How SSL works?

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How SSL Works

The Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is a protocol that provides secure communication between a client and a server. Here the client is your browser and the server is the web site you’re communicating with. A Secure communication tries to accomplish three main goals viz. privacy, message integrity, and authentication.

An example Scenario

A wants to buy a book from B’s online store. In order to complete the process he’ll need to transmit sensitive personal information like his credit card number. A wants to make sure that the data he sends to B is kept confidential (privacy), and cannot be altered along the way (message integrity). He also wants to make sure that he’s really sending the information to B and not an imposter (authentication).

Privacy

The sensitive information A sends to B is kept private by a method called cryptography. A plaintext message is encrypted into ciphistext. It’s estimated that trying to crack the ciphistext by brute force alone (trying every possible combination) would take millions of years even if all the computers in the world were linked together to decrypt it.

Public Key Cryptography

The information which turns plaintext message into an encrypted ciphistext message is a called a key. Public key cryptography makes use of a pair of keys, one is public, and the other is private. A wants to send B private information, so B says, “Hello A, use this public key to encrypt your message before sending it to me. When I receive your encrypted message I will use my private key to decrypt your message.” It’s okay for anyone to have a copy of the public key, but only B should have a copy of his private key. A plaintext message encrypted with the public key can only be decrypted with the private key.

Message Integrity

When A sends a message to B, someone could intercept that message, alter it, and send it on its way. He could end up buying the wrong book or more copies than he really wanted. Message integrity is achieved by sending a message digest along with the encrypted message. A message digest refers to a fixed-length representation of a message. A says to B, “I’m going to send you an encrypted message so that you know my message to you hasn’t been intercepted and altered along the way, I’m also sending a fingerprint of my original message. Please check the fingerprint to see if it matches when you receive my message.”

Authentication

A’s message to B is encrypted for privacy, and fingerprinted for message integrity, but how does A know that he is really sending the message to B? A needs to authenticate B, to make sure he’s really B and not someone else. Authentication is achieved by digital certificates.

Digital SSL Certificates

When A and B first negotiate their SSL session, B sends A a copy of his digital certificate. A digital certificate is an electronic document. Inside that certificate is a copy of B’s public key and information about its owner (domain name, organization name, location).

SSL Certificate – Why Should A Trust the Information

Because the SSL certificate is verified or “signed” by a trusted third party Certificate Authority, such as Comodo. The trusted Certificate Authority’s job is to verify B’s application for a digital SSL certificate. The authentication process can range from verifying that B has authoritative control of his domain, to requiring B to submit legal documents that verify B’s business or organization. Once B’s identity has been verified he will be issued a digital SSL certificate.

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10 dropshipper companies you need to check

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Drop shipping is a supply chain management technique in which the retailer does not keep goods in stock, but instead transfers orders and shipment details to either the manufacturer or a wholesaler. The wholesaler or the manufacturer then ships the goods directly to the customer.

Here is a list of some companies which offer drop-shipping.

Doba

doba

No of products : 1.6 million
Features : weekly deals, market research tool, custom data export, facebook app. Integrates with estoreadvanced
Price : $59.95

Dropship

dropship

No of products : 1.6 million
Features : Integrates with ecommerce websites
Price : contact for pricing

Dropshippers

dropshippers

No of products : 3.5 million
Features : 400 Categories, 500 suppliers, supports selling on ebay, facebook
Price : Directory $99; auction plan $149; website plan $199; combo plan $299

Dropshipdesign

dropshipdesign

No of products : 1 million
Features : supports selling on ebay, Amazon, personal website
Price: Basic plan $49.99; eBay plan $99.99; Website plan $149.99 and $29.99 per month

Inventory source

inventorysource

No of products : Not mentioned million
Features : allows selling on various platforms and marketplaces
Price: Basic account is free; $25 per month for the first supplier and $15 for each additional

Wholesale2b

wholesale2b

No of products : 8,00,000
Features : Pay only when you activate a plan from your free account
Price: Free account to review products; eBay plan $24.99 per month; website plan $39.99/month

Hienote

Hienote

No of products : Not mentioned
Features : Contains an online directory of dropshippers
Price: $29.95

Salehoo

salehoo

No of products : 1.6 million
Features : provides 92,000 individuals with a wholesale directory containing over 8,000 verified suppliers
Price: $67 per year

Worldwidebrands

worldwidebrands

No of products : 10 million
Features : 8,000 drop shippers and wholesalers
Price: 299 lifetime access

Shopster

shopster

No of products : 1.5 million
Features : Allows you to build and online store, has ebay listing tools and support top brands
Price: Standard membership (listing up to 15 products) is free; expanded memberships start at $69.95/month.

