- Understand that these sales are called sample sales, but in many cases, you actually aren’t buying samples. You’re buying clothing from the lines that your favorite designers create. Online sample sales are attractive to designers because they gets their brand name out there and let them sell out when there is a surplus of certain items. Or, a designer can use these sample sales to get rid of last season’s merchandise.
- Get invitation codes. To participate in these designer clothing sales, you’ll need to be invited. The benefit to needing an invitation code to join is that only a limited number of people are users of the sites.
- Sign up for daily designer sale reminders. Each site allows you to sign up for daily reminders so you know which sales will be starting each day. This is great for fashionistas who want to grab their items immediately when designer sales begin. Don’t be alarmed by your inbox filling up with email; each site has an email address that clearly identifies what site it is (One Kings Lane, Row Nine, One Kings Lane, etc. will show up in your from line) and what the daily sales are. You won’t even have to click in to most emails to know what’s on sale that day.
- Shop as soon as each sale begins. Popular items, especially Juicy Couture, Gucci, Coach and Fendi, sell out fast. As soon as a sale starts, log on. If you want an item, put it in your cart. You can always put it back if you don’t want it. You just need to claim your items before anyone else does.
- Understand the differences between each sample sale site. Gilt features women’s clothing, men’s clothing, travel destinations and more. Beyond the Rack features a lot of accessories such as bags and sunglasses. One King’s Lane features only home decor. Ideeli allows you to pay a yearly fee and receive early access to sample sales.
- Invite friends to join the sample sale websites. When each person you invite makes a purchase, you get a credit between $10 and $50 — depending on the site — toward a future purchase of your own. You will receive $25 when each referral to Ideeli makes her first purchase and $50 with Row Nine.
- Check woot.com every day and as early as possible. Woot.com updates at midnight. Check the site early to ensure that you have the best possibility of buying the product. If you don’t check the site daily, you may miss something you may have purchased.
- RSS. Sign up for woot’s RSS feed at http://www.woot.com/blog/rss.aspx. Getting the feed will help you to remember to check the site daily, thus providing you with the best opportunity to purchase the extremely discounted items.
- Woot-Off. Sometimes woot.com will change their format a bit and offer a “woot-off”. A woot-off lasts anywhere from 24-72 hours and is unannounced by woot.com. A woot-off means that when a product sells out, a new one becomes available so several products may be available during the term of the woot-off.
- Random Crap. Instead of a legitimate product, woot.com will offer Random Crap, a grab bag of miscellaneous products kicking around the warehouse, however don’t be deceived into thinking it is garbage. The BOC, “Bag O’ Crap” is can contain several dollar store type items or significantly more expensive items, making the one dollar investment worth that much more.
- Product launches. Woot occationally partners up with various companies in order to launch new products. An animated rocket ship on the page identifies a product launch and that the product, for that day, is only available through woot.com.
- 2-for-Tuesday. Every Tuesday woot offers a two-pack product, doubling your savings! Sometimes the packs will even be more than two.
- Woot Wine. If you are looking to purchase luxurious wines at discount prices, keep your eye on wine.woot.com for great deals.
- Woot Shirt. Check out shirt.woot.com for great prices on shirts. Watch for random shirt day, where you can receive a random t-shirt at an extremely discounted price.
- Compare prices online. Using a search engine, compare the prices of roses that a few different suppliers charge for the amount that you need. Most sites have a price estimator, even down to the shipping costs. Comparison shopping online is just as important as in person because everyone wants the best (meaning cheapest) deal possible; this is especially important if you’re buying a significant number of roses.
- Consider finding a supplier near you so the shipping charge doesn’t overshadow your quantity bargain, if you are buying real roses. If you are buying artificial flowers, the location of the supplier probably won’t matter, as time does not have such an effect on the look of the flowers.
- Consider skipping the shipping bill altogether and just picking up your purchase if you own the means to do so and the supplier isn’t far. Some suppliers of bulk flowers allow buyers to pick up their merchandise.
