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"Wow! Cool!" was Deborah Nail's first response when she saw her business's new Web site go live online. "My vision was expressed in this home page," says Nail, 41, founder of handbag manufacturer Pursesnickety! and winner of Entrepreneur and Interland's Tech Makeover. But a lot of work went on behind the scenes before this Atlanta entrepreneur got to that moment.
Entrepreneurs building online stores must decide what storefront level to go with. There are solutions that cover anything from a half-dozen items to hundreds. Nail got one of the most advanced storefronts Interland offers. Chip Corbitt, an Interland Web designer specializing in e-commerce, says, "The number-one thing you want to do is make shopping easy." The advanced e-commerce engine will help Pursesnickety! better manage its inventory of colorful, reversible purses and baby bags; offer separate wholesale pricing; and handle real-time credit card transactions.
One perk that's sometimes overlooked is the ability to do reports to see who's buying what, discover what products are popular, and pinpoint sales trends. "It will help them spend their marketing and development dollars a little better," says Corbitt. More advanced e-commerce engines generally offer more robust reporting.
There are ways entrepreneurs can help make the Web site building process go smoothly when it comes to setting up an e-commerce system. Nail was already well-organized and had her product images, descriptions and item numbers together before they built the shopping cart. "It was a big, easy puzzle to put together," says Ann Vo, Web designer with Interland.
Once the Web site neared launch, the designers and Nail took one last look and made a few adjustments. And then it took off. "We [are] already swamped with responses," said Nail one week after launch.
The designers are also pleased with the way it turned out. "This site fits her personality," says Corbitt. The next step is for Nail to go through training on how to use the site-builder features, make updates, and start working with search engine optimization. Stay tuned as the saga continues.