Catalogue interoperability

This post relates to my previous post about “why you should have a catalogue”. 

 

Supplier Hubs is a supplier managed hosted catalogue interoperability service. They aggregate mass data from supplier catalogues, clean and decode those data into standard of other catalogues. After decoding, resellers can access supplier catalogues in a standard format.

 

Some resellers have complicated procurement systems that can access supplier data. Catalogue item master file will be automatically picked up and data will be arranged according to the reseller’s system instantly.

 

As a supplier, you can host your own catalogue and let your buyers access it online. This can also be automated.

 

 

 

 

Join the E-marketplace

Small businesses that plan to sell their products or services online, must consider a range of issues before they start their E-commerce plan.

Some businesses according to their requirements minimize their involvement by joining the e-market place, where another business will purchase their products and sell it for them.  That means, if you have services or products to offer, another business will purchase them from you and sell it for you.

You do not have to worry about your marketing campaign. More buyers you connect to, more business you make. What you have to do is, send your product to the buyer’s destination or provide your service according to the buyer’s requirements.

There are many e-market places having various business strategies. They might act as arbitrators. E-marketplaces offer services such as business directory listings and Electronic catalogues.

Top market places to join are those that tender low cost financial accounting systems and connect with other market places.

 

Happy blogging.

 

Independent e-marketplace

Buyer-oriented e-marketplace

Supplier-oriented e-marketplace

 

 

 

 

 

Freewebs

Many businesses want to express their online presence in a professional manner to their clients. Free web hosting platforms are ideal for beginners. My best platforms are wordpress and Blogger. Disadvantage of wordpress is that they do not allow you to display banners and affiliate links if you are not having a paid version. Blogger is different, you can display many banner ads and you feel free. My blog with Blogger disappeared after ranking very high in search engines and later appeared after many appeals and talks with forums with its url changed. Is Blogger safe? Paid version will not have that effect, I agree.

 

Freewebs offer many pages and blogs as you like. Later you can upgrade to a paid version. I do not recommend this site for beginners to start with. Blogger is the best place for a beginner. Freewebs is a good place for professionals to express themselves and their portfolios. Freelancing professionals can use this site. This provider offers lot of templates that are very attractive and there is a “widget bank” to add what ever you like to your site. You can add and edit contents as you want and you do not need to know HTML.  

 

Disadvantage is that until you change to a paid version, Freewebs have the right to display their ads and delete any page or your website if you do not abide by their policies of publishing. This is only one platform from many. I am doing research on webhosts. There are many more.

 

I prefer Blogger or wordpress at any time. They are flexible. The exiting thing about freewebs is that they have a huge variety of templates to choose from.

 

Compared with Blogger and wordpress, they have very few widgets but you can upgrade your site to a Paid version or a paid e-commerce website. I created an account in freewebs just to check. I think it is ideal for Freelancing professionals to host their websites.   

Lowcost web hosting

Hi friends, those of you who need a low cost website why not try http://geocities.yahoo.com/ It offers great prices and you can make changes to your template with many types of tools they provide.

WordPress is one of the best places where you can create a website with pages as much as you like. You have the choice of creating your home page as static or blog in front. You can sign up to each of these service using three steps and then start building and playing round as you like.

Yahoo geocities provide you with lots of templates to choose according to your plan. You can start your first website for free and then upgrade if you like the service.

I am always up to research. Why not try yahoo geocities.

 

Easy to remember domain names

One of the easiest ways to attract visitors to your website is to provide a web address that is short and easy to remember. A domain name is one of the first decisions a company make because the domain name chosen must blend with the service or product that particular company is offering. Top level domain names are dot com domains. Dot com names stand for commercial sites. Other types are .org, .net and .gov. for government.

You will have to come up with several domain names and check their availability before starting your online business. Online investors buy lists of good domain names and resell them at a big profit. These investors buy domain names from Companies who no longer need a web page.

Cyber squatting has become a headache these days. This means registering a company name and then trying to resell it to its lawful owner. Some kind of a presence in the Internet from the beginning is needed to prevent this.

There are other options to make it easy for people to set up a domain name as a cc domain name. Some companies are now purchasing domain names like au-for Australia, ca-for Canada and so on relating to the country of origin.

What ever domain name you purchase, the main thing is, it should be related to what you are doing online and your business. It should represent your business. For example I have a blog named Curry Kitchen. Its URL is ‘kurrykitchen’. If you get a domain name like http://www.kurrykitchen.com , what will you do with it? Will people be able to find you by typing your domain name? They will probably type currykitchen instead of kurrykitchen.

Things to consider before e-tailing

E-commerce transactions mainly involve the use of credit cards, smart cards and other methods such as digital cash or coupons.

If you are selling low value items in large quantities online, it is better to use one of the large commercial gateways such as provided by the big banks to minimise your risk and maximise your security.

If you are selling high volume items, think twice before you start doing online transactions. Online presence and online transactions are not the same. Use your website to show the customers what you have to offer, and use it to get more customers and business contacts.

Many people waste their money trying to sell goods and services online simply because they have not done their preliminary preparation and research well enough.

Before planning to sell online, as I have stated in many articles just answer these questions and you will then see whether it is worth selling online.