- Enter the proper information on your order form. This information includes the receiver’s name, address, phone number, and payment information. Including the correct shipping information is especially important if you need the flowers delivered somewhere other than where you live or your place of business.
- Click “Commit,” “Send,” or “Order” on the final page of your process. This is, of course, the most important step because it finalizes your order and gets the ball rolling on your bulk roses. At this point your screen may or may not tell you if you’ve left out or mistyped some crucial information on your order form. Be sure to print your confirmation page in case of a mix-up.
- Be at the place of delivery when the roses are to be dropped off. It is impossible for the delivery person to wait around with a truck full of flowers, so it is important to be ready for the delivery. You could risk wilted or ruined real roses over this step or a delay in your delivery in the case of artificial roses.
Online Auction Sites
- Online auction sites offer the flexibly of online shopping with the opportunity to pick up inexpensive fashion pieces. Both new and used clothes are sold on online auction sites, with many items starting at around $1. Auction sites are useful places to clear out your closet and make some cash back on items of clothing you no longer like. Make sure you know your measurements before bidding, because not all sellers offer refunds. Check shipping costs before placing a bid.
- Thrift and vintage stores offer some quirky, retro pieces, and many items are cheap. Vintage sizing often is smaller than today’s sizing, so try clothes on before purchasing. Don’t dismiss bargain items that are a little too big. A friend who likes to sew or local seamstress may be able to take in a dress or shorten a hem for a small charge.
Savvy Sales Shopping
- Pick up end-of-season clothing during the sales. Don’t fall into the common shopping trap of buying tons of items that you’ll never wear just because they are cheap. Shop smartly if you want to get real value for money. Look out for classic cuts and colors that will last season after season. Leave the fad, trend-led pieces behind. Make a list of items you need before entering the store, and shop only for items from your list.
- Cheap clothes may be your goal, but it’s also possible to get clothes for free. Hold a clothes swap party with friends or family members if you want accumulate new clothes and get rid of your old ones. Ask friend to bring four or five items that she is prepared to swap. That way, you can shop from each other’s closets without spending a dime.
Online sample sale websites, Zappos.com, eBay, Craigslist and a few ritzy off-price retailers sell cheap designer handbags everyday to bargain fashionistas from Miami to Maine. In addition, savvy shoppers are looking for cheap Chanel handbags and cheap Louis Vuitton handbags online, quick and fast. If you love authentic designer handbags, you’re just a mouse click away from finding your own buying cheap designer purses online.
- Look for deals on cheap designer handbags at Overstock.com, Zappos.com and Bluefly.com. There are a multitude of internet sites that sell fake designer handbags. To be sure that you are buying a real designer purse, only shop at retailers that purchase authentic bags as overstock items from luxury department stores and boutiques.
- Head over to eBay or Craigslist to score sweet designer handbag deals for less. Celebrity shopping divas like the Kardashians have eBay boutiques where they unload their designer duds and purses for handbag lovers on a budget. If you are lucky, you can find a cheap designer purse on at online swapping and selling site like Craigslist for a steal.
- Sign up for cheap designer handbag deals at online sample sale and designer deal websites. Hautelook, Gilt Group and Ideeli all sell cheap Coach handbags and deeply discounted designer purse deals each week. Become a member of these shopping sites to get a daily email advertising their online purse deals and shopping bonanzas.
- Shop at online designer consignment stores. Most ritzy designer consignment stores have a fresh selection of Prada, Burberry, Balenciaga and Coach handbags from fashionistas who cannot wear the same item twice. Take advantage of the cheap designer handbag selections found at online consignment boutiques.
- If you’ve yet to discover the world of online sample sales, you’re sure to be surprised by how low designer prices can go. Designers often create more merchandise than they’re able to sell. In order to get rid of the excess merchandise, they host sample sales, selling their wares at deeply discounted prices. More often than not, designers will agree to have an outside organization produce the sample sale on their behalf. If you live in a fashion mecca like New York City, it’s easy to visit these sales and browse all the beautiful clothing and accessories in person. However, Web-based companies like Hautelook.com and Gilt Groupe feature online sample sales in which anyone can participate.
