The New Marketplace

It's In The Bag

A web store is not a vending machine. Put one up and most people won't just come, take a look and then pump in the nickels. The most successful e-commerce sites have systems in place that entice people to come and buy--again and again. Here are some helpful hints:

1. Do everything you can to get people to leave their names and e-mail addresses so you can tell them about upcoming sales, new products and so on. Consider offering a free newsletter or service that sends out updates about your products or services.

2. Pay close attention to your catalog copy, aiming to make it interesting yet concise so that it can be easily understood. Also, pricing information should be clear.

3. Because sales strategies on the Web shouldn't be different from storefront sales strategies, consider discounting items, having a sale or offering coupons for consumers to download.

4. Letting consumers know that real people are behind your Web store will put them more at ease about buying, so list your phone and fax numbers--and an e-mail address--prominently on your Web site. Make sure you can be reached easily.

5. One simple way to draw users to your new Web store is to register it with the top search engines (or use a service that automatically does this for you).

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