It seems like everyone has an ecommerce site these days, - I was walking a small pet shop in the Upper East Side and they were agressively pushing online sales; what you have to understand is that selling online is harder than just dumping your products online and waiting for orders to come in, because they won't.
The beauty of ecommerce is the ability to target new markets; those separate from your business geographically or social-graphically and It provides your customer the level of convenience which cannot be replicated offline. It is reasonable to assume that your online consumer is starkly different from those walking into your office.
Here's 4 things you need to know before considering online commerce.
1. Establish credibility online
You have to instill confidence in your clients, if you have a dodgy looking website customers might feel uneasy with placing an order online. Web design is critical; less is more and 2nd opinions count; when designing a website always ask an expert if it looks credible enough for a long term ecommerce solution. If it dosent look as clean, use friendly and professional as the top ebusinesses out there, chances are you'll need it redesigned.
2. Sell using multiple channels
Sign up for ebay and amazon.com to sell your products there, sure theses merchants take a cut from your sales but having an enlarged distribution network increases your brand visibility and credibility; associating your brand with an older more credible brand instills a sense of presence online and will definelty help your customers feel safe purchasing with you online.
3. Ensure transaction security and safety
If you developed your own ecommerce system (if you didn't you should contact Nikita for a ecommerce solution) add security certificates from Versign, you will have to spend some money buying the security certificate, but it is worth it.
Alternatively, use paypal or google checkout as part of your ecommerce processes, this helps secure your online transactions.
4. Have a sound marketing plan
Just like how the internet enables multiple distribution and sales points for your products, marketing must be equally robust and diverse. Without sound marketing practices your company can easily get lost online, and when you're lostonline you migth be lost forever.
Time and time again credibility of good companies are tarnished online because of bad management and poor marketing, so plan your marketing mix out before even thinking about selling online.