- It’s free and easy to sign up to shop at www.hautelook.com. The dynamic, user-friendly website showcases designer clothing, shoes and accessories by premium designers such as Cynthia Vincent and Elizabeth and James at up to 75 percent off. New sales occur daily and last for approximately 24 hours. Hautelook sends sale announcements to its members via email, but won’t litter your inbox with spam. An added bonus is the ability to watch informative videos about the featured designers.
- Like Hautelook, Gilt Groupe uses email to alert its members to its daily sample sales for men, women and children. Found at www.gilt.com, the site hosts sales by top-tier designers like Oscar De La Renta and Kate Spade. Access to the site is by invitation only, but browsing fashion blogs and magazines, asking around or even performing some savvy Googling will easily score you entrance to this “exclusive” club. Members who invite their friends receive an extra $25 off any purchase, so you’ll be doing others a favor by asking them to send you an invitation.
- Not only does www.ideeli.com host sample sales, it also provides frequent giveaways featuring new merchandise from designers like Marc Jacobs and Bill Blass. The site is, like gilt.com, accessible only to members, but asking around on fashion forums like www.retailmenot.com will quickly get you the inside scoop.
- While not an online sample sale, Shopittome is a great way to locate designer clothing at discount prices. Sign up for free at www.shopittome.com to receive daily emails listing on sale items in your size, by designers and stores of your choice. You’ll be able to score heavily discounted items by top designers like Dian Von Furstenburg, as well as learn about sales at stores like The GAP and J. Crew without having to scour the Internet yourself.
- If member registration isn’t your thing, not to worry. Online sample sales open to the public happen all the time, and you can learn about them simply by browsing your favorite fun-to-read blogs. Here are some websites that are more than happy to share sample sale news with their readers:www.dailycandy.comwww.chicalert.com
Ther are deals all over the internet, from Clothing to Jewelry to Tires to Computers. The trick is to find them! I personally like buying deals from online stores rather than eBay, because usually the products are exactly described and many come with original warranties!
Here are some helpful tips on looking for products at great prices.
- MAJOR RETAILERS- Most major retailers have online stores websites. And a majority of these sites have a “Clearance, sale, or bargain” section to the site. Some of these sections are somewhat hidden, as the retailer would rather you purchase a non-sale item instead of a “sale” item. I will use Banana Republic and their website for this example. Go to www.bananarepublic.com, from there choose the type of clothes that you are interested in. I have chosen Mens Clothing for this example. Now view the image that I have included. You will see at the bottom that there is a little link called “Sale”, this is where the deals are at from Banana Republic. WOW, a $60 shirt for $20, thats 66% off! I’m gonna look sharp at a fraction of the cost.
- SMALL RETAILERS – You might be amazed on how many small retailers that either only sell online or have a store and website. Again, here is another example. I will use Cycle Gear as an example. Go to www.cyclegear.com and look for the “Specials tab” as show in the picture that I have attached. Dang, $60 OFF a pair of the best Motocross boots ever made! Now, if I was looking to grab these, I might just print this out and head down to the shop to make sure they fit and buy them there.
- MANUFACTURERS – Many manufactures sell products online. Many of these companies also sell discounted, discontinued and/or refurbished items at a steal. Again sometimes these items are hard to find on a site. I will use Apple for this example. Go to www.apple.com, click on the “Store” tab and scroll to the bottom left. You will see “refurbished macs”. Click on it. Schweeet. A $2000 note book fpor $1400, thats a quick $600 dollar saving.
- CONCLUSION – As you can see finding deals isn’t really that tough. You would be amazed on how many people don’t realize it. My next article “How to use Deals.com”, I will show you how to use a deals website (Deals.com) that allows you to share deals that you find and also lets you get deals that others have posted. The site makes finding and sharing deals SOOO EASY.
