A Guide to E-Commerce

What is it?

E-Commerce, or electric commerce involves the buying and selling of products or services over electronic systems. These include the Internet and other computer networks. The amount of trade conducted electronically has grown massively since the dawn of the Internet, and the rise is set to continue. In order to be competitive, it is an absolute must for most businesses to be involved with some type of E-commerce.

A large percentage of e-commerce is conducted entirely electronically for virtual items such as music downloads and E Books. However most e-commerce involves the transportation of physical items in some way. Online retailers are sometimes known as e-tailers and online retail is sometimes known as e-tail.

The meaning of electronic commerce has changed over the last 30 years. Originally, electronic commerce meant the facilitation of commercial transactions electronically. These included sending commercial documents such as purchase orders or invoices electronically. The growth and acceptance of credit cards, automated teller machines (ATM) and telephone banking in the 1980s were also forms of electronic commerce.

Common applications

Some common applications related to e-commerce are the following:

Accounting and finance systems
Conferencing Content
Management Systems Documents, spreadsheets, database Domestic and international payment systems
E-mail and messaging Enterprise and client information reporting Messaging
Newsgroup
On-line Shopping Orders and shipment information

Advantages Of E-Commerce

Here are some of the many advantages of E-Commerce

Lower transaction costs – if an e-commerce site is implemented well, the web can significantly lower both order-taking costs and customer service costs by automating processes.

More purchases per transaction – Amazon for example offers a feature that no normal store offers. When you read the description of a book, you also can see what other people who ordered this book also purchased. Features like these mean that it is common for people to buy more books than they might buy at a normal bookstore.

More customer information – A Web site that is well-integrated into the business cycle can offer customers more information than previously available. For example many companies allow customers to track their orders so that they can see exactly where their order is at any one time.
People can shop in different ways. Traditional mail order companies introduced the concept of shopping from the comfort of your home. e-commerce offers this same luxury, but with some new features. These include –

The ability to build an order over several days
The ability to configure products and see actual prices
The ability to easily build complicated custom orders
The ability to compare prices between multiple vendors easily
The ability to search large catalogs easily

Larger catalogs – A company can build a catalog on the web that would never fit in an ordinary postbox. For example the millions of books Amazon sells could not be realistically added to any physical catalog.

Improved customer interactions – With automated tools it is possible to interact with a customer in richer ways at virtually no cost. Many companies send the customer an email when the order is confirmed, when the order is shipped, and after the order arrives. This information is likely to reassure a customer, giving them increased faith in the process. A happy and reassured customer is more likely to purchase something else from the company in the future.

Quick Tips

Here are some quick tips to bear in mind when thinking of engaging in e-commerce

Your prices – a big part of e-commerce is the fact that price comparisons are extremely easy for the consumer. Your price is very important in such a transparent market.

Customer relations – E-commerce offers a variety of different ways to relate to your customer. E-mails, FAQs, knowledge bases, forums, chat rooms etc. Integrating these features into your e-commerce offering helps you differentiate yourself from the competition.

Customer satisfaction – This can make or break any retail establishment. You must always be prepared to help your customers manually if there is no automated option. You may need to periodically refine your automated processes in order to remain time efficient.

In order to stimulate long term sales, you may also wish to consider these other capabilities of e-commerce.

Affiliate programs – you pay other companies to sell your products. This creates a win-win situation as you only pay when a sale is made. This can both raise your company’s sales, and its profile.

Free gifts – they don’t necessarily need to cost your company anything. You could for example give away an E-book that has cost you nothing but the time it takes to write it.

Enticing prospective customers (perhaps with free gifts) to join a mailing list where you tell them about your latest offerings.

Discounts if people spend over a certain amount.
Seasonal or periodic sales.

Common mistakes in e-commerce

Although there is rapid growth in the use of e-commerce, not all e-commerce businesses are successful. Here are some common pitfalls.

Some businesses just add up the costs of hardware, software, and hosting services. They forget to consider the total cost of ownership, including training, maintenance and support, upgrades, marketing and communications, and administration.

Your business may start to grow quite quickly. In order to fully take advantage of this, you must understand the effect of increased sales. It is no good having an increase in sales if you are unable to deal with it. Do you know how you are you going to process and dispatch orders? Will you have the capacity to deal with these increased sales?

Also you must understand the issues around postage and shipping costs and identify the geographical locations that you will ship to and where you will not. You must have a clear pricing policy for shipping, or you will simply confuse your customers, who might then go elsewhere.

