Help them shop
You don't need to pay a dime to launch your own site, but it must look professional and operate well, Shaheen says. Appropriate landing pages should correspond to key search words. For instance, if customers click on your advertisement for basketball jerseys and sneakers, make sure the landing page contains basketball jerseys and sneakers. "Instead of someone coming in to see the 30 categories [of products] you sell, you can drive people to exactly what they're looking for," Shaheen says.
Pictures must look professional. Even if you're not a photographer by trade and you can't afford to hire one either, ask the product manufacturer to send over some quality digital prints, Shaheen says. If you make your own products, consider investing in a so-called light cube, which provides even, professional-looking photos.
If you intend to offer an e-commerce option, choose your shopping cart carefully, as not all carts are alike. For instance, "if you plan on issuing special offers and discount coupons at some point, look for shopping carts that give you those extra features," Shaheen says.
Help them buy
Consumers don't like shipping fees. In fact, they regularly abandon their shopping carts because of them, Shaheen says. Instead of charging extra for shipping, she recommends building the fee into the price. And if you're worried about comparison shoppers, offer inexpensive enticements like access to specials or free content, Shaheen says.
Security also plays a big role in customers' decisions, Huang says. Every e-commerce site needs to have Secure Socket Layer, or SSL, protection, she says. Verisign and TRUSTe are big encryption providers. But if you'd like avoid having to install "Red Flag" rules (federally imposed failsafe measures to guard against identity theft), then look into payment gateways such as those offered by Authorize.net and Braintree Payment Solutions.
Finally, make providing quality customer service a priority. You may decide to answer your own service calls, but if you don't want to get woken up in the middle of the night, consider online chat tools, such as those offered by LivePerson and WebsiteAlive.