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Improve Customer-Company Communication In Your Ecommerce Business

Jan 19, 2008
The one thing you do not want your visitors to feel is that you are not interested in talking to them. Unfortunately, most web based businesses have no 'hello, I want to talk to you message.' That is to say, the most the visitor ever finds is a 'contact us' button with a form at the end.
The internet offers awesome potential. Customers can do something.

If they go to a storefront, they are never given a survey to conveniently fill out while browsing the pages, or a forum where they can leave their opinion or views. They don't have the opportunity to sign up for a newsletter. If they do it is an 'after thought' offered by the cashier when the customer is already thinking about leaving the store.

Even if a storefront does offer communication, it is always bi-lateral, singular. The internet offers multi-level communication which not only makes the customer offer feedback, but can make the customer a part of the business's structure. For example, every time a customer leaves a comment in the forum, asks a question that is added to the FAQ, or comments on the blog, it turns a post into a multi-dimensional view of the product, company, and website.

There are several tools that can be used to improve communication between the customer and company. Each comment, each post, and each survey or poll improves the site's ability to generate revenue.


The first thing you should do is have an email box right on the home page. A 'contact me' button on the sidebar is more powerful than a 'contact us' link at the bottom of the page. Asking customers to sign up for a newsletter so that you can keep in touch, invite them to offer suggestions, and give them the opportunity to take part in planned events is the best way to build a fan base.

Many people are tired of receiving 'fliers' in their inbox full of information they probably do not want to read. But, if they are receiving notifications of free workshops, give away books, events, requests for their input into a book, contest, or other 'customer oriented' item, they will be more likely to sign up.

Online Shopping

Having a product for sale is important. Without some type of product, the business cannot generate revenue. I know that seems obvious, but I have talked to many ecommerce business people who are 'getting ready' or 'building up' they are 'establishing' or learning, the list of excuses for not having a product to sell is endless.

Other sites prefer the affiliate option, but even that is not a guaranteed method of generating income as many people who are already pre-determined to make a purchase will most likely bypass the pre-sell sites and go right to the parent company.

Affiliates are a good idea, but there should still be a product that can only be purchased on your site... and not an ebook.

Some companies shy away from selling online. They believe it is too expensive, or become tangled in the concept of merchant accounts and shopping cart platforms, SLL certificates, and shipping costs. There are easy ways to sell online using products such as paypal.com.

Surveys and Contests

Contests are one great way to attract customers, especially if you can think of ways to let the consumers submit their own items to be judged by visitors to the site. Polls which have a purpose other than to fill up space are also popular.


If you cannot answer an email you receive immediately, a carefully worded auto-response is better than no response at all. Do not just brush people off with a 'I am not in the office' message. You could offer a free ebook to anyone that 'might help' until you are back in the office.
Auto-responders can also be used to set up 'a lesson a day' type of e-courses. These can offer extra value - as long as they offer valuable information and are not just teasers that ask the visitor 'why haven't you purchased yet?'


One of the biggest movements on the net is 'social networking.' One of the most overlooked benefit is asking people to become a member of a club where they can receive special information, submit information to the website and newsletter, and have access to a bulletin board.

This should be a closed club. Do not add un-moderated forums, guest books, or blogs. If your blog platform does not allow you to edit comments - then disable the comment feature.
About the Author
Mark Walters is a third generation entrepreneur and author. He offers free training and investing videos designed to speed you towards financial independence at http://www.cashflowinstitute.com/videosignup.htm
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