The internet has facilitated the way we do business. So let’s look at some of the advantages it promises:



  • Open 24/7 – You’re no longer restricted to 9-5 working time. Your shop remains open to your customers every day of the week for 24 hours, including public holidays.
  • International market reach – You are no longer restricted by geographic location. You can now target customers in other parts of the world with your website.
  • Cut down on costs – You may not require as many staff or even a actual shop to run your business. You can trade only through the internet if you want.

Besides those listed above, with an internet business, you can offer multiple payment methods, easily sell to your existing customers (send product/service update through newsletters), get statistics on what people like most in your shop and easily add offers/incentives to attract new clients.

I hope by now you’re already convinced how having an online shop can drive more sales for your business. So let’s see the steps involved to get your e-commerce shop off the grounds:

Picking up the right domain name

Many people ask me which domain they should buy (.com, .net, .mu etc). I strongly advise a .mu extension if you’re going to be doing business primarily in Mauritius. This will not only geo target your website but will also have a high impact in the SERPs (search engine result pages which are the pages you see when you search something on say Google.mu). It is a known fact that a country level domain has a much higher CTR (Click Through Rate) but the major drawback with .mu domains is they are very expensive compared to .com – 4-5 times more expensive actually. Once you’ve settled on the domain extension, it is time to choose your domain name and if you don’t already have an idea what your business is going to be called, I suggest finding a name that you can use as a brand rather than something tacky.

Building up your website

Next you need to find a web design company to actually build your e-commerce platform. This includes creating a design which fits with your business image and doing any programming to accommodate the functionality you desire in your website. Note that you will need a web host where you’d be able to put the contents of the website so that people can browse to it through the Internet.

Choosing the payment methods

There are many payment options for ecommerce solutions but not all of them is applicable for Mauritius. For example, Paypal is not supported in our country, therefore you’d need to find another online payment gateway such as MoneyBookers (Skrill), 2CheckOut which are well popular on the international level or choose MCB (Mauritius Commercial Bank) or SBM (State Bank of Mauritius).

There is usually a setup fee, a monthly charge, a transaction fee as well as a fixed percentage on the transaction amount which will be charged for the Online Payment Solution. So make sure you do your research well before signing up for the payment gateway.

Adding your products to the database

When your ecommerce website has been setup, you would need to enter all the products you want to sell in the database. This tends to be a tedious job, so if there’s any way to automating the task, you should go for it especially if you have hundreds of products. Talk to your web design company to see how they can help. Remember to put as much information as you possibly can about the products you’re selling as well as clear pictures and videos if you have so that the customer can make an informed decision straight away when landing on your site.

Marketing

The last step is the actual marketing of your website. It will be useless to have the most attractive website if no one knows about it. So notify your customers and spread the word amongst your friends and family and watch the orders coming in. You may also be interested in PPC (Pay Per Click) or Social Marketing (Facebook, Twitter etc) to get more exposure for your business.

Other things to note

You might require a trade permit from your local council (municipality) to run a business either from home or somewhere else. So make sure you contact them beforehand. Some products require a special permit when importing; eg flowers, plants need a permit from the Ministry of Agriculture and other items may require approval from the Ministry of Health. Therefore do your homework well before indulging in any kind of business.

Something to be proud of…

We recently (January 2013) launched a brand new ecommerce website for the Clever Dodo Boutique which aims to make online shopping for Mauritians easier by providing a service where you can buy and pay for your products through the internet and have your order shipped over to you anywhere in Mauritius. The website might come in handy to you, so don’t hesitate to check them out at shop.cleverdodo.mu. You never know, you might get addicted to it!

Otherwise, if you want us to design your website, then get in touch with us now for a quote.

 



26/Jan/2013

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