osCommerce Webmaster's Guide to Selling Online

osCommerce Webmaster's Guide to Selling Online
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Table of Contents
Sample Chapters
  • Turn your e-commerce site into a money-making enterprise
  • Full of practical tips and tricks to improve profit with osCommerce
  • Professional advice on choosing the best contributions

Book Details

Language : English
Paperback : 428 pages [ 235mm x 191mm ]
Release Date : December 2007
ISBN : 1847192025
ISBN 13 : 9781847192028
Author(s) : Vadym Gurevych
Topics and Technologies : All Books, CMS and eCommerce, Content Management (CMS), e-Commerce, Open Source


Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Increasing Profits and Sales with osCommerce
Chapter 2: Advertising an Online Store
Chapter 3: Search Engine Optimization
Chapter 4: Dynamic Content to Improve Sales
Chapter 5: Building Customer Confidence
Chapter 6: Design to Sell
Chapter 7: Improving Product Catalog
Chapter 8: Increasing Order Value
Chapter 9: Increasing the Turnover via Promotions and Special Offers
Chapter 10: Improving Conversion Rates and Customer Experience
Chapter 11: Understanding and Using Reports
Chapter 12: Repeat Customers
  • Chapter 2: Advertising an Online Store
    • What can be Advertised?
    • How to Advertise
      • Tracking Efficiency of the Advertising Efforts
      • Advertising in Search Engines
        • Paid Advertisements
        • Useful Tips and Best Practices
      • Banners
        • Banner Exchange
        • Positioning in the Page
        • osCommerce Banner Managements Facilities
      • Pop Ups and Pop Unders
      • Link Exchange
        • Value the Links
        • osCommerce Link Exchange Facilities
        • Getting Backward Links
        • Tracking Link Efficiency
      • Affiliate Programs
        • How it Works
        • Getting Affiliates On Board
        • osCommerce Affiliate Program Solutions
        • Popular Third-Party Affiliate Program Solutions
      • Newsletters
        • Tips and Best Practices
        • Designing and Sending a Newsletter
      • Forums and Blogs
      • Price Comparison Directories
        • Export Data from osCommerce to Froogle
    • Summary
  • Chapter 3: Search Engine Optimization
    • Why SEO?
      • Balance between SEO and Usability
      • Ethical SEO
      • New Site SEO
      • Expected Time Frame
        • Page Rank
        • Ageing Delay
        • Plan Ahead for a New Online Store
      • Google "Sandbox"
        • What is a "Sandbox"?
        • What is the "Sandbox" For?
        • How the "Sandbox" can be Useful for Your Online Store
        • What can be a Reason for My Store to be "Sandboxed"?
        • Is My Online Store in the "Sandbox"?
      • Google Supplemental Index
        • What gets an Online Store into the Supplemental Index?
        • How to Get Out of the Supplemental Index
    • SEO When Switching to osCommerce from an Existing Website
      • Preserving Good Page Rank
    • Understanding External and Internal SEO
      • External SEO
        • Popularity—What it is and How to Measure It
        • Listing in Online Directories
        • Backward Links
      • Internal SEO
        • Content and Keywords
        • How to Define Keywords?
        • Avoiding Duplicate Product Page URLs
        • HTML Validation and Page Structure Optimization
        • Optimized URLs in osCommerce
        • Page Title and META Tags in osCommerce
        • Main Page URL and Redirects
        • Internal Linking between the Pages
        • Site Maps
        • The robots.txt and .htaccess Files
        • Navigation gets Optimized
        • Contexts
    • Hiring an SEO Specialist
    • Tracking SEO Campaign Results
      • Web Traffic Analysis
    • Summary
  • Chapter 4: Dynamic Content to Improve Sales
    • Dynamic Content: What and Why?
      • How Can We Make Users Participate?
    • Different Types of Dynamic Content in osCommerce
      • Reviews
        • Third-Party Reviews Solutions
      • Testimonials
        • Attracting Customers to Read and Write Reviews and Testimonials
      • Polls and Lotteries (Surveys)
        • Attracting Customers to Vote in Polls and Participate in the Surveys
      • News and Newsletter Archives
        • Newsletters
        • Text versus HTML
        • Attracting Customers to Subscribe and Read Newsletters
      • CMS, Blogs, and Online Magazines
        • Existing Content Management Solutions
        • Attracting Customers Read and Write Articles
      • Forums and Galleries
        • Integration with Third-Party Forums