 

10 things to know about a shopping cart

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1.  Shopping Carts help to automate your online business.

With any online business automation is key.  Any process that is repetitive theoretically can be helped by a software application.
Online shopping carts are basically electronic order forms for a merchant’s business. The link for the order form is placed on the merchant website that takes the customer to this order form.  Just as in the physical shopping cart the shopper can place as many or few items in the cart as they choose.  The shopping cart software will then automatically total the customer’s order including shipping and any applicable taxes.
Outside of using some shopping cart application your website will only be able to handle one item order at a time.  This will not only prove an inconvenience to the customer but loss of sales revenue for the merchant.

2.  There are basically two types of shopping carts you can buy: Service carts and Software carts.
With Service Carts the shopping cart application is installed on a host system and you simply pay to use the cart. You normally pay a setup fee and a monthly fee on a per transaction basis.  Software Carts on the other hand require that you purchase the shopping cart software and install it on your website.
The upfront cost for Service Carts make them more attractive than the software services.  In addition all the upgrades and servicing of the software is done by the company and you don’t need to pay an upgrade fee.  So you get free technical support as long as you use the cart and don’t have to worry about installations, maintenance and all the technical background stuff.
One disadvantage of these carts is that if the host company ever goes out of business, you lose not only the service but may also lose your customer database if you failed to use the backup feature provided with the Service Carts.  It’s important that you keep your inventory and customer database on a backup file always.

Software Carts usually require you pay a full upfront investment in the software, and then you have to install it on your own system. Installation is sometimes included with some providers.

Installation and integration with your website and payment gateway normally takes some time and effort before your up and running. Some vendors may even host the software for you for a set fee which defeats the whole purpose in owning the software in the first place.
If you install the cart on your own system, then you will have to purchase a Security Certificate at $150 a year or more to be able to make it secure. This cost alone may make this option clearly more expensive, especially if you have a small sale volume.
Since you ‘own’ the software if you have the skills or can hire a programmer you may make changes to the cart to better serve your purpose.  This will of course require more time and money.

3.  A Shopping Cart should be easy to set up.
The whole idea of using a shopping is to automate the order process and make the merchant’s life easier.  If the solution is a problem then you are back to square one.
Most storeowners do not possess the HTML or CGI skills to integrate their shopping cart with their websites.  The shopping cart software should allow the merchant to create a store from a wizard or template.  This does not rule out the option for merchants who will want more control over their webpage creation if they have the HTML skills to do this.
Whatever the technical skill levels of the user, there are several features that all merchants should look out for. This includes helpful documentation or a manual on how to use the application and support for when you have questions. Also vital is the ability to import product data from a database file. For once you have more than, say 20 to 30 items for sale, entering product details manually becomes a tedious chore.
Don’t overlook the specification of sales taxes and shipping charges as part of the setup process. Several e-commerce solutions currently available have major limitations in these areas. They may have no way of specifying shipping charges for international shipments, for example, or they may be limited to being able to collect sales tax from one US state only. The best solutions come with pre-set tax tables that ensure the correct levels of tax are collected on each order. Some solutions also interface directly with information from carriers such as UPS and FedEx and can automatically calculate the shipping cost for each order.

4.  A Shopping Cart should be able to accept payment of as many types as possible.
The majority of orders a merchant will receive from an online store will be paid with a credit card.  There will be shoppers who prefer to use other means of payment and they should be afforded this option.  A lost sales means lost profit and that’s why an eStore should be capable of accepting orders and payments in as many ways as possible. These include online, fax, telephone and postal mail by credit and debit cards, paper and electronic checks and digital cash.
Smaller merchants may choose to process their credit card payments offline; it is worth checking that the software is also capable of handling online processing as well. This gives flexibility to cope with future growth.
It is also important to select an e-commerce solution that automates as much of the order management process as possible, for example, the ability to automatically send an e-mail order notification to the customer along with a unique number for order tracking.

