No rest for online retailers

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You built your website, you ordered your inventory, you got the shopping cart working, the admins in place – what more is there?

A lot it turns out.

No matter how much maintenance you do, you always have to do more. Not only do you have to keep up with the functions you already have, the more you have, it often turns out, the more you need to add. Yup, just when you thought you finally had a handle on your website, it turns out you’re missing a whole host of features.

I read an article once about income that discussed how while making $100,000 a year seems like a lot of money, the problem is, once you make $100,000 a year, you have a whole new lifestyle you have to support. One generally assumes that earning six-figures would put an end to basic (financial) problems, but it turns out six-figure income earners dress a certain way, wear certain shoes, dine out more and perhaps participate in more cultural activities. The ante is upped with the income and basic needs suddenly become a lot more.

Similarly, as your online store takes form, you are confronted with a whole new set of now essential needs. The basics are not enough. You need solutions.

Joe Chung’s article “The Red Queen of E-Commerce” in E-Commerce Times, addresses this issue and offers a list of five must-have solutions for online retailers of today.

Number one, Interactive Merchandising, and the need to constantly and consistently update your site, is particularly well described.

Number four, Advanced Search and Guided Navigation, is also of particular interest. A search box alone is not enough. The site search needs to return accurate and relevant results. Simply put, customers need to be able to find products in order to buy them.

While this list will probably be expanded almost as you read this article, due to the fast paced nature of the online world, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start moving on the suggestions now. Keeping up-to-date with online retail developments is in itself, of course, a basic.

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