Over the past few years ecommerce has become the fastest growing sales channel in the world. With the added convenience of 24 hour shopping 365 days a year, the internet has become one of the most cost effective and direct ways of marketing your products and services to existing and new customers.

So how do you ensure that your business is making the most of the internet? Below are our top ten tips to help you decide if e-commerce is right for your business and how you can ensure your online shop is a success.

Is ecommerce right for your business?
Before you decide to make an investment in a new website it is good practice to undertake a little market research to ensure that ecommerce is right for your business.

For example, do your customers need to touch, taste or smell your product before making a decision to purchase? If the answer is yes you may need to consider if an ecommerce website is the best way to market your products. If the answer is no then an online shop may well be the way forward for your business..

Keep your set-up costs to a minimum
The lower the set-up cost the better. Whilst this may sound a good idea it is not always true. As with anything, you get what you pay for. However, you should always bear in mind that large agencies have large overheads and some one has to pay for them.

The moral of the story is that big isn't always better. Products such as i-Commerce have been designed to offer an enterprise level ecommerce website solution at a low cost and with a fast lead time.

Remember: By lowering your set-up costs you will have more budget to market your ecommerce website.

Ensure your e-commerce website is secure
Data security is the number one priority for any online shopper. By ensuring that your e-commerce website uses an industry standard Secure Socket Layer (SSL) to communicate any sensitive information such as personal and or credit card details between your customers and your web server will ensure that their sensitive information is kept safe and secure at all times.
  Choosing the right Payment Serve Provider (PSP)
There are many Payment Service Providers to choose from. Ensure that your PSP is level 1 PCI compliant. One of the fastest growing and most cost effective providers are Sage Pay who offer a flat rate monthly fee, allowing you to budget your costs and avoid any unexpected surprises.

Remember: A PSP is required to allow you to take payments over the internet. You will also need to acquire an internet merchant number from your bank.

Reliability is one of the key factors in creating a successful ecommerce website. Your website must be available 24/7/365 days a year.

Be wary of cheap hosting solutions. Whilst these may seem attractive, they have their pitfalls which have been known to cost business's £000's of pounds a day. Due to the nature of shared hosting environments, websites are often slow and have a high chance of failure which will cost your business far more in the long run.

Don't be afraid to ask questions. Ensure that your website is backed up daily by your service provider, find out what hard ware failure procedures are in place and ensure that your website has dedicated firewall protection.

Remember: Server hardware can fail which may result in the loss of your data if the correct procedures are not followed. Any downtime of your website will cost your business money so it is imperative that procedures are in place to ensure that your website is back up and running quickly and effectively in the event of any failure.
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