        • Integration with Built-In Forums
        • Photo Galleries
    • Summary
  • Chapter 5: Building Customer Confidence
    • Ensuring Server and Database Safety
    • Information about the Business
      • Information on the Main Page and Landing Pages
      • Business Information—About Us Page
      • Contacts (Addresses and Phones)—Contact Us Page
      • Visual Image behind the Business Name
      • Memberships and Regulating Authorities
        • Seals and Awards
        • Security (SSL) and Business Identity
        • Where Should We Place the Images?
        • What Makes the Difference?
      • Multilingual Aspect
    • Customer Information
      • Terms and Conditions, and Policies
      • Policies: Privacy Policy, Billing Policy, and Shipping Policy
      • Help and Assistance
        • Buying Guides
        • FAQ
        • Live Support
    • Product Catalog
      • Category Tree
      • Page Load Speed Issues
      • Search and Search Results
      • Information in Product Listing
        • Products Per Page
        • Product Information in the Listing
        • Product Comparison
      • Individual Product Page
        • Name, Price, Descriptions, and Attributes
        • Images
        • Product Reviews
    • Placing Orders
      • Security and Confidence
      • Registration and Checkout Process
      • Simplifying osCommerce Checkout Procedure
    • Order Processing
      • Charging Practices in osCommerce
      • Notifications, Order and Dispatch Statuses
      • Printable Documents
    • Summary
  • Chapter 6: Design to Sell
    • Main Principles of E-Commerce Design
      • Main Principle: Design for Sales
      • Design Accompanies Products
      • Page Load Speed Optimized Design
      • Multiple Platforms and Browser Compatibility
    • Design that Helps Sales
      • "osCommerce" Design—Pros and Cons
      • General Recommendations for osCommerce Design
      • Product Information Presentation
      • Prices and Purchase Facilities
    • Design Matches Products
      • Choosing Style
      • Layout of Product Listing and Information Pages
    • Design Matches Target Audience
    • Design Compatibility
      • Web Browser Compatibility
        • How to Ensure Web Browser Compatibility
      • Screen Resolution Compatibility
    • Multicultural and Multilingual Designs
      • International Sales
      • Benefiting from Cultural Diversity
    • Design Recommendations
      • Main Page
      • Category and Search Results Pages
      • Product Listing
      • Product Information Pages
      • Variants of the Shopping Cart Page Design
      • Checkout Pages
      • User Account and Order History Pages
      • Important Design Elements
        • Logo
        • Font Styles and Sizes and Colors
        • Quick Search Box
        • Shopping Cart Box
        • Currency and Language Boxes
        • Breadcrumbs and Navigation Panels
        • Filter Box
        • Login and Account History Links
        • Control Button Colors and Positions
        • Standard osCommerce Images
        • Messages (Information, Warnings, and Errors)
    • Fast Design
      • Why Speed is Important
      • How to Measure Page Load Speed in osCommerce
      • How to Optimize Page Load Speed
    • Branding
      • Email Templates and Newsletters
      • Downloadable and Printable Documents
      • Downloadable Product Catalog and Brochures
        • What to Include
        • How to Generate Product Brochures
      • Banners
    • Updating osCommerce Design
      • Why Change a Design
      • Design Templates
    • Summary
  • Chapter 7: Improving Product Catalog
    • Making Navigation More Obvious
      • Category Tree
        • Tree Levels
        • Online Sales without the Category Tree
        • Products in Multiple Categories
        • Alternative Categories
      • Shop by Brand
      • Additional Filters
        • Filters by Price
        • Filter by Free Stock
        • Filters by Additional Properties
    • Product Listing
      • Top Offers
      • New Products
      • Expected Products and Pre-Order
      • Sorting Options
    • Search
      • Quick Search and Advanced Search
      • Relevancy of Search Results
      • Found Nothing—What Should We Do?
    • Product Information
      • Product Name and Description
      • Additional Images and Image Galleries
      • Associated Video Clips
      • Manufacturer Information (Brochures) and Category Information (Buying Guides)
      • Product Reviews
      • Product Price
      • Stock Levels
      • Additional Features
        • Recently Viewed Products
