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  • 7 Top Tips for Online Retailers Nov 23, 2011

    Today everyone is shopping online, if you have a product or service that translates well to the internet it is worth setting up a website to ensure that you have an online presence. We’ve all been online to do shopping for something, so the trick is to take the ideas you’ve seen that have worked and make them your own.

    To be successful in the online space you need to ensure you’ve set your site up properly and everything is in place to optimise sales. We’ve created a list of things you might want to consider when selling your products and services online.

    1. Make your buyers feel confident. This isn’t always as easy as it sounds, but if you make claims about shipping time, levels of service, or offer guarantees your site, make sure you use them correctly and continually throughout the site to provide reassurance to your customer. It is particularly effective to do this on the checkout screen.
    2. Don’t make them login too soon. It’s surprising how many websites do this. Most retail sites require you to login in order to make a purchase, but some of them require you to login before you can even see the products or services on offer. This is a mistake. You should allow your customers to look around and put things in their shopping basket before logging in. Logging in should only take place at the checkout, because the customer has already decided they want the items; your customer is unlikely to go elsewhere when they have their items at the checkout.
    3. Store details. Make sure you have an option on the website that allows you to store your customers’ details if they choose you to; this helps them later on or the next time they purchase from your site because they won’t have to type everything in again.
    4. Keep it simple. Make sure that you don’t over complicate the shopping process. Your customers don’t want to login every time they want to place an item in the shopping cart, they want to shop quickly and easily. This goes for the checkout process too. Make sure it’s easy to use and as quick as possible. This can be done by using simple tools like allowing your customers to check a box to signify their shipping address is the same as the billing address, to save them writing it again.
    5. Don’t overdo it. For online purpose less really is more. Customers don’t often want to read long winded explanations or introductions; instead they want the facts quickly and clearly explained to them. Customers are on your site to buy something or because they’re interested in your products or services. Make it easy for them to get what they want.
    6. Searches. Make sure your searches are fast and easy to use. Tag all your items correctly so they turn up in the right categories when they are searched for. Not only will this make it easier for your customer, it’s also vital to make sales.
    7. Update regularly. You need to keep a constant check of your stock and make sure you’re not advertising something you will have to order in and make the customer wait for. If this is going to be the case it is advisable to let the customer know of the delay, perhaps in an email. Keeping up to date website information, terms and conditions and stock lists is essential to ensure you continue to look professional at all times.
    It is important to make sure you don’t alienate or upset your customers; which can be easy to do in the online world. Following the tips above will help you create a site that keeps your customers satisfied.

    About the Author
    PaymentSense provide merchant services to SME's in the UK. When you need payment processing for your business, PaymentSense are the only provider that offers:

    • Low, Capped rates
    • 24/7 service
    • Quick setup (days, not weeks)
    Find out more about accepting credit cards in your business or switching your current provider.
  • Setting up a limited company Nov 22, 2011


    Creating a limited company is one of the most popular choices when setting up a business. This is a popular choice because any liabilities the company may have are not directly associated with the company director or shareholders; the company is entirely responsible for all expenses. This means that if for any reason the company has debts that far outweigh its potential to pay them off there is the option of dissolving it. This allows everyone involved to get out of difficulty easily. This is why many people choose to set up a limited company and not begin trading as a sole trader; if a sole trader gets into debt they are directly responsible for paying it back. Requirements

    Setting up a limited company, isn’t as easy as setting up as a sole trader. When you want to set up a limited company you must first register with Companies House and your company accounts need to be filed with them annually. Companies House are responsible for incorporating and dissolving companies and they are required to keep the records of all companies operating in the UK; making all this information available to the public.

    In addition to making all your information available to Companies House, you must also submit an annual return to them too. This return is not like a tax return, it contains all the information they will need to update your company’s status. The form is AR01 from Companies House and it will contain information such as:

    • Name

    • Registration number

    • Company Address

    • Line of business

    • Shareholder details

    • Company director and secretary details
    There is a little more to it than just this but the form is quite self explanatory.

    As a limited company, in the same way as any business, the tax office must be made aware of any taxable every year, and in addition to this the company must also file a Corporation Tax return too. Your accountant will be able to help you with this, but you must make sure that all information is correct and any payments are made within the deadline. In addition to these, you must also ensure that all employees of the company pay income tax and National Insurance Contributions.
    Setting it up

    Setting up the company requires following a protocol. This is how you should proceed. The first thing to do is to register with Companies House. You will be required to provide the following:

    • Memorandum of association. Basically the name of your company, where you operate and what you do.
    • Articles of Association. This should detail a little more, telling of the directors in the company and what power they have, and also detail the shareholders responsibilities and powers etc.
    • Director and Shareholders. This is information about the directors and secretary and any shareholders. This is submitted on form IN01.
    For further information on how to do these or perhaps hire a professional to help you with it you can visit the Companies House website and they’ll put you on the right track.

    About the Author
    PaymentSense provide merchant services to SME's in the UK. When you need payment processing for your business, PaymentSense are the only provider that offers:

    • Low, Capped rates
    • 24/7 service
    • Quick setup (days, not weeks)
    Find out more about accepting credit cards in your business or switching your current provider.
  • Why Your Customers Prefer Credit Cards Nov 22, 2011


    It’s in your best interest to understand your customers, and as a merchant you should never neglect doing a little market research or reading the occasional article. If you are currently running a small to medium sized business and you are still quite dependent on cash purchases you really should read on.

    It is imperative that you change your payment options to allow you to accept credit card payments. This is for several very good reasons. The following list may not seem significant to you as a retailer, but as I mentioned earlier, you need to understand your customer and their motivations:

    • When you take on credit card processing in your place of business you allow your customers to earn their valuable cash back points or other points related to whatever reward scheme their credit card company offers. These can vary considerably, from: donating money to charity, to earning air miles; as long as you have credit card machines at your place of business then they’ll be earning their precious points and rewards.
    • When you accept credit card payments you allow the customer to protect their purchases with whatever credit card insurance scheme the individual lender may have on offer. There are drawbacks to this, not least of which is the fact that when your customer spends a certain amount of money you as a merchant become jointly liable with the credit card company for any insurance claims.
    • Some people may have had a poor credit history in the past, and because you have installed credit card machines you automatically allow your customer to use their new credit card to rebuild their credit score.
    • As above, when your business is able to accept credit cards you enable the credit card user to continue building a good credit score, or alternatively maintain an already good one; continuous spending on their credit card makes them popular and gives them good credit.
    • Many people also use their credit cards to spread their payments out. They might want to buy a few products or services from you, but they might not have the money to pay for it until next month. You’re credit card processing upgrade will allow them to continue to buy from you even when they don’t have the money.
    • Paying for goods from your business is made a lot simpler for those foreign visitors if you have credit card payment machines. They will be able to pay for things easily without having to do all the messy currency conversions, and you will get their business because you’re making it easy for them to pay.
    Credit cards are indeed the future, and if you don’t accept credit cards you are indeed part of the past. The estimated profits for your business with the introduction of credit card processing will far outweigh the set up and running costs of your equipment.

    So with this in mind, and when you review the list of reasons why people use credit cards, there doesn’t seem to be any logical reason to not accept credit cards in your business does there?