Cash In With E-Commerce

All financial experts say that passive income is a major key to fiscal success.

Wouldn’t it be great to have money coming in while you’re sleeping, vacationing or getting a body wrap? Because you are so busy running a spa, building a business, managing a team and servicing clients with a smile, here’s a way for you to earn passive income that can give you a much-needed break.

The benefits

It’s essential to set up an e-commerce solution on your Web site for various reasons: gift certificates, product sales and even treatment bookings. Although you probably are aware of this, you may wonder how to begin and what to expect. Well, take a look at the facts, according to NPD BeautyTrends and Media Metrix. Sixty-four percent of online beauty purchasers said that they mostly buy products that they have tried before. This serves as evidence of how important it is for you to remind clients that they can shop online for the products that you’ve used on them during a service. Also, “convenience” was cited more often than “discounts” as one of the most important reasons for shopping online.

It is very interesting to note that only 5% of purchasers said that they mostly buy products they never have tried. Before you panic, however, realize that 31% said that they purchase both products they have tried before and those that are new to them. NPD BeautyTrends expects replenishment and brand equity to be the key components for online e-commerce success.

That’s all well and good, but how do you get started so that you can cash in on e-commerce?

The details

Keep it simple with these easy guidelines to help you understand the ins and outs of setting up your e-commerce store.

• Pay great attention to the design, look and feel of e-commerce sites that you like. Observe what cart they’re using, and call to discuss purchasing it—it’s that simple!

• Don’t necessarily pick a cart that requires the user to log in before they can shop. This may deter the customer from making a purchase. Although many sites do require this, they don’t have to, so check out both options.

• Find out what setup involves. You may want to hire a tech wizard to install this for you and then provide a few hours, as needed, to update the system at a later date.

• Examine the shop’s merchandising tools, and evaluate the features that come with them. Will they help increase your selling power? Can you display shipping offers, give special products VIP showcasing and offer customer testimonials, as well as a wish list?

• Administration tools should help you save time and effort when organizing products, product options, product categories, images, orders and customers. Make sure that it is easy enough to use.

• Do your research on processing companies that work with credit card transactions because they represent another essential aspect of the business. Some are terrific, but others can be taxing.

Read the fine print

My advice? Always read the fine print and see what hidden fees you will be charged monthly. In my experience, even when the company representative told me there were no hidden charges, they indeed were there. So while you’re asking about them, find out the terms of the contract and how you can get out of it, just in case.

Put your clients at ease with a secure processing system. There will be a 2–4% fee for online transactions, depending upon the credit card’s actual fee, and this is normal—it simply is because you don’t have the card “in hand.” Make sure that you do not store clients’ credit card information after they make a purchase. If your Web site were to be hacked into, all the credit card information could get stolen.

Ask the serious questions

What if things do go awry with your new e-commerce store, and this supposedly excellent addition to your site becomes less than perfect? This is when tech support makes the biggest difference in the outcome, as well as to your sanity. Are you going to panic, alienate an outraged client, lose an order and deal with chaos for hours, if not days? No way—because you did your due diligence beforehand.

Ask the sales representative some serious questions before giving the company your business, and inquire specifically about its troubleshooting protocols, as well as its inquiry response time. What are the company’s hours of availability? In which time zone is it located? Is a manager assigned to your spa, or will you be referred to just anyone? It is helpful to know now, rather than waiting until a problem arises and your blood pressure is boiling.

How can you tell if this is the e-commerce company for you? Ask for references. Request a few other customer names and contact information, and call them. They’ll tell you what you need to know—especially if they’re upset.

Become a one-stop resource

But enough nay-saying and looking down the worrisome road—there are many wonderful positive aspects about bringing e-commerce to your Web site, including collecting a passive income, providing convenient one-stop shopping for your clients and showcasing products. And, with that, cashing in on e-commerce definitely will help you to get cash out of it.

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