Ecommerce Checklist...
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In order to make online sales you need a solid quality traffic flow. Then once people get to your site, your pages must meet certain fundamental e-commerce principals.
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So prior to spending any serious money on "pay per click" services, internet advertising, color postcard mailings (etc), it would be beneficial to confirm that your existing website reflects the various points below:
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· Do you make it simple for your visitors to make a purchase?  Any professional salesperson will tell you that one of the keys to success is to remove all obstacles to a sale. So for example...
· Next to each item be sure to place a small "Order Now" or "Purchase" button that is linked to easy-to-understand ordering instructions;
· If you haven't done so already, set up a secure shopping cart to accept credit cards (or use a 3rd party service such as PayPal.com); and,
· Consider getting a toll free number (relatively inexpensive, however only do this if you already have your own cc merchant account).
In other words, when someone is ready to give you their own hard earned money, make it as easy as possible for them to do so.
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· Do you explain shipping and fulfillment time?  We have found that people are willing to wait for handcreated work, but they do want a ballpark idea of when to expect their order;
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· Is there a clearly written "satisfaction guaranteed" and "privacy policy" readily available for viewing?  This is essential! If possible, use the "LL Bean philosophy" and tell people they can return the item for full credit within "X" number of days. Less than 1 in 100 will ever do so, but knowing they can will make it far more likely that the sale will happen.
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· Does your homepage download quickly? (if it does not, they leave before seeing any of your art!). Your other pages of course should also load in very little time -- the best way to control that is to use a limited number of graphics per page, and, be sure all those graphics are properly sized & compressed.
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· Are your photos sharply focused, with accurate colors and good composition? As the old saying goes, "a picture is worth a thousand words". It's mainly the item photos that will make sales, not what you say about the photos, so take the time to make them all of first rate quality.
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· Is the navigation throughout your site clear and consistent?  If not, your visitors get confused and leave. Most folks want to find what they are looking for in optimal time, so make that easy for them and they'll stay around longer.
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· Include a picture of yourself with all your contact information on a primary page -- it puts people at ease when they know with whom they are dealing. A photo of you working in the studio is probably the most effective, as it confirms that you actually are creating the work that you are presenting.
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And of course who wants to buy something from someone when they cannot tell where the merchant is located, so be sure to make it abundantly clear where you do business.
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· Statistics ... You should ideally be able to analyze your visitor stats so you know where your traffic is coming from -- click this link to see [why tracking is so important].

If you find that your site already reflects all those points, then congratulations -- your online ecommerce presentation is on target. If not, our suggestion is to update your pages prior to any large financial committments for promotion or advertising, to optimize the chances for success.

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