E-commerce is generally recognised as the fastest growing method of shopping at the present time. What defines this term and what is essential knowledge if you are considering selling in this way?
E-commerce is the widely used abbreviation for ‘electronic commerce’ which is quickly being forgotten though ultimately describes this transaction method whilst other new terms such as e-business continue to spring up. The high street retailers are massively increasing their online presence at the same time new ‘pure’ e-commerce businesses are emerging and securing market share in their given niche.
The boom in internet retailing shows no sign of slowing; the recent iPhone launch demonstrated the massive potential and opportunity for well placed online stores to capitalise on successful internet retailing and marketing.
So you have done your market research and you know that there are potential customers; you have access to the products you wish to sell, what next?
It essential that the businesses infrastructure as with all business is sound; with E-commerce it is more important that IT systems are reliable and efficient than with other traditional trading methods. Before you will be able to trade online it is essential that you have the following in place:
· Computer system
· Internet connection
· Web site
· Good knowledge of IT or back up support
With E-Commerce your website is your shop and as such there are many factors that must be considered when your shop is being constructed and designed to make it attractive to your customers to achieve a good level of sales and success. Your website must have:
· An easily navigated online catalogue of your products and/or services
· Good user friendly shopping cart system
· Secure payment and collection system
You may have the best and largest range of products, the cheapest prices though without your customers being able to easily find them within your website your benefits will not be gained. A well structured website with good search facilities and an ordered menu system will pay dividends in the long term future expansion of your online venture.
Shopping cart system
A shopping cart system allows your customer to continually update their potential purchases prior to making payment. There are many solutions on the market, from individually designed systems to third party software which can be integrated into your website. If third party solutions are used it is likely that your customer will briefly leave your website to ‘checkout’ and make payment on a secure payment page.
Secure payment and collection system
This allows payment from your customer and for your business to receive the funds. These systems are commonly integrated; payments being directly processed and paid into your chosen bank account.
Both the shopping cart and secure payment/collection systems will incur costs to the business. If tailored individual software is purchased, one can expect large set up costs with minimal ongoing monthly costs thereafter. Third party software, some of which has become household names is more commonly found within the E-commerce market place. This option offers substantially reduced set up fees and monthly payments often based upon a percentage of sales and a standard fixed rate fee.
Once you have the above mentioned points in place you are ready to trade and turn some of your attention to the promotion of your new E-commerce business.
This article was written by Paul of Home Information Packs