        • Report Better Price
        • Price Monitoring Feature
    • Going International
      • Auto-Detection
      • Descriptions
      • Currencies and Prices
      • Shipping and Payment Methods
    • Summary
  • Chapter 8: Increasing Order Value
    • Increasing Order Values for Customers
    • Increasing Order Values for Store Owners
    • Offers Being Reasonable
    • Increasing Profits and Not Necessarily Order Totals
      • Determine the most Profitable Products
      • Determine the Best-Selling Products
    • Selling Related Products Together
      • Cross-Selling Products and Categories
        • Cross-Selling Product to Product
        • Cross-Selling Categories
        • Cross-Selling Based on Customers' Choices
        • Cross-Sell by Email
    • Minimum Order Amount Strategy
      • For Payment Methods
      • For Shipping Methods
      • Giveaways
      • Freebies
    • Complex Products
      • Configurable Products
      • Product Bundles
        • Design of the Bundled Product Page
      • Stock Control
    • Design of the Shopping Cart Page
    • Summary
  • Chapter 9: Increasing the Turnover via Promotions and Special Offers
    • Which Products to Promote
      • New Products
      • Best-Selling Products
      • The Most Profitable Products
      • All Clearance Stock Must Go!
      • Special Purchase Price
      • Product Bundles
      • Products That are Too Expensive
    • Recommended Retail Price and Purchase Price
    • Special Prices
      • Sale Manager Contribution
    • Quantity Discounts
      • "Buy One Get One Free" Discounts
    • Discounts Based on Order Value
      • Special Shipping Offers
      • Giveaways
    • Discount Coupons and Gift Vouchers
      • Effective Use of Discount Coupons
      • Making Customers Aware of Discounts
    • Rebates
    • Avoiding an Addiction to Discounts
    • Winning Market Share
      • Affiliate Program
      • B2B Program for Trade Customers
        • Making a Difference for Trade Customers
      • Multiple Front Ends (Online Mall Solution)
    • Summary
  • Chapter 10: Improving Conversion Rates and Customer Experience
    • Why Improve Conversion Rates?
    • Conversion Rates in osCommerce
      • Visitors to Customers Conversion Rate
      • Customers to Repeat Customers Conversion Rate
      • Conversion of Referring Sources, Media Types, and Advertising Campaigns
      • Conversion of Certain Categories, Brands, and Individual Products
      • Conversion of Pages and Page Elements
      • Conversion of Website Navigation and Search Facility
    • Paths that Convert Visitors into Customers
      • Conversion Rate Drop during the Checkout Process
      • Conversion Based on Browsing History
    • Page Elements that Improve Conversion Rates
      • Main Page/Landing Page
      • Banners, Special Offers, and Featured Products Announcements
      • Product Listing Page
      • Product Information Page
      • Shopping Cart and Checkout Pages
      • Checkout Confirmation Page
      • Checkout without an Account
    • Wish Lists and Quotations
      • Discontinued Products and Changed Prices
    • Payment Methods
    • Error Handling and Confirmations
      • Customer Registration
      • Payment and Shipping
      • Order Confirmation
    • Customer Account
    • Back End Improvements
      • Search Features
      • Order Management
      • Live Chat Support and Answer Phone
    • Summary
  • Chapter 11: Understanding and Using Reports
    • Tracking Visitors
      • Using Day-of-Week and Time-of-Day Statistics
      • Using Statistics by Page Popularity
      • Using Third-Party Solutions to Track Visitors
      • Monitoring Day-to-Day Conversion Rates
      • Reports on Referring Sources
      • Reports on Keywords
    • Tracking Sales
      • Sales Forecast Reports
      • Bestselling Products
      • Bestselling Brands and Categories
      • Most Profitable Products
      • Report on Sales by Region
      • Report on Best-Buying Customers
      • Report by Net Profit
    • Tracking Stock
      • Report by Stock
      • Turnaround Report
    • Tracking Customers
      • Report by Customers Who ...
      • Using Reports when Sending Newsletters
    • Summary
  • Chapter 12: Repeat Customers
    • Why Repeat Customers?
    • Customers and Repeat Customers
    • How to Keep in Touch with Customers
      • Gathering and Using Personal Information
      • Using Order History Information—Cross-Selling
      • Using Order History Information—Re-Ordering and Subscriptions
      • Unfinished Orders
    • Loyal Customers
    • Summary