It’s surprising how many sites make the mistake of using too many complicated graphic or animation, which slow down the speed of the site. People on the web generally have short attention spans, and you could lose sales if people are waiting for pages to load.

A website should be easy to use, and easy to find the information people require. Bare in mind the ‘three click rule’ where a person should generally be able to natigate themselves to where they need to be in three clicks.

Web pages must also be designed to work with all the common internet browsers, such as firefox, internet explorer, netscape etc. If you do not, then you run the risk of isolating yourself from potential customers.

Many businesses do not provide a good reason for visitors to return to their site. Keep your site fresh and regularly update it with news of your latest offers. Perhaps provide some free online tools or information.

Make sure your marketing strategy is not overly aggressive and annoys customers who perceive it as ‘spam’.

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Looking For E-Commerce B2B Solutions in the Market

The Internet has evolved to become an effective and convenient venue where trading and marketing are now facilitated and held. It is not surprising that nowadays, you can bank, shop and make marketing activities in the online media. Thus, businesses practically and logically swoon and flock to the Internet. There is no wonder, there are numerous e-commerce B2B solutions operating actively in the market these days.

Because businesses are proliferating, there is a need for suppliers to directly contact and transact with distributors and vice versa. In general, businesses are mainly comprised of suppliers, who make and manufacture goods and services, and distributors, who market the goods with added costs as commissions, in return. E-commerce B2B solutions are computer programs that are developed and circulated to help businesses facilitate electronic commerce transactions on the business to business levels. Thus, e-commerce B2B solutions stand for electronic commerce business to business solutions.

Main features of e-commerce B2B solutions

The main and general features of e-commerce B2B solutions are usually apparent. Such features include reliability, credibility, usability, functionality and affordability. E-commerce B2B solutions should be reliable enough so that you can be sure they would be used and would be functional in times when you need them most.

Providers of e-commerce B2B solutions should be credible enough so that users and consumers could make sure they are buying the best and useful e-commerce B2B solutions out in the market. As for usability and functionality, e-commerce B2B solutions should be user friendly and should be easy to navigate and operate so that users could maximize such tools’ usefulness. Most of all, it would be ideal and appealing if e-commerce B2B solutions would be made affordable and less costly than ever so that users and buyers could conveniently afford such materials.

How to find e-commerce B2B solutions

The Internet is a marketplace. As much as it is a place for buying, it is also a place for selling. Thus, there are e-commerce B2B solutions available across the Internet. If your online business is proliferating and is actively operating in the market, you can always make proper and appropriate use of e-commerce B2B solutions.

It would be easy to find e-commerce B2B solutions that you could buy across the Internet. First, you could check out such products and services using your favorite and most relied on search engine. Type the phrase ‘ e-commerce B2B solutions’ and in nick of time, you would find numerous lists of such products available in market. Do not be surprised that there are too many of them. This could at times cause confusion but as an intelligent buyer, you should take note that numerous e-commerce B2B solutions in the market can give you a wider array of choices and options.

You could also find and buy the best e-commerce B2B solutions if you would take the heed of experts as well as of friends and colleagues. Learning from the experiences of others would be great especially when it comes to online operations. Your friends and colleagues and even experts are of course expected to be able to recommend or suggest a couple of names and brands for e-commerce B2B solutions. It would be wise for you if you would take note and take heed of such recommendations.

Also, reading online reviews of e-commerce B2B solutions could be a great way of finding and jotting down such products and services in the market. Such reviews are written in a way that readers and online businesses could very much take advantage of and benefit from. Thus, it would be wise of you if you would regularly check out such reviews.

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E-Commerce Solutions That Let You Earn Profits With Secure Transactions

Finding the right e-commerce solution for your business is utterly essential, and it must be both easy to use and secure for customers to feel safe handing over their details. With increase of credit card theft and website hacking, e-commerce solutions provided should be trustworthy and secure, making it difficult to find the right one. The golden rule is to give emphasis on quality, usability and extent of features offered by any given e-commerce solution package, and your decision should be based on finding the right application and e-commerce solution for precise e-commerce needs.

E-businesses can move into Inbuilt advanced e-commerce solution with SEO marketing and promotion, SEO service plans, customized web site templates, e-marketing, automated inventory management, 50 major payment gateways, online store creation, shopping cart integration, cost effective merchant account, free domain names for paid account visitors, bulk Import, ERP solutions and in addition to it advanced helpdesk, BPO services and plans along and live chat facilities along with more e-commerce solutions benefitting e-businesses with greater reliability.

