Put simply, E-commerce means the exchange of goods and services over the World Wide Web. It can include any business transaction done between individuals and business, whether buying or selling of traditional or digital goods, or transmitting funds for services.
Is it right for me?
On the plus side, e-commerce businesses require minimal capital and effort while enabling you to reach a much wider audience. On the negative side, you need to be able to update your online business with the fast-changing demands of the e-commerce economy.
Before you consider jumping on the e-commerce bandwagon, you need to consider the following:
With millions of web pages and more being added every minute, your online business can drown away into nothingness, unless you find a niche for yourself. Whether you are a musician, caterer, writer or an artist, there is demand for your services, but to be successful you need to concentrate your energies on your chosen niche.
Once you have decided your niche product, you need to decide where to sell it. You can either choose to sell your products on an online marketplace (similar to your neighbourhood supermarket) or set up your own blog or web site to sell it (think of it as an independent store). Either way, you need to make sure that it is easy to browse and provides a smooth shopping experience.
3. Payment Process:
All of us have waited in long lines at a supermarket at some point of time. E-shoppers however lack the patience to do so, which is just one of the reasons why they shop online. If your payment process takes ages, or if it isn’t secure, you will lose customers, money and worse than that ‘trust’ and unlike the real world, you will never be able to mitigate the effects of even one negative review. If you decide to sell through an online marketplace like eBay, your worries about payment processing are taken care of by them, but if you are selling through your own blog or Web site, then you must invest in a reliable shopping cart software/vendor.
4. Customer Support and Delivery:
The cliche Customer is King applies much more to an e-commerce business model than to a traditional business model. Online shoppers are technology savvy and research thoroughly before buying products. One unsatisfied customer, one negative review is all it will take for you lose a lot of future business dollars.
Growing an E-commerce business takes an entirely different marketing approach. You will need to be savvy about Digital Marketing Techniques, Search Engine Optimization and keep up with online trends to drive traffic to your online store and convert them to customers.