Ecommerce Myths Exposed

The internet is full of advice on how to build successful ecommerce websites, some of it bad and some of it useful. Whilst it is easy to disregard the bad advice, unfortunately the sheer amount available only encourages bad practice during ecommerce development. We are going to dispel some of the myths that surround ecommerce to ensure that you or your website developer only build ecommerce websites that are full of the good stuff!

Myth Number 1 – You can never provide too much information

One of the most common ecommerce myths is that you can never provide your buyers with too much information. Buying decisions hinge on information gathering, in theory the more information you provide potential customers the more you enable buying decisions. In reality however too much information is overwhelming and can prevent buying decisions from being made. Filling up your product pages with countless choices and unnecessary information only causes confusion and choice paralysis. Encourage users of your site to become customers by providing them with simple product information, and if you really want to provide technical specifications for your products present them as separate downloadable documents.

Myth Number 2 – Security badges inspire confidence

Make no bones about it, online security is paramount. Thanks to a surge in media interest, the security of online shopping has taken a bashing of late and many would-be customers are still wary of engaging with ecommerce. As an owner of an ecommerce site you need to inspire confidence in your users, but simply adding a McAfee or VeriSign badge to your checkout pages does nothing to allay the fear of internet shopping! You need to convince potential customers that your site is trustworthy and secure through effective written content; a feeble badge just won’t cut it!

Myth Number 3 – Cross-sell at every opportunity

Walk into any supermarket and it’s a guarantee that you will be exposed to cross-selling at every aisle and checkout. Even something as simple as purchasing a newspaper from a supermarket subjects you to a range of other products to purchase…chocolates, magazines and supermarket brand credit cards! Cross-selling works in shops, but it doesn’t translate very well online. In a bid to follow the Amazon template many online retailers attempt to introduce cross-selling at every stage of a user interaction including checkout processes. Some website owners even try to cross-sell products which are completely unrelated. This is just wrong wrong wrong! Online buying processes are user driven and checkout procedures need to be fast, focused and efficient. Bombarding your customers with extra choices and additional products when they are in the process of buying from you is off-putting and will simply encourage them to visit your competitors’ websites. Keep all cross-selling and promotional techniques away from the checkout, don’t give in to temptation!

Myth Number 4 – Successful ecommerce depends solely on the website

Your ecommerce website development agency has probably only concentrated their advice and attention on building you the ecommerce site of your dreams, after all “if we build it, they will come”! That’s a nice sentiment but sadly the success of your ebusiness doesn’t rely on the website alone. The real success of your ebusiness is in the service that you provide to your users and customers. User experience is improved by appealing and well design websites, but there are other important components which make up the full experience such as: open communication channels, returns policies, order fulfilment and dispatch, email notifications and complaints handling. Providing excellent customer service online is as important as providing it offline.

Myth Number 5 – Ecommerce is easy, anyone can do it!

The final ecommerce myth is that setting up and running an ecommerce business is easy. And it’s not just the internet that conveys this message; it’s even on our television screens. Take the current crop of “junior” apprentices vying to be Lord Sugar’s dogsbody for example, at least two of these adolescents claim to be CEOs of ebusinesses. Proof then surely that ecommerce so easy that 16 year old children can do it? Unfortunately it’s not as simple as that! Yes setting up an ecommerce website can be easy, but as we have discovered successful ecommerce relies on so much more. Successful ecommerce is a long term process which incorporates all the elements which are found in bricks and mortar businesses – product, functions, customer service, communication and effective marketing strategies. Now how many 16 year-olds can get their heads round that?!

Developing A Contract For Ecommerce Software – Concluding The Order Form

In the ecommerce regulations, the formation of the contract is one of the top priorities that every online business must pay attention too. The major concerns are how, when and where the contract is formed. In this article we will look over the process to finalize the order form and incorporate the right information into the terms and conditions of your ecommerce solutions.

The order form, or web page which the order form is displayed, is where the customer is taken to conclude the order. The order form has to include the product, a selection for quantities and the customer’s delivery information. In the ecommerce regulations it declares that the customer requires a means to correct any errors on the order form. Most ecommerce software solutions incorporate this condition by adding three buttons to the order form. The buttons are commonly labelled ‘Submit’, ‘Clear’ and ‘Cancel’, these present the customer with options that the regulations expect for an online store such as an eBay store, Facebook store or other ecommerce solutions.

