Creating the Virtual Store: Taking your Web Site from Browsing to Buying
We’ll be seeing a flood of books on electronic commerce in the coming months, but Yesil’s is one of the first to move beyond technology to store design. Chapter 3, “Designing the Shopping Experience,” provides an excellent introduction, with on-target suggestions and examples which help you create an “irresistible shopping environment” for your customers. Observing that people shop for five reasons — entertainment, companionship, efficiency, price, and product features — the author discusses how each of these elements can be built into an effective retail presence. Her comments on motivation are very helpful:
Even a good catalog sells lifestyle, not things. A well-planned catalog is a collection of items that support a lifestyle concept. Catalogs such as those from L.L. Bean, The Sharper Image, or Lillian Vernon instantly bring a lifestyle image to mind for customers. If it’s an image they like, they tend to buy. A lesson to draw from these observations is take time to plan your presentation.
She also provides ways to analyze a store to maximize motivation to purchase. Throughout the book there are examples of Web stores which illustrate the points.
Other sections are also good, though the technology sections of a book of this nature become outdated very quickly. Chapters cover the history of online sales, realism in planning a store, ways to learn about virtual customers, promoting the online store, virtual legality, and payment methods. The final chapter explores possible futures for various emerging forms of online sales. The book concludes with seven appendices on: Web tracking products, CyberCash, First Virtual, DigiCash, Netscape Live Payment, Netscape Merchant System, and Microsoft Merchant System.
I found Creating the Virtual Store well worth the purchase price and the time invested in reading.