5.  A Shopping Cart should allow for easy administration
Just like an offline store an online store requires constant administration.  That’s expected in any type of business even a web business.  The crucial factor is that this task should be as easy as possible.
You should look for a web based administration panel rather than a desktop administration application.  When using a web based administration panel you can control your store from anywhere you have internet access.  The desktop administration means that you are tied to a limited number of computers where you have the application installed.
It should be easy to add, delete and amend product data as well as run special time-limited price promotions. You should avoid solutions that require all changes to be made offline and then for the whole database to be re-loaded on to the server.
Also look out for any additional marketing tools that might be provided. For example the maintenance of customer buying history and preferences, targeted e-mailing capability, and affiliate program management. These can all prove to be very useful.
Other important administrative capabilities include being able to run reports that will provide important information about customer behavior and buying patterns. These reports will be the backbone of your marketing strategies and decisions about the effectiveness of your store’s design and product offerings.
Some e-commerce software solutions only provide basic analysis of server logs such as the number of hits and referrer information. This is totally inadequate. Ensure that the solution you choose provides a complete suite of detailed reports, including a sales history analysis and information about the most common paths that customers are taking through your store.

6.  A Shopping Cart software should be customizable.
An offline store has a certain atmosphere of its own. So should an online store as well.  The choice of colors, text font and layout all go into creating a virtual atmosphere for your estore.  From the first page to checkout there should be a connecting theme and structure to the web pages.  If going from your website to the checkout there is a drastic change in the web page then the customer may feel that they are at the wrong website or they made a wrong choice.  When a customer is confused they don’t enter their credit card information and you lose the sale.
The shopping cart should allow for you to change the webpage template, upload your own company logos and change the header and footer graphics to fit in with the theme of your web store.
Customizable means that the shopping cart should allow for the growth of your business in handling increased number of items in your inventory and your growing customer database.  If you have low limits on the number of items the cart can handle then outgrowing this limit will means transferring to a new service.  So be prepared and plan for the growth of your online store by choosing the appropriate cart.

7.  A Shopping Cart with a professional appearance will instill confidence in shoppers.
Your estore is your virtual salesman and he should dress to impress.  If your shopping cart looks like the doodling of a beginning web programmer then customers will assume that the products that you sell are just as bad.
The appearance of your shopping cart from the layout to the thumbnail pictures to the page navigation should be of a professional quality.  Not only does it look appealing to the eyes but your items would be easier to find making the shopping experience as pleasant as possible.  Offline stores know the importance of store layout and product presentation.  You cannot take the risk of being any less particular.  You are not present physically to answer objections the customer may have and so you need to make sure that there are little or no questions to ask.

8.  Shopping Cart should allow for real-time ordering.
Real-item ordering will allow your customers to place their orders at the time of checkout and receive immediate information about the status of the order.  This information includes: if all the items are in stock, successful credit card authorization and shipping information if possible.
The name of the game for online shoppers is instant gratification.  The more that you could satisfy them with this important information then the more they’ll shop with you. As mentioned before, the shopping cart should be able to integrate with shippers such as UPS and FedEx to provide live shipping rates and tracking number for the orders.

 

9.  Shopping Cart should integrate smoothly with the more popular gateways
The Shopping cart is only one facet of the e-commerce site.  This cart must integrate with a payment gateway in order to process credit cards.  If the shopping cart is limited in the number of gateways it can successfully interface with then you’ll be limited in the choices you make for a payment gateway.  Most shopping cart developers are aware of this and so will make their carts compatible with the more popular gateways.  But this is an important factor you must consider when shopping for a gateway and shopping cart.
There are a few companies that provide a complete e-commerce solution and so gateway integration is not a hurdle because this comes packaged with the shopping cart software as well.  This means less worry for the merchant and often a break in the price of the complete package.

10.  Shopping Cart should have built-in features that allow you to build relationship with your customer base.
Selling is fundamentally about relationship building.  You build relationship by communicating with your customers, not only after they place an order but also to send them updates about your online store, special promotions or information related to the products they ordered from you.
The shopping cart should allow you to send notifications on new products added to your store and also a monthly or weekly newsletter to keep your customer base warm.  You should be able to manage all this mailing from the administrative panel or be able to export your customer database to another email marketing program.  Customers should be able to send email messages from your website to friends telling them about products that you offer and inviting them to visit your web store.
The whole function of a shopping cart is to make managing an online store easier for you the owner and to maximize your sales potential.  If you try to cut corners on this important tool you’ll limit your own business success and increase the administrative workload.  It’s better to invest in a shopping cart with more features presently needed than to have just enough functions only to realize that the growth of your business require you to move to a new shopping cart system.
Finally, be sure that whichever shopping cart you choose that new features are continually added to keep abreast of the latest security features and online marketing trends.  This is an evolving industry and you want to stay on the cutting edge.