Vadym Gurevych

Vadym Gurevych holds a Masters of Software Development degree from Kharkov National Technical University (Ukraine) and has been creating commercial software products for businesses for 10 years. His interest in learning more about the management and business side of the process led him to join the DataLink UK Ltd. in 2001 as Project Manager. Based in the UK, Datalink (which also trades as Holbi) concentrates on providing a wide range of bespoke e-commerce solutions to its local and international customers. In those days Vadym didn’t imagine managing open-source projects, but since 2002 he has been creating osCommerce-based sites and this has become Datalink’s main source of revenue since 2004. Now Managing Director of DataLink UK Ltd., Vadym is responsible for strategy development and business decisions, and for ensuring that his team of 30 provides customers with the most efficient solutions. Since he finds it exciting and sometimes challenging, he still personally supervises major sales deals and manages major projects. He has been happily married to his wife Elena for almost eight years now, and also finds time to write/maintain a popular blog, osCommerceBlog.com, and contribute to DatalinkUK.com and Holbi.co.uk. Vadym writes: “Talking to a customer, finding out the best solution for the business, making sure that solution is properly implemented, and seeing the business improving – is what brings satisfaction and makes me happy about the way my career has developed to date.”

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What you will learn from this book


  • Calculate and monitor profits
  • Monitor and track efficiency of advertising campaigns
  • Optimize your osCommerce online store for search engines
  • Internal and External Search Engine Optimization (SEO):
  • Getting popular on search engines
  • Web page optimization
  • Structure and dynamic content
  • Keyword selection
  • Back-linking strategies
  • Make your SEO campaigns pay off
  • Superb ideas for appealing store design
  • Reach profitable new markets by fine-tuning your product catalog
  • Best practices for product listing and product information pages
  • Build and maintain customer confidence
  • Run a properly planned promotion campaign
  • Use and extend the reporting facility of osCommerce
  • Practical insights on creating custom reports
  • Improve your process and efficiency while maintaining business profitability
  • Convert customers into repeat customers

Detailed Table of Contents:

In Chapter 1 you will see a brief introduction to osCommerce, and learn how to calculate and monitor profits.
Attracting visitors to your website is an essential task to gear the business up.

In Chapter 2 we review several ways to advertise and get visitors to your site, including: organic search, banners, pop-ups, link exchange, affiliate programs, newsletters, forums and blogs, and online directories. This chapter has extensive insights on how to track the efficiency (and other variables) of an advertisement campaign.

Chapter 3 shows you how to race to the top of search engine result pages. You will learn methods, techniques, and actions to make your store easily accessible to and indexed by search engines. If you decide to keep ahead of the game and hire a professional SEO consultant, you will want to dig deeper into this chapter where we review aspects of hiring professional SEO consultants and show how to track SEO campaign results. This chapter familiarizes you with the good and bad search engines practices and helps you find which keywords work best

Chapter 4 concentrates on solutions and practices that help authoring original dynamic content, for your users and customers to post content online. We review the benefits of using dynamic content solutions like CMS, forums, blogs, and feeds, and their integration with osCommerce.

