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ANOTHER year has come and gone – so what has 2014 got in store for you?

For the first dotBiz of the year I’m going to take a look at what you could be doing to boost your online shop this year.

Selling online solely via your own web shop is becoming less of the norm. Whilst having your own online shop is still vital, multi-channel selling is becoming easier and more popular for the smaller retailer.

Amazon and eBay sell practically everything under the sun, and for many online retailers they are the main competition. They already command a hefty market share and they’re out for more of it.

However, instead of trying to beat them, why not join them?

Millions of people visit Amazon and eBay every day, and you could have your products in front of them. Some ecommerce systems have the capability of integrating directly with selling accounts on Amazon, eBay and other third-party sales channels, allowing you to:

• Upload product details directly from your own online shop’s catalogue with no need to add items manually

• Process orders made on these channels in your own shop admin

Being able to manage your own online shop and third-party sales channels via one admin area makes perfect sense. Everything is ‘under one roof’, saving you time and money by not having to maintain multiple systems.

With traffic and sales coming from various sources, you need to be able to monitor the data that is generated and use that information to tweak the content on your site. Adding Google Analytics and using Webmaster Tools is a good start, but take a look at others that can offer additional help too.

For example, Live Web Insights by Yahoo lets you:

• Monitor customer activity in real time

• Get smart, actionable marketing insights, with details on your top keywords and top referring sites, etc

• Initiate chats with ­customers

• See your traffic and revenue split out by channel, telling you where your sales are really coming from

Having the facility to share site content on social media is commonplace nowadays, but do you know how effective they are? Social commerce toolboxes, such as AddShoppers, can provide you with a wealth of useful information, including:

• Which social channels are providing you with the best return

• Suggestions on how to improve your site

• See just who is sharing your products, which products they are sharing, and how much revenue all that is generating for you

2013 was a big year for sales made via mobile phones and tablets, and this is only set to increase. If you’re looking to get online this year or you’re revamping your existing website, make sure that it has a ‘responsive’ layout which adapts to the size of device that it’s being displayed on. If you don’t, it’s simply money down the drain.

You’ll have to be selling a unique and very sought after product for today’s demanding customers to put up with pinching and zooming their way through a site on their mobile that is better suited to being viewed on a desktop machine.

High quality writing, images and video will help to bring more traffic to your site, and keep customers on it when they arrive. Take a look at what your site currently has and see what improvements you could make.

So, some food for thought on how to boost your online presence this year. I’ll be going into some of the points raised in more detail in future articles. In the meantime, here’s to a highly successful year for everyone.

Andrew McEwan of The Web Workshop in Morebattle (www.thewebworkshop.net) helps businesses in the Scottish Borders and beyond with their online presence and digital marketing.