Understanding e-commerce

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Electronic commerce or e-commerce as it is commonly known is the industry of buying and selling of products and services online. As consumer-buying behavior changes with communities moving online, the question on the minds of many traditional retailers, entrepreneurs, and business owners, is whether their businesses and products and service offerings are suited for online sales. For small businesses, growth is often achieved through the identification of new markets and the acquisition of new customers. E-commerce is an excellent opportunity for companies to extend their sales reach to a world of new customers in a way that was once unimaginable. Selling your goods online can also be considered a great equalizer, because of its ability to level the playing field against larger competitors.

Although the benefits of e-commerce include a large number of potentials customers and lower company infrastructure costs, many small business owners are hesitant to start selling on the Internet due to a lack of understanding of the landscape and resulting concerns about cost, security, and technology. Here are a few questions to serve as guidelines for success:Is your product easy to understand for your online customers? Remember, shoppers will not be able to touch or try your product. Provide detailed product descriptions and images to increase your sales

Can you sell the product at an acceptable profit margin once you factor in the time and expense of packaging and delivery? If you sell low-ticket items, you may need to sell in bulk to increase profits. If you sell perishable items, you will need fast delivery and adequate packaging. Do you sell a service that can be delivered effectively via email? Many information or service suppliers have made seamless transitions to the Internet, for example, converting magazines to digital editions. Does your product appeal to customers outside of your geographic area, or will selling online enhance your service to your existing customers? For example, if you’re selling tickets to a local sporting event, someone who’s several thousand miles away probably isn’t going to be interested. However, that doesn’t mean your neighbors won’t appreciate the added convenience.

Has your business switched to e-commerce?

 

Post By: SimplyBiz

 

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44 comments
    ShaunAnderson we use a very basic & slighly passive chat that is message based. (Cost & personnel decision) It pops up when the customer is on a page for a few seconds. It's there but not obtrusive. Given that we are a very small company we cnnot be available 24/7 but it tells the customer when we are live & ensures them of our assistance.
    @andewctn thanks - I will definitely have a look at that!
    We made many mistakes - some of them quite expensive when we started up our online shop. I think one of the things I learned was that we spent too much time & money on the design of the shop as opposed to the actual functionality. We should have approached it from what does our customer expect & want & then tried to provide that experience.
    This is an excellent video about focusing on customer experience:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xe3lFuk5nxo
    It’s not easy to launch an e-commerce business. Because of this competition within the market comes mainly from existing businesses launching online components and not from new “pure-play” e-commerce businesses. This is largely due to a lack of venture capital in the space – a significant amount of capital is required to launch an e-commerce business and investors remain wary. @trainers@netactive.co.za
    Focus 80% of effort on your best products According toPareto’s Law it’s likely that80% of your profits are derived from 20% of products. By focusing on the small number of products that disproportionately contribute towards your website’s success you can achieve exponential growth.
    I like this a lot from VentureBurn: Billions of people use search engines every day to find products that they want to buy. With a physical store it is very difficult to reach such a large market. However an online store can easily accomplish this. By having an online store a business can reach many more customers than it would with physical stores. According to studies most people click only on the links that appear on the first page of search engine results. They never go to the second or third page. As such it is very important to ensure that your ecommerce site shows up on the first page of results. This can be accomplished by performing an activity known as Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) on the ecommerce site. This activity helps your online store to be more visible to the programs that find results for those who search for things in the search engines.
    @TyMayer I agree and like this basic overview. It comes done to EFFECTIVE marketing and targeting the right audience in an authentic manner.
    Other important element is the email marketing.When you start creating awesome content traffic will start to boom… That’s when you want to start growing your email list. Social media marketing and paid ads platforms are always changing and can disappear without notice. But your email list is something that once you build it you own it. One of the best ways you can draw people into your email list is by running contests. You can use all your promotional avenues to point people in the direction of your email list by enticing them with winning something from your store. 1) Start With a Profitable Product.If you already have your store live then you may have a product or two that tends to sell the best. Even if you don’t you can still pick a product that you feel best fits your ideal consumer. This product is what you’ll be giving away for your contest. 2) Have The Contest Running On Your Platform (Blog/Site).The best ways to build an email list with contests is when they’re hosted on something you own and manage. Whether your store is one WordPress or Shopify you’ll have quite a few choices for tools that make running contents rather easy.
    @SayoF your are right. Authenticity is key and ensuring that the connection made with the consumer is genuine.
    It is important how you analyse your consumer data.Your web hosting account and your analytics service produce between them a vast amount of data about your website visitors. Looking at it to see how many people visited your site is worthless and meaningless. Inside the vast amount of data is detailed information about how your website visitors used your site. Mining that data gives you a clue as to what they are looking for and how they go about finding it. Analytics and data alone are not the solution that “big data” experts might make you think. Such information is only historical and doesn’t tell you what people actually want rather it tells you what they did.
    @BrettK I like your points here a lot.
    It'san informative article. Questions...what are the process and procedure that the business must implement to provide an efficient e-commerceserve?
    @MACHCapital some ideas may include: Start by analysing the data. Review of your current brand strength web traffic conversion rates online pricing issues competitor success search engine opportunities and technology implications. Only after you create a realistic vision for the scope and scale of the opportunity can you start to develop the right strategic approach. Replace distracting headers and footers with a progress indicator to reassure consumers that the order process is moving forward successfully. Integrate your data. You can use label and form combinations to your advantage. With data integration information from invoices packing lists and shipping labels can be shared speeding all these processes eliminating data-entry errors and streamlining record keeping.