To start, one of the reasons I decided to go into this niche was because of my competition. I did quite a bit of my own research before making my decision and found that my main competition lacked any competitive edge. Their stores were unappealing and glitchy, their customer service was terrible, and their prices were not substantially lower than prices I could offer and still make a good profit on. After completing this research I had trouble sleeping the next few nights just thinking of how well my store was going to do.
One reason I know my store will do well is because of how professional my business looks. Not only does it look professional but it is also run professionally too, which is equally as important. Many sellers think that making their store look professional is time consuming, expensive, or only for the big boys that have millions in revenue each year. This could not be further from the truth.
The first part of building a professional looking business comes with a professional looking website. For my ecommerce stores, I always choose 3DCart. 3DCart is an incredibly easy to use shopping cart solution that comes pre-stocked with appealing templates that can easily be edited to your liking to give your store a very professional and simple design. This part is vital. A professional looking website is clean, easy to navigate, easy to checkout, and is not cluttered with junk, popups, or annoying banners. 3DCart has plenty of features to help you achieve this.
The next thing I did was integrate my merchant account. I use PayPal payments Pro for all my ecommerce sites and it works flawlessly. There is no monthly fee, it's easy to integrate, easy to get approved, and you can have it up and running within one business day. Accepting credit cards is of utmost importance. You simply can't compete if you choose to only accept PayPal or similar payment methods.
After that I went and got myself a toll-free number. I previously used Toktumi Line2 for this but I had difficulties checking out and there is no live phone support and their email support staff still hasn't returned my email after 3 days. Needless to say I moved to a competitor of theirs. I now use RingCentral and I have to say that I am very happy so far. I'm on a 30 day free trial currently and got toll-free number for no additional charge. They have amazing features including the ability to set business and after-hours, auto-attendants, and the option to forward to your mobile phone when somebody calls your toll-free number.
After my toll-free number was established I began looking for a live-chat solution so I could chat with my customers live online if they needed assistance. I found Zopim.com and I am extremely impressed with all the functions available, especially considering it's a free platform. It was extremely easy to integrate into my site, too!
So I now have a clean looking template with amazing back end capabilities thanks to 3DCart. I have a merchant account with PayPal to process credit cards. I have a toll-free number that forwards callers directly to my cell phone during hours that I control. And I have a online chat where customers can chat with me if they have any questions. Total money spent so far: $19.99/month for 3DCart, $0 for the PayPal merchant account, $0 for the 30 day free trial on RingCentral, and $0 forever on the Zopim live chat. Not only do these solutions help me look more professional and give my buyers confidence but they enable me to run my business in an extremely efficient manner.