Incorporating the correct information into the terms and conditions of your ecommerce solutions is a critical part of making sure your online business is legal. At the bottom of the terms and conditions page the customer has to be required to ‘tick a box’ to identify that they have understood and accepted before they click on the ‘Submit’ button. The ‘Submit’ button has to be only available when the terms and conditions have been ticked and accepted. The ecommerce software that a company operates has to load the whole web page before the customer is capable to accept the terms and conditions. By the ecommerce solutions doing this, the company is in a position of power in the event that customer claims there was no chance to read the terms and conditions.

Although there is no accountability on the retailer to confirm that the customer has in verity read the terms and conditions, following these behaviours will demonstrate that proper efforts have been made to bring them to the customers notice. The terms and conditions for your eBay store, Facebook store or ecommerce solutions has to be arranged so that the customer can print and save the web page. The correct design has to include no pop-up windows and make sure that they fit inside the width of the page and be presented in a way that they print correctly.

An expression such as ‘By clicking the Accept button you agree to these terms and conditions’. When finishing and submitting the online order form the customer is making a proposal to buy, which, if accepted by the retailer, will result in a binding contract. By integrating the expression ‘accepted by the retailer’ the retailer has guarded themselves according to ecommerce regulations.

This above process is recommended as the ‘best practice’ method for displaying terms and conditions but there is another procedure that ecommerce software can utilize and is more user-friendly. This method is not as legally safe but is approved on a lot of ecommerce websites. This method is to include a link to the terms and conditions on the order form, and make the customer tick a box to confirm they have read and accepted, before they click on the ‘Submit’ button. This method takes away a huge quantity of information from the order page and incorporates a link to another page which displays all the relevant information. An eBay store, Facebook store or regular ecommerce store can utilize this method to improve the customers experience and not to divert the customer from their buying experience.

Finding Tax Preparation Information Online

Finding a place to prepare taxes online is not too difficult these days. Finding good advice on how to prepare your taxes can be another story. Tax preparation advice can come from a variety of sources, including government, enterprise, and non-profit. This article covers a few of the major ones.

Government Sources

Believe it or not, one of the best online tax preparation resources is the IRS. You’ve got to watch your “.govs” and “.coms” though. “” is a cleverly disguised informational site fronting for an online tax preparation service. Despite the official-looking building the bare-bones look, all clicks lead to the multi-tiered submission options that may get your taxes to the real IRS, and will put a little cash in their pocket at the same time. I think the actual site looks a bit better, to tell the truth, and that is where you’ll need to go to get actual tax information from the government. has gotten better every year at spelling out their procedures and rule changes in plain English. They have finally chosen to begin with the assumption, as the rest of us do, that preparing tax returns is destined to be a confusing process. Just as their telephone interaction has improved, so has their website. It’s designed for the consumer, not the accountant and it’s a good place to start.

Enterprise Sources

H&R Block is something of an eight hundred pound gorilla in the tax preparation game; not only have they been operating a storefront network for generations but they have also acquired one of the two major tax prep software programs, Tax Cut. Their web site has a collection of related articles that may be of value; topics include tax scams, higher education deductions, the alternative minimum tax and other issues that you could spend significant time searching for. If you’re lucky, they’ve written it up – and their articles are professional and thorough. Other than that, the site is interested in selling its online and software versions of Tax Cut.

There are online tax preparation services galore these days. Some of them hook you up with an accounting firm, a few of them will sell you a software package and send it to you, but most of them walk you through the forms online. When you’re done, you can file your federal form electronically. Some, though not all, of the online sites provide state returns as well. You can find a comprehensive list of the services out there on Yahoo at

If the notion of putting your entire financial soul online through a faceless website makes you nervous – it should. The e-thieves know opportunity when they see it, and tax forms are a great resource for identity theft. Microsoft has a good page on the subject, with multiple recommendations and resources for protecting yourself during the electronic tax preparation process. It’s worth a look at

Google has an excellent page on tax preparation that provides categories of services such as online services and software packages, tax forms and tax law. They go on to provide an excellent list of specific sites for tax preparation information. It includes some commercial sites but also lists specific IRS pages, consumer tax information sites, consumer review sites for online services, and sites with advice comments from professionals.

Non-Profit Sources

AARP has a tax preparation assistance program that is staffed with trained volunteers. This service is essentially an old-fashioned face to face arrangement, just as you would go through with an accountant. However it’s free of charge and it’s national in scope. You can visit their site and learn about how it works and where to find their assistance sites at Last year they prepared returns for two million people.

These are just a selection of starting points; it remains, as always, a personal choice: e-rendering unto e-Caesar what is e-Caesars’s.