Saturday, July 12, 2008

Get a web worker

In my experience, too many people have got the mindset of "set and forget" when it comes to maintaining an online shop. The thing is - can you afford to do this for your "bricks" store front?

In your store - of course you make sure all the products are on display appropriately, that your staff are there to help with queries in a friendly and personal manner, that the music sets the mood of the store, that the floor gets vacuumed, and that products are placed strategically through the store to catch that impulse purchase.

So why is it so hard to apply these principles in the online version of your store? The answer - it's not hard, it's just a slight change of mindset.

Get a dedicated web worker - they're no different than the checkout chick who also makes sure the shelves are packed right, except they're taking care of the online specials, the content, the emailed queries and a variation of order fulfilment. The skill set required is minimum - you're not hiring programmers here, you just need someone who can use a website with an admin system.

Your online store may be a small percentage of your bricks store - but if it's got customers and pulling in dollars it deserves ongoing attention.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Ship with gifts – online shopping with personality

I ordered a gizmo from an online shopping site a month or two ago – and what sticks in mind the most is not the product I ordered (I haven’t even used it yet), but the stuff that got shipped with it that I didn’t ask for.
  1. A hand written note in big black texta saying thanks
  2. A lanyard

I didn’t really care about the lanyard, but the note was a different story. On closer inspection of the note with a magnifying glass revealed of course it was a printout, but it was done so well, in a friendly and easy going manner that it compelled me to take a closer look. The details were immaculate - no standard computer fonts or fudging, not even standard A4 paper. It was even slightly scrunched up then unfurled and folded in half - just giving that human touch. It just shows that impersonal nature of online shopping can be made personal if done right.

It didn’t cost them any money – just a simple process to say “make sure this gets packed for first time customers”.

I’m sure I’ll buy from that shopping site again because it felt so good to get that first order. This time round I’ll try to make sure my hard earned cash goes to something I’ll actually use!


Tuesday, July 1, 2008

PCI Compliance

The deadline for PCI compliance has now passed in the US. For Australia - people have begun to raise their awareness of the issue, but the urgency simply doesn't seem to be there.

Why is PCI compliance so important? Because it's secure.

Many shop keepers still have the opinion that they have a right to store credit card data. The bottom line is though - THERE IS NO NEED.

The main excuse is "how do I know how much to charge for shipping?", but I say - put a pricing system in for shipping so you can automate! Wouldn't you rather set it and leave it, rather than stress over the price of postage? Sure every now and then you might need to take a small loss on postage, but set it so that 95% of the time you always come off better for it. The time you save putting a proper system in will more than pay for a few discrepancies.