One of the key ingredients to a successful online business…

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Of course, there are many different factors that go into making an online business successful but there is one thing that is absolutely key if you want your Internet business to be a hit.

If you remember this one thing, it can be enough to pull customers to your website (not just once but numerous times) with their wallets open!

If you get it wrong, you will see your visitors disappearing into cyberspace faster than an 8Mb Broadband connection!

So what is this great secret?  Well, it’s no secret (although plenty of businesses don’t seem to be aware of it!) – quite simply make it easier for your customers to buy from you than elsewhere.  That’s it – nothing more, nothing less.

It seems obvious but so many site owners miss this basic point and I am not just referring to having a straight-forward purchase/payment process.  If you make the whole experience of using your site quick, easy and almost enjoyable, buyers will come back and purchase from you again and again even if they can get the goods/services you sell at a cheaper price elsewhere.

Let’s look at a couple of examples based on my own online spending habits this week…

Many of you know that I have been refurbishing my house for the past year or so and in that time, I have lost count of how much money I have spent at the local DIY superstores.  But in the past two or three months, my expenditure at these stores has been exactly zero.  Why?  Because I have been buying everything I need online.

Tools, screws, fittings, even wood and other bulky objects – it has all been purchased over the Internet and for one reason.  It was easier.  I can sit in front of a computer, browse through the products I am interested in, click a few buttons and the next day my entire order rolls up and is carried to my front door.  Even though my local superstores will deliver, I have to either go to the store to place my order (hassle) or pick up the phone to tell them what I want (this means I need to know exactly what I am after and this isn’t always the case).  Alternatively, I could just jump in my 45 year old Land Rover and pick up the stuff myself but when you have driven in a vehicle as old as this, you will appreciate that it isn’t the most comfortable way to travel and I tend to have to build myself up to it!

I know that I could have saved myself a few quid by venturing into the outside world myself but quite frankly, I have better things to do with my time and would rather pay someone else £5 or £10 to do the driving around for me.  And of course, I am not the only one that thinks like this…

Next example – I have purchased a couple of items on eBay this week.  Again, items that I could have obtained by going to the shops in the local town.  But again, buying online was easier so that is where I spent my money.

Let’s look at my own websites for a moment – take the UK and US wholesale sites.  Why do people join them?  Well usually it is because they are looking for wholesale suppliers to buy from.  Could they find details of these suppliers without joining my site?  Sure if they were happy to spend a few hours/days/weeks trawling websites and offline sources.  So why do people pay for access to my websites everyday?  Because it is easier.

If your website can make something easier for a potential customer, you are halfway to having a successful business.  We are all busy people and the fast pace of life that we currently experience shows no signs of slowing down.  If you can make things easier for a customer, if you can save them time or hassle, you may well find that they choose to buy from your site rather than a competitor even if you are more expensive.

If you are trying to think of the type of online business you could start, just think about the kind of things we all do everyday.  The tasks we need to perform, the products we need to buy, the services we need to use.  How can any of these tasks/purchases/services be made easier for the consumer?

Keep things easy – make your customers actually want to come and spend money with you because it is a ‘no-hassle’ experience.  It works and there must be a million new and different ways to make life easier for people.

All you have to do is think of one of them…

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