Ecommerce Spot

Meet the Maker: Andy Chapman of Ecommerce Templates

Meet the Maker: Andy Chapman of Ecommerce Templates

In the next of our "Meet the Maker" series, we have Andy Chapman from Ecommerce Templates. I've had the pleasure of interacting with Andy and watching the excellent service he gives his customers in his forums, he's a great guy to deal with. He was kind enough to share his wisdom from dealing with hundreds of online shops over the years.

About You
My name is Andy Chapman and I’m the marketing and sales director of Electronic Shopping Solutions LLC. We offer shopping cart software through www.ecommercetemplates.com and regular Dreamweaver, Frontpage, CSS and Golive templates from our sister store www.thetemplatestore.com

What is the most important thing someone thinking about setting up an online shop should consider?
People should first consider the final cost and work out how much the store will cost over a year / 2 years – taking into account price of the software, hosting fees, payment processing fees, shipping costs, any development / design costs and marketing. Having taken that into consideration a simple plan can be set up to make sure the vendor can survive the first 6 months on relatively low sales. It’s always easy to go for a freebie from your host and then later find out that you need to spend hundreds of dollars on a developer to set it up for you.

What do you think is the most common cause of failure of an online shop? How should people avoid that?
Lots of obvious failings such as not researching the market, not being able to compete on pricing / shipping, not being able to adequately support the products, not estimating the time required each day etc. Spending time before setting up store can prove invaluable. It also seems that a lot of people of will set up their products and categories, get everything looking great and then sit back. Once the products are up, it’s time to start making additional content pages – background on the products, anecdotes about the products, product glossaries, whatever will provide good landing pages from the search engines to get people on your site, get people interested and start funneling them towards checkout. You can see the tumbleweed blowing across many stores due to lack of time and effort.

What trends do you see happening in small to medium business ecommerce stores in the next few years?
I wouldn’t like to make any predictions but I can’t see any reason why small businesses should fear setting up an online store as long as they do their homework and go into the process with their eyes open.

What one thing do you think most shop owners should do more of?
I think a few shop owners lack original content on their sites, relying on product blurb from distributors and manufacturers and only using that on their product descriptions. Stores can never have enough content, and if the navigation is clear then it’s a great way of channeling people to checkout.

Who do you see as the primary audience for your software?
Ecommerce Templates is flexible enough to appeal right across the scale so we don’t have a “primary audience” as such. There are experienced users attracted by the clean and open source code, unlimited products etc whilst other first time users will enjoy the simplicity of getting a store online.

Why should shop owners choose Ecommerce Templates over the competition?
When choosing a shopping cart solution it’s worth looking behind the scenes a bit. At Ecommerce Templates we have always had the philosophy of “support and community first” and can boast having one of the liveliest forums and a network of highly skilled developers from around the world.
Vince, the wizard behind all the code in Ecommerce Templates, has set up the software in a modular fashion meaning we can offer it integrated into our own professionally designed templates or with the possibility of placing the ASP or PHP include lines into an existing site. This has resulted in a powerful solution, and with prices as low as $105 I don’t think we can be beaten on value for money or after sales service.

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