An increasing number of Internet users are shopping online these days. While it’s true that many people browse online and shop offline, there is plenty of money to be made in ecommerce.
Aspiring small business owners are often intimidated by the prospect of starting an online store, because they fear that it will be expensive and difficult. But there are ways that one can get started in the world of ecommerce with very little startup capital and a minimal amount of web design know-how.
- Find something to sell. If you are a crafter or have connections with suppliers, this part will be pretty easy. If not, there are sources online that will drop-ship products for you. That means that you get the orders through your website and collect payment, then you send payment to the company and they ship the products directly to your customer.
- Design your website, or have someone else do it for you. See the Resources section below for some options for learning how to do it yourself. Some web hosts also offer website builders as part of their hosting packages, or you can buy software that will allow you to design a website with ease.
- Sign up for an account with Mal’s E-commerce if shopping cart software is not included with your web hosting. This free service allows ecommerce store owners to put a simple shopping cart on their sites. Orders can be viewed on the Mal’s website.
- Sign up for a business PayPal account. Processing payments through PayPal eliminates the need to qualify for an expensive merchant account to accept credit cards. Buyers can pay for purchases with a credit or debit card without signing up for a PayPal account, and they can also send e-checks if they do have an account. PayPal integrates nicely with Mal’s E-commerce, and they have a free shopping cart of their own as well if you prefer to use it.
- Optimize your site for the search engines. That means including lots of keyword-rich content. This can be accomplished with articles, descriptive category pages and detailed product descriptions.
- Check out your competition. Compare online grocery stores to learn how they operate and what they charge. Pay attention to site navigation–getting where you want to go without running a gauntlet of pull-down menus, links and roadblocks. Assess pricing structures and delivery policies. Make notes about aesthetics, like the colors chosen by the web designer to build the brand’s identity.
- Fund your online grocery store with a home equity line of credit, collateralized business loan, investment funds from venture capitalists or another source of cash. Present lenders with a business plan drawn up to show that you understand the financial risk, operational requirements and vendor relationships that can make or break an online grocery store.
- Rent a warehouse. Install industrial refrigeration units, racking, shelving and packing tables, if these essentials aren’t already in place. Put in a conveyor belt system to help speed the process, if you have enough capital. Obtain standard food handling licenses and permits. Buy insurance to protect your online grocery investment. Affiliate with wholesale food brokers and purveyors. Set up accounts with wholesale butchers, dairies, farmers, bakers and other resources.
- Purchase software to design your online grocery website, like Dreamweaver, pay a fee to have the job done by an online firm offering low-cost pre-designed site templates or hire a professional web designer to accomplish the task. Establish a system for updating and hosting your site once it goes live or affiliate with a hosting service so that you may focus on being a grocer.
Establish business relationships with credit card companies, PayPal and others, offering another payment method for shoppers who prefer not to use their cards online.
- Order packing supplies, like plastic and paper grocery bags, boxes and containers. Consider going green and using plastic tubs or reusable bags that can be filled at your online grocery store’s picking and packing area and used for deliveries to conserve resources. Keep plastic carriers clean and disinfected so food isn’t compromised.
- Publicize your online grocery store on the Internet. Place print ads in publications. Count on word-of-mouth referrals to market your store. Keep an eye on markups to stay competitive with other online grocers, while striving to offer loyal customers the best and newest products on the market.
- Build a website geared toward grocery shopping; include online ordering, product features and description, and information about the service. Establish a merchant account through your bank for credit card processing or utilize a free merchant service such as PayPal. Create a page on your website that gathers customer information. Give the customer the opportunity to receive emails about your service from time to time. Include discounts and promotions on your website to generate business and interest.
- Ask customers to be specific about their requests. For example, customers should request organic Granny Smith apples, not just apples. This helps eliminate confusion and misunderstandings. Give customers an area on your website where they can communicate specific needs and restrictions.