Online payment processor PayPal is the most diversified payment gateway e-commerce solution letting many businesses to take orders through, credit left in your PayPal account, credit cards, and via debit card or bank account through the PayPal website. PayPal payment system has an easy to use secure interface for the online shopping cart software and for smooth and safe e-commerce solutions. If you have your own URL you can implement code into your website along with integrated payment gateway e-commerce solutions from Link Points and other service providers and use free checkout services that could provide exactly what you’re looking for in more secure and just manner.

Graphic services offering Logo Design for building up a company’s image, Template Design Service, Home Page Design, Unique Button Creation and Designing, Uniform Customized Page Headings, Category Graphics Design and Flash Animation for your website are all effective e-commerce solutions for more visitor flow to increase profits to the maximum.

The websites once created can get search engine optimized so as to get top rankings. The professional SEO subscription plans of e-commerce websites may differ according to the hand coded page requirement, link creation and link building. On-line businesses are bound to get successful with advanced e-commerce solutions with SEO facilities.

Moving one step ahead, Outsourcing in e-commerce websites facilitating e-commerce solutions, is undertaken through high capacity and scalable helpdesk services. The BPO operations or Call Center Services handle domestic and international customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year with a process that involves skill based routing, efficient, high quality service handling phone orders online, Online chat / live Chat and pre-sales questions, general customer support, technical support, sales and billing support and credit card information. These profitable e-commerce solutions can also be subscribed for and the fee depends upon the type of subscription. Therefore, it’s time to attain the most reliable and profit generating e-commerce solution fulfilling e-business needs thereby creating satisfied customers to avail e-commerce solutions incorporated into website for greater online success.

Brahm swaroop srivastava, the content writer of Techwave.com, a California based company dealing in the development of websites for profitable E commerce solutions and online shopping cart software at http://www.Techwave.com

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Putting the Commerce Into E-commerce Websites

So what is E-commerce? E-commerce simply refers to financial transactions occurring on the Internet.

Selling online has proven to be a big success, and selling online is a natural progression for many companies once they have established their web presence. Although selling online is a great way to make market your products, it has been getting tougher! Over the past year, sellers have experienced higher costs of doing business online, lower sell-through rates and lower selling prices. Selling online can also be time-consuming and requires consistent monitoring. Someone needs to be checking the email daily and packing and mailing orders promptly.

Also, online customers are often more impatient and intolerant than their offline equivalents. One glitch and they go elsewhere, however, if a customer finds an excellent online shopping experience they will keep coming back.

E-commerce websites are a must for the entrepreneurs or companies that wish to have an internet presence and do business activity online, but surprisingly, only a number of successful e-commerce websites survives and gets business done. This fact shows us that having a shop on the net does not guarantee success. Unfortunately, many online retailers do not put much emphasis on the design part of their website, and lose customers. Designs should hold enough interest to be visually appealing but refrain from being too cluttered and busy.

E-commerce is an area that can be intimidating, and e-commerce website design is not simple, but providing you select a good designer, with experience in working with databases and with excellent design skills, you will be well on your way over the first hurdle.

Professional, attractive and stylish e-commerce website design is what a professional e-commerce website must contain. It is important to realise that you cannot afford to a friend who “does website design as a hobby” to create your website. It is essential to use a professional, and give your business the best chance of success. Professionally designed e-commerce websites are the solution to making quick sales, and your products or services can be sold online even if you are sleeping. The finished result has to look extremely professional, be easy to update and most importantly actually sell your products for you.

Web designers often use some unconventional techniques to promote e-commerce web designs. Sometimes a web designer may utilize the potential of a single paged website by integrating the order form at the end. Websites are not a “one size fits all” type of solution. There are many different types of websites with unlimited variations, which makes choosing the right one a very important decision.

It is important that your e-commerce has a comprehensive shopping cart, sophisticated pricing and offers engine, multi-faceted navigation, card payment gateway integration a full search engine optimisation suite; and also integrates critical back office processes such as supply chain, sales order processing and stock control.

E-commerce websites are updateable websites, which means you are able to add new products and amend product/price details. You can even create discount and special offers which can be integrated in to the website. E-commerce websites can also be used to offer customer specific pricing, where a customer can login and view products at their own pricing. E-commerce websites are meant to be a link between your company and your clients. That is why, maintaining them is very important.

