Provided your website is well-advertised and well-positioned, selling your products on the Internet will mean attracting new clients from unsuspected remote places. To do this -selling on the web-, you will need an e-commerce website, i.e. one that works all by itself and requires no human participation. In this section we will explain what one of these consists of.
Classification of the products: when thinking of designing an e-commerce website, this is the first thing to take into account, since, although it does not seem so, it is really important. The way in which products are classified has to be easily understood by the user, i.e. he has to know where to find what he is looking for (if a user cannot find what he wants, then the Web page is failing). For instance, you should not be over-rigorous and call the products by their technical or conventional names, as this will only mean that people cannot find the product they are looking for. So, whether you like it or not, you are supposed to call the products by whichever names the consumers call them.
Pictures of the products: there are two different ways to deal whit this, namely by using illustrative pictures for similar products or real pictures for each separate product. In either case, it is in good taste that these pictures have been taken in the same place -same background, same illumination-, and under no circumstances should you include bad-quality or very small photos in which there are two or more products. This is how it should work: the corresponding photograph will appear next to each product's description (see below), and it will be possible to make it bigger just by clicking on it. By doing this, a window will open that will allow seeing the product clearly, but also the list of products in the background. This is in order to make the surfing easier and not to tire the user.
Description of the products: each product's description should always include a code for it to be easily identified at the time of dispatch, an explanation of its technical capacities, its full name and model, and any other interesting piece of information. For instance, if a product is not normally in great demand, it is advisable to warn people about some possible delay as the product might be out of stock. Descriptions should be neither too long -in order not to be tiring and boring- nor too short -in order not to be incomplete-.
Prices of the products: unless special circumstances apply, the price of a product does not go with its description but someplace else, namely next to the little box that the user has to fill out by indicating the number of articles he wants. This is because of two things: first, because the price can be easily modified without altering the description; and secondly, because the price is somehow highlighted and separated from the description, thus making interaction easier.
Quantity: next to the price, there will be a little box for the user to fill it out by indicating how many articles of the stated product he wants (see above). It is optional to add another little box below the previous one that is filled out automatically and shows the total cost of the purchase (unit price x the number of units).
"Supermarket cart": this is a little box on one side of the page for the client to accumulate the products he has been selecting. It works as a real supermarket cart: the user chooses what he wants and how many of it he wants and, once he has finished, he can either accept or cancel the whole purchase, or leave some product out.
Payment: once he has already made the purchase, the user is sent to a section where he will be asked how he is going to pay. It is up to you whether you include only the option "credit card" or some other options, too. In the case of credit cards, the user will select the stated option and will enter basic data such as the card number, the kind of card, or its expiration day.
Users: if you want your regular clients to be the only ones who buy your products, some e-commerce websites will allow you to do this. What you have to do is give those clients a user name and password. This is for you to prevent unknown people from buying your products directly from your website.
Data form: personal data is not always required. Some e-commerce websites only ask for the credit card number and expiration day, and the owner's name. Others, however, also ask for the name of the person actually making the purchase, the name of the company he or she works for, his or her telephone number, address and zip code, his or her e-mail address, etc.
Security: for your website to work well, you should keep it safe from hackers. Therefore you should hire someone who checks its security conditions and, if any, repair any possible failure. This guarantees that your company and your clients will both be secure.
The searcher: this is a very good option for those people who want an specific product and either do not want to go over the whole website to find it or do not know how to find it. The searcher is a little blank where the user has to write the name of the product he is looking for. Then, he just have to wait for the matching results. However, if you decide on a searcher, you must be sure that it works alright, i.e. that it finds the products and does not limit the searching to just one name per product (as not all the users will know each product's technical name). Otherwise, you will lose a lot of prospective sales.
Comparing products: the list of products should include a little box next to each product. These little boxes the user can tick as he is "shopping" in your website. Once he is done, he can click on the button "comparing products" and a list (arranged according to each product's name, price, description, etc) will appear with all the ticked products so far. This makes the surfing more effective as it helps the user find the most convenient things.
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