- Offer customers a variety of delivery methods—same day delivery (if ordering before noon), next-day delivery (if ordered by 6 p.m.), non-rush delivery (needed within 2 to 3 business days). Give the customer options on how to receive products. Indicate what area you’re servicing. Charge an extra delivery fee for customers outside of your service area. Ask customers to get in holiday shopping orders within two days of service. Indicate prices on your website for each delivery option upon checkout.
- Tell customers online what stores you endorse. Customers may request certain stores for their groceries. Give customers the option of using your endorsements or, for an extra fee, shopping for them at their choice of stores.
- Purchase extra refrigeration and freezing needs for customers’ orders. You need ways to keep food fresh for customers who don’t need service until the next day. Buy commercial-level refrigeration and freezing needs in your home or place of business if you need to.
- Create a return policy. Enforce a fee for returning food if a customer changes his mind about products received. Offer a one-time return for food such as fruit or vegetables that is not up to a customer’s standards. Ask customers online whether they want to waive their return option. Offer a small discount (i.e., 1 percent from total bill) to waive the option to return goods.
- Do your research and find out what would be the best software for you to use for your online flower shop. See if it is a program you can work yourself or if you have to hire someone to build your shop.
- Create your online flower shop with the help of someone who knows computer programming if you do not know how to. Look for the best deals when it comes to getting a webmaster to build your site. Decide if you will take orders online or run a retail shop only.
- Obtain inventory. Make sure you have a reliable supplier so you will get regular flower deliveries at a good price. Buy the type of flowers you are prepared to sell on your website. Make sure you have your webmaster create or upload all of these photos of your arrangements and baskets on your website.
- Design flowers by mixing different types of flowers and greenery together. Make your arrangements and gift baskets unique from the rest of your competition. Teach yourself flower design or take some community college classes to improve your skills if you are a bit rusty.
- Decide if you will ship flowers out of state and worldwide, or just delivery locally by car or truck. Find the best method to keep your flower arrangements fresh and to be delivered quickly.
- Start advertising your services both online and offline. Place an ad in your local newspaper and yellow pages, and also put yourself in gift directories online. List yourself in flower directories online and get a placement ad in your local papers. Make some business cards with your online address.
Creating the Website
- The most important part of online grocery shopping is the website itself. The website should have a complete list of groceries that are able to be delivered as well as the prices for each item. This website should then have a “shopping cart” where a user can add items to a list of things to be ordered, as well as view and edit items that she is planning to purchase. Finally, this website should have the ability for the user to enter her address and pay for the order.
Filling the Order and Shipping
- The next step is to take the submitted order and use it to collect and deliver the items on the list. In general, fulfillment of the grocery order needs to be done manually by a stockboy or other employee. This process can be made easier by having a well-organized room where the products can be easily and efficiently located. The stock person should also check to make sure that the items placed in the order match the list that the user created. Then, once the order has been compiled, the collection of food needs to be placed in a vehicle and delivered to the customer.
Restocking and Processing Payments
- Clearly, it is critical to ensure that all the items listed on the website are in stock and able to be shipped. As a result, the stock room needs to be carefully checked to ensure inventory levels are sufficient. Also, it is important to have the ability to obtain and process payments made by credit card. Also, in order to encourage repeat customers, it can be helpful to require customers to have a user name, which would allow information to be stored. This can also help create “suggested” carts of food items they commonly purchase.
- A web server hosts an online store and e-commerce hosting provides the functions required to create, operate and manage an online store. Web hosting features include the shopping cart software, SSL protocol, database support, payment processing services, security features and other functions. E-commerce hosting is a service that web-hosting service providers offer in addition to the web server needed to host the site
- An online store requires a domain name to set up its online presence. The business owner registers a domain name with a registrar and links it to the online store. The domain name is a store’s online identify.
Dedicated IP Address
- An online store’s web server has an IP address that allows the user to connect to the server. In turn, an online store encrypts the data that flows between a browser and web server using the SSL protocol to protect customer data. A private SSL certificate ensures customers the website is secure.
