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Show Some Respect

Rodney Dangerfield gets no respect. He told his psychiatrist that he had suicidal tendencies. His psychiatrist said that from now on Dangerfield had to pay in advance.

That might be funny to you, but treating your customer with no respect will drive him away from your site for sure. And one surefire way to drive him away is to confuse him.

Keep your navigation simple. You're there to sell. Customers are there to buy. Make it easy for them to find your products and buy them. If they can't find what they want and order it in three mouse clicks, you run the risk of losing them. So organize your site material logically from the customer's point of view. Be sure to include clear directions for navigating the site from your home page. Remember that the home page of your web store serves a variety of functions. It's a map of your store, a welcome mat, and a marketing message all in one.

People get lost easily, so include a "Return Home" link on every page of your site. Include a FAQ page and have links to the FAQ on every page where you think a customer might have a question about your store or service. Anticipate the needs of your users. If your site has a lot of product to sell, provide a search engine to easily find it.

Go light on the technical jargon and don't adopt a hipper-than-thou attitude in your writing. Shoppers want information—not a sales pitch. Don't persuade. Inform.

Finally, look at your URL. See that WWW in front of it? It stands for the World Wide Web. So think globally. Users from other countries can easily access your site. If you want to make an international sale, respect cultures other than your own. Remember that they might not be familiar with American slang or expressions. Keep the wording simple.

Avoid these simple e-commerce mistakes and your B2C and B2B e-commerce endeavors will not become "Bankruptcy to Consumer" and "Bankruptcy to Business."

As for me, I'm going to sleep until I'm 65, wake up thin, and have lots of money to enjoy it with! Now, where did I put those toll-free numbers?

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