Contact eStoreAdvanced to get these implemented on your online store and see your sales increase by the day.

Factors that influence open-rate of a newsletter

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Email Marketers try to achieve these three goals with their marketing campaigns

1. Get the recipient to open the email
2. Get the call-to-action button in the email clicked
3. Click through to the final destination ( often a specific landing page) on the website where some action is to be taken.

Certainly, there can be no click-through and final action if there is no good open-rate. Here are some factors which can ensure good open-rate.

Recency of the subject matter – Anything on a recent change, any news article, upcoming event is more catchy
Catchy Subject line
Recognition of the sender – The email should be useful to the user.
The “look” of the email – Ensure that the call to action button and the form is clearly visible.
Word count of the matter – Don’t make it too lengthy and boring
Forwards – Emails that are passed as forwards (FW:) open at higher rates
Subject/Body agreement – The subject should support the body
Off-times – Email works surprisingly well for opens during downtime, such as evenings and weekends
Mornings – The 8 a.m. email rush no longer works
Afternoons – Sending in early afternoon works pretty well – especially on the West Coast as that’s when people begin their day

Contact eStoreAdvanced to get these implemented on your online store and see your sales increase by the day.

7 secrets to maximize conversions on your Online eCommerce Store

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When you start any business the focus is more on increasing the business. The same is applicable for online business as well. However there are few things that one needs to keep in mind when you want to increase your sales to maximize conversions on your online e-commerce store. You can have the following factors as your e-commerce strategies to maximize your online sales:

1. Target your ultimate audience

You need to find your ultimate customers who might be fit for what you are selling. Find the right phrases, keywords and matters that attract most of your target customers. In this manner you would have taken the most important measure towards maximizing your conversions.

2. Upgrade the search features of your online store

Online shopping is all about convenience and speed. The easier you make it for your customers to find just the right things what they are looking for, in return you will have more conversions and less missed orders resulting in more business.

3. Display your products

Display your products in the best possible manner including the product photos with related text description of each item. Include reviews, product demo videos and interactive galleries which they cannot find anywhere else. Internet provides the means for multiple methods for customer engagement so use them to your advantage.

4. Make it simple to buy

Most of the online retailers make it very complicated for the customers to go through a very lengthy registration and checkout procedure for placing an order. By reducing the number of steps to actually purchase a product will help you increase your sales.

5. Offer security

Let your customers know that you take special care to avoid threat of fraud seriously. Assure them that they don’t have to worry about their credit card number to be stolen and fraudulent transactions on their cards when they are shopping at your online store.

6. Compare your pricing with your competitors

Everyone likes to have a fair deal. Make it clear on your product page by having the price comparison which will make your customers feel to have got more for their money. This will make the buyers confident about their decision that by shopping at your online store was indeed a fair deal for them.

7. Make shipping and availability details easy to locate

The last thing you would want is to lose out on a sale just because the customer isn’t sure when they will get the product or how much the shipping would cost them. Put these basic details with simple terms and conditions on a easily viewable page and you will see your sales shooting up.

Contact eStoreAdvanced to get these implemented on your online store and see your sales increase by the day.

10 must know strategies to promote your website

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It may sound bit unbelievable but one of the most critical steps in the internet marketing business is on promoting your website. You may have put lots of efforts to make a highly customized, animated and descriptive web portal that looks very impressive. However if your target customers are unaware then all your efforts go in-vain. To help you overcome this matter the following article takes into account variety of things which definitely will promote your website.

1) Use proper Keywords where needed
Give an expressive and attractive title to your web page with intense keywords. Whenever your web page is found on the website, the title appears hyperlinked on the search engine page. In this way you have the organic traffic generated by appropriate keywords.
Use of keywords in the first paragraph – Mostly people tend to write ample things in introduction as a good start but to attract more traffic to your web portal make sure to use keywords in the initial paragraph. The keywords must appear as a part of the intended content rather than making it obvious to over stuff it.