Shopping Cart Software
- Shopping cart software, or e-commerce software, powers an online site. The software supports the online store catalog and order processing. You can purchase this software through various vendors or hire a developer to create a shopping cart for you.
- A shopping cart interfaces with a merchant account with a financial institution that’s required to process a credit card payment over the Internet in real-time. You obtain the merchant account needed for your payment system from a bank. The payment system can integrate with the billing system.
- The product catalog is a virtual gateway that provides customers a listing of available products and their descriptions, their classification as well as a retrieval function. It consists of category pages and product listing pages. Using the product catalog, the customer can order goods, make payments, access customer service, provide feedback and perform other functions.
Online Payment Processor
- An online payment processor allows an online store to accept credit card payments. A payment gateway validates the credit card data and then processes the transaction. After decreasing the payment amount by the processing fee, the gateway deposits the remainder into the online store’s bank account.
Shipping Costs Calculator
- Shipping costs can be calculated after the customer places an item in a shopping cart. After or before the order is finalized, the calculator then determines the shipping fee based on the criteria entered by the online store customer. For example, shipping costs may be calculated on the basis of weight, destination and other criteria.
- An online sale is not complete until taxes have been calculated. The online store site manager updates the tax rates on a periodic basis. You can also purchase software that automatically updates the tax rates. Some shipping companies provide software to merchants to ensure the rates are current.
- If you’re scratching your head wondering why H&M doesn’t sell its clothing online, you’re probably not alone. Via its “Frequently Asked Questions” section, the Swedish clothier apologizes for the inconvenience and explains only that it “is not set up for mail order, phone orders or e-commerce at the present time.” However, H&M’s website does feature a photo gallery of styles that are currently in stores.
- H&M does sell its fashions online for a select group of European countries, including Austria, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Holland, Norway and Sweden.
- While you may not find every item in every size and color, H&M items are easily found online within auction and secondhand retail websites. For example, H&M clothing can be purchased on websites like eCRATER and eBid, as found in the Resources section.
Using Your Debit Card Online
Most websites use a checkout process that includes steps to enter your contact, shipping and billing information. If your debit card has a Visa or MasterCard symbol, it can be used on websites that accept those credit cards.
When you are ready to purchase, click Checkout or the website’s equivalent option. Some sites may use Finish Shopping or Done. Some websites have options for members to log in or to create an account, or to shop as a guest. Choose the best option and click Continue.
- If you plan to shop at the website often, creating an account saves time during the checkout process for future orders.
Enter your billing information, including your name, contact info and address. If your shipping information is the same as your billing address, click Ship to this Address. If you are purchasing a gift or your mailing address is different from your billing address, choose Ship to Different Address. You’ll be directed to a Shipping section to enter the shipping information. When finished, click Continue.
- Some sites have an option to click if the purchase is a gift. This can be used if you plan to ship to a different recipient without sharing the invoice or billing information.
Most of the time if you order online, the purchase will be shipped to you. Choose your shipping method and click Continue.
- Some companies or stores allow in-store pickup for local purchases, but you’ll still need to complete the address information for billing.
When the website prompts you to enter your payment info, select Credit Card to pay with your debit card.
In the pop-up, make sure you have a secure connection and then enter your debit card information exactly as it is on your card. Your card number is the 16-digit card number on the front of the card. Enter the expiration date in the format shown on the form. Find your Card Verification Value (CVV), a four-letter code, on the back of your card and enter it in the box. Click Save. On the payment information section, click Continue to proceed. Review your order for accuracy and click Done or the website’s equivalent option. Some websites use Pay Now or Complete Order.
- A secure connection means that the data is encrypted before it’s sent to the server to protect the information from hackers. The padlock icon and “https” in front of the website address indicate a secure connection.
Keeping Your Information Safe
Always check that the website has a secure connection before entering personal information. If you don’t see the padlock icon or “https” in front of the website address, your information won’t be encrypted and could be accessible to hackers.