E-commerce websites are especially vulnerable to attacks by hackers, as they usually deal with credit card and other personal information. Security is one of the major issues highlighted in various surveys, and consumers are more careful on where they place their orders in light of the emerging identity theft and data loss situations. This means that it is essential that you do everything you can to make customers feel completely safe when placing their orders, and a badly designed website will deter customers from submitting their credit card details.

Customers always prefer websites that offer them secure transactions at the time of payment. As the instances of online credit card theft and hacking has increased so is the need for installing secure and reliable mode of online payment. In creating a full-fledged and well-equipped e-commerce website, a number of web services are to be incorporated to get the desired results. Customers notice little details and, although email addresses such as hotmail, gmail, and yahoo, work well enough for personal email accounts, they do not portray an impression of professionalism. It is better to use an email address on your own domain if you wish to gain the confidence of your customers.

Also, offering free shipping is one way that will boost your sales. Online shoppers are on the hunt for deals. One of the main ways consumers like to save on their online purchases is by searching for free shipping offers.

Choose your hosting provider carefully – a good host will have excellent support. A bad host can have almost no support at all! Choosing the right web server system is actually a balancing act between your needs, administrative capabilities as well as one’s organization’s skills. Your website designer will be able to give you advice on this matter, and may even offer an economical hosting service for web design clients.

You will also need to optimise your website for the search engines. Your website designer should be able to give you advice on this, or do it for you. Search engine optimisation practitioners will usually advocate choosing the simplest form of website which suits the company’s needs, as less complex sites are easier to optimise and generally perform better. Search engines love these pages if you regularly put some content on them. Initially, all you need are two or three sentences introducing the products. Search engine visibility takes time to develop, so you want to get your site live as soon as possible to start laying claim to your important keyword phrases. You are better off having your website go live with 20 products rather than waiting months to develop the content for 200 products.

Contact, privacy and FAQ pages should be included on your e-commerce website. Most e-commerce website owners find it useful to add a squeeze page to their website, to capture the contact details of their website visitors. Squeeze pages can be easily created with squeeze page software, or your website designer can build your squeeze pages.

Also, a feedback form of some description is essential, as user feedback is one of the most valuable tools for ensuring the continued success of your website, but it is often ignored by website owners. Website users should be considered throughout the website design process. Professional e-commerce website design is not something that just happens, it takes a considered approach to each aspect of the project to ensure that your e-commerce website is successful.

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Finer Aspects of E-Commerce Software

The dexterity of an e-commerce software can make or break your e-commerce business. E-commerce is hot and happening these days. So, what exactly happens to be e-commerce? In order to illustrate the true definition of e-commerce, allow me to state something else – the full form of e-commerce. It is electronic commerce. We are again backing to square one – what is an electronic commerce? Here is a straightforward explanation – commercial activities that are conducted electronically (i.e. with the aid of the internet). In the following passages, I will try to illustrate certain finer aspects about e-commerce software.

In order to understand the functions of e-commerce software programs, we need to understand the importance of such software suites. The notion is simple – the software is programmed to conduct commercial activities (custom tailored to your needs). You will need to deploy the software on your e-commerce website. If you find the concept to be a bit hard, I will illustrate another subtle example. Consider a shop and a shopkeeper. The shopkeeper will look after the daily activities of the shop. In the same manner, an e-commerce software will be taking care of the e-commerce website.

Looking at the existing niche of e-commerce software, any novice player is going to be confused. There are plenty of software suites, which claim to exercise the same function. If you are looking for a suitable software suite, you are free to choose from free e-commerce software and paid proprietary e-commerce software. Personally, I am not recommending which niche to stick to – both free and paid software programs have their share of advantages and disadvantages. If you can invest on some programming skill, then it is better to outsource the software development project – this will aid in deploying custom software on your website!

A good e-commerce software will be having certain inherent features. They will be easier and faster to be deployed on an existing website. There is no room for errors in this niche – faulty software will result in considerable losses. The software suite must be robust enough to ward off hacking attempts. Hackers always attack such websites – plenty of people are purchasing products and much cash is rolling in the background. The adept in them are known to “channel the funds” to their own private bank accounts. If you are planning to host an e-commerce website, then ensure that the latest stable version of the software is deployed in the website.

These days, webmasters who are hosting e-commerce websites are trying their level best to maximize the profits. Maximum profit can be realized by channeling more traffic (more people) into their websites. Out of 1000 people visiting the website, 100 might like the products/services rendered to them – they might choose to invest on them. In other words, the e-commerce software suite must be programmed so that the “search engine friendly nature” of the website is augmented manifold. When the website is listed among the top search results, more traffic will flow into the website!

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