Chapter 5 gives you insight on why it is important to build customer confidence and how to do it. We review ways to improve your online store and business model to make customers more confident about placing orders online with your online store.
A good design often spells the difference between failure and success.

Chapter 6 covers effective design of an online store; here you will learn to optimize design for different types of customers and customize it to match your corporate identity. We discuss common-sense approaches to developing design templates and also tackle practical issues like caching and improving page loading speed using database and PHP script optimization to ensure a smoother customer experience.

In Chapter 7, you will learn how sales can be improved in osCommerce by improving your product catalog. It concentrates on improving navigation and making customer interaction intuitive and friendly.

In Chapter 8 we discuss how and why order values can be increased, and what effect this has on the turnover and profit figures. It shows how to increase order values by putting both the customer and the online merchant in a win-win situation. Understand the dynamics of cross-linking products, creating product bundles, configurable products, and employing the minimum order amount strategy.

Chapter 9 covers how to run a properly planned promotion campaign, while keeping an eye on operational costs. The turnover of an online store can be increased by increasing its market share—this chapter shows your how. From grabbing customers to maximizing what you get from your suppliers, running affiliate programs, and B2B programs for trade customers.

Chapter 10 shows you how important it is to monitor and constantly improve the conversion rates of online business, and analyzes how conversion rates affect profitability of the business. It shows how to improve the checkout process in osCommerce, and how to utilize individual customer accounts to increase sales.

In Chapter 11 we further explorer monitoring of the performance of the website by creating and of course understanding various reports, and using statistical information to improve the efficiency of an osCommerce-based online business. In this chapter you will get an insider’s understanding of using and extending the reporting facility of osCommerce, including: reports to plan your advertisement budget, re-arrange advertisement campaigns, track and forecast sale figures, find bestselling and most profitable products, manufacturers, and categories and highlight certain products by marking them as featured, locate best-buying customers and reward them, track stock and ease re-ordering of the most popular products from suppliers, track customers and use previous order history for marketing purposes, send targeted newsletters to customers, and even plan your online store's net profit figures and its profitability.

In Chapter 12 you will learn how the online store can benefit from having repeat customers, and how to convert customers into repeat customers. This chapter shows how to increase this conversion rate by providing loyal customers additional benefits, like a loyalty points, referral bonuses, etc.

In Detail

If you have an osCommerce-based online business, you need this book. Packed with expert guidance on all aspects of building a better online, this book will make your store stand out from the crowd.

All approaches and techniques described here are proven to have worked well for successful osCommerce-based online businesses among the, over 650, all around the globe with which the author has been actively involved as developer, project manager, or online business consultant.

osCommerce is an open-source e-commerce solution written in PHP and MySQL that can be set up on various platforms. More than 10,000 businesses and sole traders all around the world benefit from its features and flexibility. The importance of the osCommerce community consisting of over 100,000 can not be stressed enough as this is where both online merchants and web developers can communicate and find solutions. There are many "contributions" — modules for osCommerce that further extend its functionality — making it suitable for almost every business's requirements.


Practical techniques and proven strategies to increase online sales: learn from an expert! This book is for anyone administering a small/medium sized osCommerce site.


Packed with expert advice and practical examples of effective store design and report creation to help you make better decisions, formulate more effective strategies, and measure your success.

Who this book is for

This book is for anyone administering an osCommerce site, including webmasters, content managers, store owners, and marketing managers, who do not need to understand PHP or MySQL to benefit from this book. The tips and techniques described in this book can be applied to any small, medium sized e-commerce site.

This is not an implementation guide; developers implementing osCommerce-based e-commerce sites would benefit from reading Deep Inside osCommerce: The Cookbook.

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