Always avoid using public Wi-Fi to make purchases. If you don’t need a password to access the Internet, others may be able to see the information you enter.
Although it may save time to have your browser store your debit card information, if your computer is stolen, the thief can use the browser to make purchases with the saved information. Avoid saving sensitive data and use a password to protect laptops and other connected devices in case of theft.
What Will You Sell?
- A Web-based store gives you the option to sell physical or digital product that you create or that you get from a third party. For example, you can offer e-books that you write or retail products through a wholesaler that provides drop shipping. While jumping into a hot trend looks enticing, you may struggle to get up to speed on the ins and outs of the product category. Sticking close to home by selling a product related to your own area of expertise reduces the learning curve and lets you develop marketing materials that don’t just scratch the surface. Some online entrepreneurs go with products or topics they are passionate about, as that passion helps carry them through the inevitable rough patches in building a business.
Setting Up Your Store
- If you plan to set up an independent store, you need to deal with a few essential requirements. You need to buy a domain name that reflects your business name or directly ties to your products. You also need to get a Web host with a track record for reliability and robust security, as you do not want to lose sales from downtime or face a data breach. To actually sell products, you need an e-commerce solution that includes a secure shopping cart. Many Web hosts provide e-commerce solutions or you can install a self-hosted e-commerce package. If that sounds too technical, hosted e-commerce packages typically give you a drag-and-drop store builder, and the company handles the technical elements.
If You Build It, Will They Come?
- A successful online store demands marketing in the same way a physical store demands marketing. You can choose from a variety of options to promote your store. For example, you can purchase ads that appear in keyword searches or through ad networks. You can trade banner ad space with other stores. A popular approach for stores selling digital products is to develop an email list that lets you market directly to previous and potential customers, after the obligatory double opt-in. Do not forget about tried-and-true practices, such as asking for referrals from your customers and developing guest blog posts or articles that appear on other people’s websites.
Things to Consider
- Even after you pick a product type or category, establish an online store and promote the store, establishing a steady stream of customers takes time. If available, watch the metrics to see how customers get to your store. Those metrics show you the promotional methods that work, which lets you focus your marketing efforts in those channels. Also, develop a set of baseline goals, such as revenue or volume of sales, which you must achieve or come close to achieving to keep the store open. If your store does not meet those goals, evaluate whether the store needs more time to hit its stride or if going another direction offers more potential.
- Research available shopping cart companies or software. If this is your first time providing online sales, choose a company like Ecommerce, PayPal or another online cart supplier. If your company already has high online sales, buy shopping cart software and host it yourself.
- Find the online shopping cart that is right for your company. Prices vary depending on the available shopping cart options. For a new website, use a cheaper cart with basic options. Many cart suppliers have levels of membership and options to choose from.
- Sign up for a shopping cart service. You need your company’s information, including the banking information, so the service can deposit online transactions into your account. You also need to set up a user name and password. Write down your password and store it in a safe place in case you forget it.
- Set up your cart. Enter item information and prices into the appropriate form on the cart’s website or in the cart’s software. Some carts allow you to change colors and layouts of the cart page.
- Add the shopping cart to your website. Either copy and paste the button information onto your website or add a hyperlink that leads to the cart to your website.
- Upload your website to the server and wait for sales to come in.
- Find the right store package. The days of getting a “shopping cart” from here, “payment processing from there” are pretty much over. The trick for setting up an online shop now isn’t being tech savvy, it’s figuring out the company with the right package for your needs.
- Build a separate website to serve as a hub for your business and attach a link to your store. If you can provide a website with good quality information about the type of products you sell, you add a personal touch and build trust in your potential customers before they buy from you.This is especially important if you’re selling information.
- Take photos of your products and upload them to your store. With the exception of ebooks, which will have an image you most likely will have created with a graphic design program like GIMP or PhotoShop, most products will require a photo to entice customers to buy. Make sure you use a high-quality digital camera to make taking and uploading pictures easier.
