Have Control Over Your Site Online And Offline Operations

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Having a site for the pet items: designer or food or necessities; is a good idea. However, setting it up is one thing, and maintaining plus marketing is another thing. Besides, searching and shopping online are two different aspects. Online buying involves more risks and hassles than browsing, in terms of security. Hence, having a site with a shopping cart wherein potential customers browse and purchase requires proper planning and setup.

A customer browses for "dog chain", selects one and purchases it. The process of purchase happens in the shopping cart (enter details of quantity, specifications like color etc.) and then the checkout process where personal details (name, address, credit card number etc.) is required. The invoice is generated and emailed to the customer.

Despite the best efforts, disruptions occur during the purchasing process. Big names like Elance, Amazon and Paypal have faced it. Websites can be temporarily offline due to maintenance and potential customers are lost.

Small sites need to be more careful, as they are yet to establish themselves and any negative happenings are bad for them. Shoppers are impatient, ignorant or ignore the facts that behind every online experience are online (systems) and offline (people) operations. Thus, if shopping process is disrupted, the order is incomplete which means no transactions and customer does not receive the order. The customer feels cheated, wronged and either makes a complaint to your site or the Bureau of Better Business or leaves negative reviews/feedbacks of your site.

Your site suffers a setback as the disruptions were due to the third party such as Paypal (shopping cart) was not functional due to technical problems. Besides, you missed the complaint for almost 24 hours as it was made on a holiday or your weekly off day, but the customer is not aware of it. Now, customer has not received any confirmation, invoice, or email acknowledgement, and has already charged back against his/her paypal account. The customer is at its wits ends, and complains to the Bureau.

No one would like to be in the above situation. Hence, it is imperative to be in control of your online and offline operations as follows:

Your site is 24/7 online, but you may not be for example, Monday to Saturday (10 AM to 6 PM EST).

Complete and correct details regarding your postal address (PO Box numbers are not acceptable), contact numbers including Live help and when they can contact to be given on site and printable material (coupons, catalog etc.)

Terms and conditions regarding the sale, complaints etc. should be mentioned. Have a "Frequently Asked Questions" (FAQ) section which gives information of shop, possible delays and what to do whenever they face problems along with the response time (like 1-2 business days). Provide compensation for delays and bonuses for special occasions like special coupons or freebies.

Have auto-responders to send common emails. Keep shoppers informed of gifts/freebies available, how to receive them and what to do if not receive.

Keep your site colorful, interesting and up to date always. Keep testing your site and rectify errors at once.

Be in charge and grow your business.

Jeff Nenadic from My Dog Shop - Spoil your dog a little bit with an upscale dog bed, an elevated dog feeder, or an airline approved dog carrier!

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