  • Do you sell a product or service that people will want to buy online?
  • What is the benefit to your customer by purchasing that item or service online?
  • Who are most likely to buy your products and where are thy located?
  • How are you going to pack and ship the items?
  • What will be your return policy?
  • Can you manage refunds?
  • Is your product a common one that is available always on retail stores?
  • If so why do you think your customer will want to buy them online?
  • How are you going to minimise errors happening. E.g.: a customer orders a blue one and you dispatch a pink one?
  • What are the costs likely to occur for all above and are you able to price the item covering all the above costs and still make it cheaper than the same item in the brick and mortar store? (especially if you are selling a common item like clothing)
  • If you have a shop, there might be customers who come to your shop in search of one item and get interested in other items that are in the store and this might bring you a big profit. Are you likely to get this type of sales online?
  • If you supply your products to retail stores run by other companies, what percentage of your products get sold simply because they were in this main stores?

After finding answers to these questions you will be able to decide doing sales online is for you or not. You should still not back away. Your online presence is very likely to promote your business or brand and generate lot more sales offline.

Plan ordering methods for your website

Everyone is not an experienced web surfer. Provide your customer with simple instructions on how to order products. Provide step by stem instructions on how to use a shopping cart.

Instructions on using a shopping cart

  1. Click Brows Catalogue to view the product categories
  2. Click on the category you want
  3. You will be taken to the Product List page
  4. Find the product(s) you want and change the quantity if ordering more than one
  5. If you want to order other products, then click “Add to Basket” button
  6. Click the “Browse Catalogue” link again
  7. When you have finished adding items to your shopping basket, click the “basket contents” to check your order and make any changes.
  8. When you are ready to process your order, click the “checkout” and type in your address information
  9. Click the “Submit Order” button.
  10. Next page will add the shipping charge to your order and will show your total charge.
  11. Type in your credit card information on this page
  12. Click the “Submit Order” button again to complete your transaction.
  13. To clear your order, click the “Clear Order” button.

I have composed a short article and will be back with more options for shopping in my next article. Until then please answer my three questions and I will include a link to your blogs with the answer to my three questions.

Storefront services

Storefront services provide you with a number of services including software to build an online store instantly in your browser using onscreen instructions, Website building software, e-mail, transaction processing and Web hosting. Some of these services are so simple that you do not need special technical knowledge. Storefront services provide you with online tools such as selecting a suitable template for your website and also you can enter information about your products and services and select the products you want to sell. You can select payment and shipping options as well. These services may charge you with a set up fee and a monthly fee for hosting your storefront. Notice the storefront services provided by smallbusiness.miva.com. and merchandizer.com

To host and create a store using a storefront hosting service, you will have to complete a series of forms. You can create a serviceable online store in few hours if you have products to sell and can supply all the information about your company that the storefront service requires.

Once you have set up the store, you can do website maintenance such as editing and adding new content and pictures to your store using your browser. Your activities may depend on the plan you purchase. You can select plans which will suite you the most.

As payment options, you might not need to obtain a merchant account depending on the service you select. Some services provide you payment options as well as their services. These storefront services are ideal for small business people. You do not have to be a computer geek to perform changes in your store front.

The main disadvantage of using some storefront hosting services is the lack of design flexibility. In addition, not all services can be easily customized to meet the specific needs of every business.

MIVA Merchant, with Store Morph Technology™, provides you with Powerful Store Design Tools, Catalogue Management, Inventory Tracking and Product Merchandising, Order Processing and Customer Management, Shipping Calculation and Payment Processing, Data Access and Storage, Affiliate Programs and Marketing Services, Easy-to-Use Administration Tools, Modular Architecture and also Documentation and Support. This again depends on the plan you purchase.

Merchandizer.com also provides you with rang of services for a monthly fee that varies on the plan you select. They provide you with Setup Features, Customer Support Functionality, Store Room & Inventory Controls, Store Interface Features, Promotions, Order Management, Customer Management and Product Management. They provide you with different shopping cart solutions, and their Digital goods support enables merchants to sell non-physical items such as software, documents, graphics, or any product or service that does not require shipping.

These are two services I have noticed as good service providers. But you can select the service provider according to your requirements.

Are you going to open the store and wait for the customer to walk in?

Taking a business online does not guarantee success more than opening a store and waiting for your customers to walk right through the door. You must identify your customers. There should be a marketing effort. You have to determine customer needs and then develop methods of producing appropriate services and products.

Ask these questions and find answers to them first.
Who are my possible customers?
What do my customers need?
Where are my customers located?
What motivates my customers to buy?
When do my customers buy?

You need to identify marketing trends. You have to change with the changing environment and be prepared to change accordingly.

Branding your product or service is very important. People trust branded product or service than a product or service without proper branding.

Improve your customer awareness of your business by the appearance of your website and its association with desirable traits such as great prices and neat content.

Offer free stuff like e-books, software and offer something free if the customer purchases an item for a certain value. You can also offer gift certificates, prizes and free samples. For items like software, free trial versions will be very effective. But keep in mind that software must not effect other applications in the customer’s computer. Your customer will not return to you if that happens.

Provide how to information, and easy to use help

Ask customer feedback and suggestions about how to improve your service.

Create products designed to customer specification.

Offer an e-newsletter.

Provide each customer with an individual shopping experience.

Maintain a good and friendly relationship with your customers.

Customers will start to walk in through your door if you make the right effort. I wish you the best with your website.