- Market your store to drive traffic to it. Treat your online shop just like you would a brick-and-mortar business. Advertise both in the online and the offline world to drive traffic to your website.
- Online shopping allows people to from their own computer. When a person visits an online retailer, purchases an item with her credit card and has it delivered to an address, she has completed the process of online shopping. Online shopping has become more popular through the years and is becoming a more widely used way to purchase goods. Online shopping grew 33 percent in 2005 (see Resources).
- There are many benefits to online shopping. Online shopping is extremely popular during the Christmas shopping season. People would rather from home or even during breaks at work instead of waiting in long, stressful lines at retail stores. Also, people can shop online at any time of the day. Shopping online allows a person to shop at ease without being rushed. She has the chance to save a page and come back to it later to decide whether she will purchase the item.
- Double-check with shopping websites to make sure they are legit. Look them up in the Better Business Bureau database. Also, watch out for phishing websites. Always double-check the URL in your web address bar to be sure it matches with the website. When checking your items out, be sure that the URL reads “https://” to know that it is a secure website. Never give out payment information on a URL that is not. Use a credit card when shopping instead of debit or checking account information. You can always cancel transactions or turn off your service if you believe your credit card number has been misused.
- Note the shipping prices when you are buying online. Be sure that they match with prices listed by the United States Postal Office, UPS or FedEx. Do not overpay for shipping. Some online retailers often try to take advantage of customers by overcharging for shipping. Be sure to read all material regarding returns, order cancellations or customer complaints. Locate the customer contact information and be sure that it is a working number. Always double-check with a company before placing an order if you are unsure of the business.
- Individuals can buy almost anything online these days. Groceries and food products can be purchased and delivered to homes. Also, those who need medicines or herbal remedies can also buy them online. One of the most popular items purchased online are books. According to an online article in January 2008, Nielsen online reported that 41 percent of Internet users had bought books in the past three months (see Resources). Other items that are popular purchases and can be shopped for online are DVDs, electronics, games, tickets and clothing. Almost anything that is tangible can be purchased online. Another way that shoppers can buy online is through online auction houses such as the popular website eBay.
- There are thousands of internet shops, so whatever it is you’re looking to buy, you will be able to find it online. You can begin your search on any search engine you like, such as Google. Be as specific as possible in your searches to ensure you find exactly what you’re looking for. Many times, the same products are sold on multiple websites, so you can compare prices and see which is the most affordable.
- Once you’re found websites that sell what you are looking for, check RetailMeNot.com or similar websites to see if there are any online coupon codes available on those websites that could save money. The same goes for items you see in a store that you would like to buy. First go home and check online to see if that store has a website that has online coupons available or if it is available cheaper on any other websites.
- The great thing about shopping online is that many websites allow users to rate each product, so you can decide whether it is worth the money or not. Online coupon codes are constantly changing, so keep your eye out for good deals; many times there are free shipping coupons available. With a little bit of searching you can often save money with online shopping.
- Look for a company that has no physical address in the state where you live. You will avoid paying sales tax when shopping online only if your purchases qualify as “out of state.” You may be able to find the physical address of a store by visiting their website or by checking the shipping page.
- Shop at resale places such as eBay or Half.com (see Resources below). Because these websites feature items mostly sold by individuals (rather than companies), sales taxes usually don’t apply. Companies or corporations that sell on eBay may charge taxes.
- Be aware of your shipping address. This is what decides where you will be charged taxes or not. If you have an alternate address, you may consider using it to avoid paying sales tax on an item.
- Shop at websites that have their online business separate from their in-store businesses. This is the case of companies such as Barnes & Nobles and Borders. These companies are not required to charge sales taxes to their customers because of a special arrangement with the government.
- Look online for information on how sales tax is handled by any particular company. You may find that the business charges only for large purchases, such as vehicles or computers. This depends on laws in their particular state, so check in advance.