Selling successfully online. Over 300 top tips for running an e-commerce website

Chris Barling

Published by

Actinic Software Ltd

ISBN

9780955068812

RRP

£7.99

Reviewed by

George Williams MBCS CITP

Score

7 out of 10

There are 320 top tips to be precise, filtered out through seven chapters in this handy A5 size book. For the price, this book represents excellent value for money.

The author first introduces the reader to the concepts of selling online and then covers marketing, selling, operations and advanced ecommerce in some depth.

The book concludes with tips on customer relations, winning repeat business and getting recommendations. Sweeping up this really entertaining little book of tips are some final thoughts to kick-start the reader.

Selling Successfully Online is a book that can be easily digested in small chunks. It covers all the important bases. Almost 60 per cent of the tips come in the two sections on ‘Marketing your Website and ‘Operations’, which feels as it should be.

As a novice, working your way through these tips, it would become quite clear, quite quickly, that you are going to need help to get your new website up and running. It is a ‘must read’ before engaging with your internal IT staff or a third-party web design company.

Conversely the numerical nature of the tips represents an excellent checklist against which to review your current website’s design and your company’s supporting marketing and operational procedures.

On the downside the contents list goes slightly off beam, with the section on ‘Considerations for Shipping and Distribution’ being content listed in the wrong sequence, and the final tips to remember come across as throwaway and very much squeezed onto one page. 

Given the explosion in the deployment of social networks for business, I thought this section could have had a few more tips included. The book would have benefited too from some illustrations to break up the numerical list nature of the content and to perhaps reinforce some of the tips in an amusing way.

A minor, but important point, is the printing and binding of the book, as the text on the odd numbered pages runs right into the crease of the spine, making it cumbersome to read the print.

Despite being published by Actinic Software, who themselves offer a  Payment Service Provider (PSP)  service through one of their subsidiaries (to link together a client’s websites, the online buyers and the client’s merchant’s account), this book is, bar one direct plug and a few indirect mentions, remarkably free of self publicity and steers to the right side of vanity publishing.

However if the reader is new to ecommerce, they will require help. The nature of the tips makes it obvious that professional help will be required. By looking at the foot of every page, it is quite clear to where the publishers would like the reader to turn.

So, taking all of the above into consideration, I will award this book 7 out of 10.

Note: An ebook version of the book is available for free from Actinic Software’s website

November 2011