Use key words in hyperlink – To attract search engines you have to include the keywords and key phrases in the Hyperlink.

Image description – Neatly describe each image and include the keywords in the ALT attribute of the image tags.
Include the Keywords in Headers (H1, H2, H3 etc) – Using a Header tag is a must. Search engines certainly consider it so make sure that your web designer uses header tags, key phrases and preferred key words.

2) Use of suitable Meta tags
Use of proper Meta description filled with key words and key phrases is a must as the description mentioned below your hyperlinked title is observed by certain search engines. Be aware of that you can use maximum of 255 characters for Meta tag as only the first 60 of it will be visible in Google. Thus try to make most of it.

3) Describe a Site Map
For large websites you should have a site map. A well defined site map with links to your pages helps the users and search engines to find all your pages easily. There are lots of free tool like XML-sitemaps.com to create XML sitemaps which are referred by search engines. Submit your site map to Google, yahoo and Bing to make sure you that you get more traffic.

4) Submit your website to Key Directories
Never mistake a directory to be a search engine. Directories are list of sites in various categories. Make sure to list your site in free Open Directory Project. A link from a directory will help you get more traffic and will also raise your ranking.

Submit your site to specialized directories and Trade Organization Sites. These are common directories. There are industry specific directories which focus on a particular industry like finance, education etc. Make sure to submit your links to these even if you have to pay a little for it.

5) Use a search engine friendly navigation system
Even though navigation systems like JavaScript and Flash are user friendly still search engines do not read them. Enhance the same with HTML links at the bottom of the page. Indexing problems may be caused if you use HTML frames navigation system.

6) Promote Local Business on Internet
Include contact details of your local business on your web page. In addition create a free listing for your local business on different search engines like Google Places for Business (places.google.com/business), Yahoo! Local (local.yahoo.com) and Bing Local Listing Center (https://ssl.bing.com/listings/). Promote as much Videos, Images, and Audio Content on your web page. Google’s worldwide search displays the webpage contents including the list of videos, images etc if it is near the top of the page. Hence if you upload relevant videos, images etc that attracts the user and your website is mentioned in the video page, then it will bring in more users to your website.

7) Request your Reciprocal Links
Find websites of your general interest and seek a reciprocal link to your site. If it is convenient for you then develop an out of the way page where you put links to other sites so that you manage to hold the attention of the users who visit your web page.

8) Write Articles for Others Websites and Newsletters
Write articles in area of your expertise and distribute them for free to various editors who would include it in their newsletters. Just request them to include a link to your website and one line description of the same in the newsletter and you will see a drastic increase in traffic to your site. Issue News Releases, offer news letter and web periodicals. Promote your website by mentioning it in the same newsletters

Start a business blog on your own domain. If you are able to provide correct content and witty comments then your page would get a higher rank on the search engines and you would get more visitors on your profile.

Eagerly promote your website on social networking platform. Join Facebook, Twitter, linkedIn etc. and share the information about your website using various posts to get more attention from the users. There are many online forums and social groups available over the internet. Become an active member of those groups and simultaneously promote your web page.

Use traditional media to promote your website like print media and include your URL in all possible classified, newspaper, business cards etc. in simple www.domain.com link. Offer some free services with reference to your business and tempt your buyers to purchase the entire product.

9) Promoting through an E-Mail or Newsletters etc
Although it requires complete attention to create newsletters but publishing it on monthly basis would help you stay in touch with your customers. Collect e-mail ids of people who are not yet ready to make sales. Incorporate subscription forms on each page of your website. Promote them by offering certain free services like “special internet only offer” etc.

Carry out the task to initiate, remind, confirm or thank your customers. Wish them on their birthdays, anniversaries etc and develop a loyal clientele. Promote business relations by offering special offers to your visitors and customers.

Put the signature in your e-mail and add it with all the information for the people to be aware about your portfolio. Exchange E-Mail lists professionally through your associate web owners or bloggers to reach out to maximum users. Announce a Contest for your users on your website or blog and your will definitely increase the visitors list.

10) Paid Advertising Strategies
Although there is lot of investment of time and energy in all the approaches mentioned above but it is worth it. If you need to instantly promote your business opt for different ways to paid advertising like pay per click, pay per action or cost per thousand views etc.

Contact eStoreAdvanced to get these implemented for your online store and see your sales increase by the day.