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Ecommerce Web 2.0 Tools Everybody Should Know

So you have built the online shop, found the supplier to get the goods from and set up a cart and accounting system…

Now if someone would just come to your site and buy something.

It is one of the sad ironies of life that one of the reasons people often give for leaving a 9-5 job to set up their own website at home is they are tired of the traffic.

And that is exactly what they are looking for now.

Traditionally there were several ways to get this done:

* Use the services of greedy… err business-savvy eBay or other puny… er growing online auction services.
* Pay for ads through Google Adwords
* Buy banner advertising
* Write articles and comment on forums.
Thankfully, several new web 2.0 addresses have proved to be a hit with not only netizens but also search engines.

Web 2.0 platforms are a boon to smaller ecommerce operators. They don’t only allow you to bring more people to your site they also let you communicate with your paying and potential customers and build your service into one that is more targeted towards the people that buy your products.

There are several different types of web 2.0 platform that you, as an ecommerce operator, should be aware of:

* Video platforms
* Material hosting sites and blogs
* Social bookmarking sites
Video sites
Rich media, like video didn’t even register on peoples’ radars five years ago but that has changed with the rise of YouTube.

Now the general consensus by marketers is that you risk ignoring video at your peril.

While YouTube is the undoubted king of video sites there is are many others on the internet with different benefits and different audiences, and it is often beneficial to release your video onto a number of different sites, much like wholesale electronics supplier Chinavasion has done. These are only two of the video sites online and a Google search will bring up many more results.

Good examples of this are the Chinavasion Metacafe page and Chinavasion Revver page.

Don’t forget, when making videos, short is sweet and including descriptions and tags is always essential.

Content Sites
There are a number of content hosting sites online including Squidoo, Hubpages and some of the document hosting sites on the internet as well as blogging platforms like wordpress and moveable type.

Blogs can be excellent content hosting solutions that constantly draw attention back to your site and your products. Some, like wordpress are useful in that you can either set one up that is hosted on their server (like http://goodecommercetips.wordpress.com) or download their software and plug it directly into your site. The Chinavasion blog is one such blog. There are plusses and minuses with both scenarios and it is a decision to weigh up carefully.

Social Bookmarking Sites
Once you’ve created content you’re going to need to get somebody to see it.

A good way to draw attention to your site, and to the resources you create for people is through social bookmarking sites.

These sites are basically ways for netizens to share sites that they think are interesting with other people and are loved by both netizens and search engines.

One popular example of this is Stumbleupon. A Stumbleupon blog can create a lot of attention on its own right as seen by the Chinavasion Stumbleupon blog.

Social networking sites, like MySpace and Facebook are a different type of social bookmarking. While you can in fact use these to share your links with people they are also used to communicate with your customers, keep them informed of what is happening at your company and see what else is happening.

The new Friendfeed service is a great example of this, as seen by the Chinavasion Friendfeed room, with people sharing different links and discussing what they have found.

When putting items through social bookmarking sites it may pay to consider masking your actions a little by also submitting other links, particularly when using sites like Stumbleupon or Digg.

So what pitfalls do you have to take consideration when marketing through web 2.0?

There are two main concerns. The first is that you remain aware of your reputation online and the second is you take into consideration the time getting involved takes.

You develop a good reputation by providing great content. If something appears to be poorly written or lacking in useful information you risk getting a bad reputation.

Another way to ‘loose face’ is to fail to develop a relationship with customers On sites like YouTube, or in the case of Chinavasion Metacafe, check up on videos from time to time and answer any questions that clients and potential clients have. It doesn’t mean you’ve got to deal with every flamer or troll, in fact it is probably more beneficial to ignore the people who seem to be just posting a comment to get someone arguing with them.

Essentially if you cut corners or try to trick a customer it’s going to hit you hard in the long run. Treat people fairly and they will remain loyal to you.

Those are just some of the excellent web 2.0 posting tools out there on the internet that make great marketing tools for up and coming e-commerce operators strapped for cash.

Rose Li

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