Your AucCom Checklist, Part 2

So you opened an Auctiva Commerce Store. Now what?

by staff writer
- May 07, 2009

Now that you've read Part 1 of this article and you've got the basics down, we can move onto a few details to help spice up your store. Let's take a look.

7. Type in those taxes

Don't forget about taxes. Although the IRS probably won't come knocking on your door if you don't have these set up in your store, it's not a bad idea to charge sales tax anyway. There's a lot of legislation out there that aims to tax online goods, and one proposed bill would impose a tax on all online sales, so it's something to keep in mind.

Since tax laws vary from state to state, and change often, it's best to consult a tax expert to determine the right approach for your business.

For the time being, taxes in your store will only affect those customers who live in the same state as you. For example, if California sellers set up a tax rule, any purchase by a California resident would be charged sales tax. Purchases from other states will not.

The easiest way to set up taxes is to set one tax rule for the state you live in. To do that, go into Tax Rules in your store tab, give your rule a name, choose the appropriate country and state, enter the tax rate, select the "taxable" box and click add. That's it. Now in-state customers will pay taxes. That was painless enough, right?

8. Tell customers about yourself

You should never skip "About Me" pages. More than ever, customers want to know who they're buying from. Offering your customers good prices is a good start to building buyer loyalty, but in this age of social networking, connecting with your customers on a more personal level could prove profitable.

Be sure to tell your customers a little bit about you and your store. You might include photos of yourself or your employees to help put a face on your business. Your "About Me" page will be hosted on your store's Web Pages in your Store tab. Setting up this page is as easy as filling out a form; you just enter a page title, summary, content and HTML header, then click finish and your About Us page is done. Now your customers will know who you are, and you can build other pages that link to your blog, articles you've written, etc.

Check in with customers after they've received their goods to make sure they're happy with their purchases

9. Set your e-mail templates

It's essential to let your customers know the status of their orders. You don't want to leave buyers to wonder if their payments went through and when they can expect to receive their order. Luckily, Auctiva Commerce provides automated e-mails that can keep buyers informed while you tend to other aspects of your business. So be sure to review the templates you have and add any that you may need.

At a bare minimum, you should have e-mail templates to notify buyers when an order has been placed, when their payment has been received and when an order has been shipped. Adding one for cancelled orders is also a good idea. But don't let the automated e-mail system do all the work for you. Be sure to check in with your customers after they've received their goods to make sure they're happy with their purchases.

The next two steps are about getting people to your store. Sure you can send promotional e-mails telling existing customers about the great deals you have, but what about bringing in new customers? Let's not forget about them, so...

10. Add products to Google Base

Google Base allows your products to be easily searchable by attaching attributes—or keywords or phrases—that describe your product. The service is free and several Auctiva Commerce users have said it really works. Auctiva Commerce has a tutorial on how to add a Google Base feed. You will need a Google account to use this service, but sign-up is simple and your products could show up on the standard Google search or Google Product Search.

The best way to make sure everything is in place is to make a test purchase from your store

11. Set up Google Analytics

Making sales is about getting people to your store; it's about traffic. And it's a good idea to know where that traffic is coming from, and how they're interacting with your store, so you know where to devote your efforts. That's where Google Analytics comes in. Again, the service is free, and it's easy to use, even for novice marketers. You'll be able to track your overall site activity and marketing efforts, and much more.

12. Be your own first customer

Finally, be sure to triple-check that everything is in place to provide a good buying experience. The best way to do this is to make a test purchase from your store. You can always go back into your dashboard and cancel your fake order later.

So go through the complete checkout process, from start to finish, then go back in and capture the payment and send out e-mails. Repeat the process using several different addresses to make sure you get the expected results. If you don't have any problems, neither will your buyers. And that will make buyers happy—and keep them coming back.

About the Author

Auctiva staff writers constantly monitor trends and best practices of those selling on eBay and elsewhere online. They attend relevant training seminars and trade shows and regularly discuss the market with PowerSellers and other market experts.

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