, and preferred amenities.

Redfin

Its website has an intuitive interface and its web developers have taken a lot of time to investigate what potential home seekers really want. It employs a powerful search engine and a touchscreen map in order to check the current listings. All one needs to do is to key in “current location” or the name of the desired city.

Terdiman emphasizes that this app does a good job in specifying if a certain home is “under agreement.” What this means is that the negotiations about its sale are going on between the seller and a potential buyer. In such cases, it is not advisable to concentrate on such a home.

Zillow

Zillow.com has been instrumental in providing the famous “Zestimates”. These refers to providing a rough estimate (projected market value) of virtually every house in America. In addition to that, you are going to get data and information of the homes that have been sold recently (even Gold Canyon Homes for Sale). Moreover, you can get information about homes that are in the foreclosure stage but are not yet in the market. Such information helps a potential client decide if to buy a new home or re-finance the existing home. Furthermore, you are able to access rates with mortgage providers and initiate contact with a lender.

Evernote

This app passes as a digital filling system. It has played a critical role in eliminating the use of paperwork. It can also help you to do the following:

– Create a to-do list that will be of great help in securing a home
– Can help you write notes and attach photos of each home toured
– Share notes with collaborators such as the spouse or the real estate agent

Credit Karma

One of the greatest determinant of the ability to secure a home is the credit score. A bad credit score translate to low chances of getting finances to secure a home. Credit Karma is an app that provides information about credit scores. Most importantly, it helps someone improve their credit score in order to improve the chances of home financing.

Other reliable apps include the following:

– HomeSnap
– Realtor.com
– Trulia
– Bankrate.com

The internet has revolutionized the options of finding a home. In particular, the use of apps is providing more precise information on searching for a home. All one needs to know is to check out for the reliable apps in order to make an informed decision in the process of searching for a home.



The History of Search Engine Marketing

The advent of the world web is perhaps the most significant and far-reaching invention of all discoveries in human history. This is because of the magnitude of impact that it did have on lifestyle and way of doing things. For instance, the business world was quick to exploit the immense opportunities provided by the internet in enhancing interaction with other business players as well as the clients. It could be said that Search Engine Marketing (SME) is the main driver of this business interaction.

In 1994, Greg Boser, realized that he could use the internet in order to promote his protective foam equipment in order to effectively fight fires. Consequently, he developed a website that would inform potential clients about his products and services and how they would reach him.

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In 1996, OpenText develeped a paid search business model that would play an instrumental role in financing businesses. The main purpose of the system was the use of keywords in order to to do a significant highlight of relevant businesses, products, or services. Being 1996, there was little emphasis in commercialized search listing.

Still in 1996, Christine Churchill made a discovery of the immense potential of internet marketing. She developed some websites for her employer. However, her greatest challenge was the high level of maintenance that was required in order to keep the websites the websites running. Consequently, she liaised with the IT experts and other marketing professionals in order to learn the best way of responding to that.

GoTo.com, one of the most pronounced search engines by then, introduced the pay-per replacement business model. It went ahead to develop the bidding process (otherwise known as the auction method). What this meant was that the advertiser would pay a bid amount every time a user clicked his or her ad. Advertisers appreciated this as a potential marketing opportunity and did not hesitate to pay upto a dollar for every click.

Lastly, major competitors such as Google entered the scene in 1997 in in order to influence how data is organized, indexed and delivered. For example, during the onset of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) marketers would utilize any marketing strategies- whether ethical or unethical. Business owners would leverage spamming, keyword stuffing, and extreme tagging in order to achieve a favorable ranking in search engine indexing. Companies such as Google and Yahoo came up with stringent measures that would heavily penalize such negative SEO strategies.

The modern search engine marketing age has the benefit of more improved technology and better technological gadgets. In addition to that, search engines have increased ranking opportunities in order to respond to the trends of the modern world. For example, business can now use social signals in order to improve their ranking.

However, the modern search engine marketing faces big challenges as far as privacy and cyber crime is concerned. Hacking of websites is now more common and that damages the reputation of a business. Moreover, it leads to exposure of clients’ private information. Similarly, cyber crime costs businesses a lot of losses and this undermines their marketing strategies as well as outcomes.

The future of Search Engine Marketing is optimistic. Marketing strategists are keen to study the history of SME in order to learn from its success and mistakes. The advancement in technology combined with a more aggressive marketing research strategy is going to tremendously improve the SME landscape.



What It Means to Have a Strong Online Presence

Having a strong online process is one of the greatest concerns of online businesses. In fact, businesses have not hesitated to invest their capital and human resource in order to remain ahead of competition. However, entrepreneurs ought to gain a comprehensive understanding of what it means to have a strong online presence.

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The term online presence refers to the total sum of all personal and business-driven business identities and the consequent interactions that those identities have established through the web. It is a gradual and continuous process that cannot be achieved overnight. Thus, it requests strategic planning and patience.

What It Means to Have a Strong Online Presence

There are various indicators and parameters that can be used to evaluate the online presence of an online business and determine if it is indeed healthy, strong, and consequential. To start with, the website of the company is one of the most obvious and basic ways of assessing the extent of the health of a business. The website of a business is the face of a business; and it is an effective tool of evaluating the level of its professionalism.

In connection to this, a professional website should have the following at the minimum:

  • A well-defined message on the nature of your business
  • About us page
  • Easy navigation
  • Room for feedback
  • Contact information

Second, a strong online online presence is characterized by a strong social media impact. These include Twitter, Pininterest, and Facebook. They play a critical role in improving the brand of the company. The more social media channels you use, the wider the audience. Nevertheless, one should be ready to tailor the social media method to use with the target audience.

Third, having a strong online presence means that you define your marketing goals. Time and resources are limited. Consequently, businesses can only afford to execute functions that have minimal input and have maximum output. Therefore, it is important to avoid wasteful marketing.

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Fourth, proponents of internet marketing have long emphasized that content is king. In this regard, one should make sure that he or she provides valuable content. This can be in the form of books, podcasts, video, or blogs. Creating a strong online presence means that you have ability to be an authoritative voice in a certain field. In other words, you develop a niche. Providing value to you online visitors increases your online visibility and growth.

Lastly, having a strong online presence means that you are able to track your progress. It all starts with carrying a comprehensive research on a certain marketing strategy and assessing if it would work for you.

The following are strategies of tracking your online presence:

  • Checking the number of likes
  • Checking the number of Twitter followers
  • Tracking traffic through using Google Analytics
  • Reputation building through guest posting

Entrepreneurs ought to evaluate the shifting trends in the global market environment regarding online practices so that they can retain their competitiveness. Overall, having an strong online presence will help a business to appear legitimate in the eyes of the consumers. Perhaps, learning from the successful online businesses is not a bad way to start.