Notes: Dan Bond began working in the field of eCommerce and retail sales in 2003 when he and his wife started the LadyBug Shop in Milford, Delaware. From the first this business was designed as a “brick & mortar” Main Street shop with a parallel eCommerce sales effort at www.LadyBug-Shop.com . This retail gift shop focused on products of all types which had a ladybug design element. The business has grown rapidly and made a major contribution to downtown Milford’s economic revitalization. Dan received his doctorate in planning and economics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1979. He has worked for thirty in the fields of economic development and finance and has traveled to over sixty countries during his career.
Notes: To get information on almost any topic, a great place to start is at http://en.wikipedia.org According to Wikipedia, the world's first recorded online home shopper was Mrs. Jane Snowball, age 72, of Gateshead, England in May 1984. Selling products over the Internet is often called &quot;eTail&quot;.
Notes: I will be covering in this course both eCommerce (specifically eTail) and eMarketing.
Notes: While the bulk of eCommerce (about 90%) is B2B, we will be focusing on B2C eCommerce in this course. Most successful B2B business are developed by individuals who have considerable experience within the particular industry sector to which they are marketing.
Notes: I will be using my experience with the LadyBug Shop to provide concrete examples of what it takes to set up a retail eCommerce business. We opened our shop in the fall of 2003 and launched the website in early 2004. The LadyBug Shop is located at 23 NW Front Street in downtown Milford, DE. (www.ladybug-shop.com, 302-422-5470) It is open Wednesdays- Friday from 10 to 6 and Saturday from 10 to 2.
Notes: U.S. government statistics on retail trade, including reports on eCommerce, can be found at www.census.gov/retail/ During the first quarter of 2010 U.S. retail eCommerce sales increased 14.3% over the first quarter of 2009. Overall retail sales increased only 6.3%.
Notes: You can download the latest edition of Anderson's The Long Tail for free from www.scribd.com
Notes: Niches have many advantages, but a single niche may not have sufficient sales potential to meet your goals. At the LadyBug Shop we have recently added a new line of turtle gift products and launched a new website www.Turtle-Treasures.com. We cross sell between our two product lines whenever possible. Some merchants have even more ambitious business plans and develop many niche markets. A good example of this is SpotLightRetail.com. Read an interview with its owner at http://www.practicalecommerce.com/articles/894-Profile-eCommerce-Owner-on-Benefits-of-Niche-Retailing
Notes: There are over 350 shopping cart services now available. PracticaleCommerce.com has a regular, weekly review of shopping carts that provides detailed information about their features and limitations. I assume that most eCommerce retailers do their own order fulfillment. However, you may choose to outsource this service. This is a major decision that will affect almost all aspects of your business. The issues are covered in this article http://www.practicalecommerce.com/articles/1340-Fulfillment-Guidelines-for-Outsourcing An well-established company that offers order fulfillment services to small eCommerce companies is http://www.efulfillmentservice.com/
Notes: The LadyBug Shop’s shopping cart is provided by a local software development company, Delaware.net. It is call Store-Logic. Their shopping cart allows us to easily add product photos, descriptions and sales information whenever we have new products. And it takes care of putting together orders as customers select items from the catalog. It provides a number of other useful services such as handling credit card and shipping information and allowing customers to use discount codes that we have promotions or special sales. For more tips on choosing a shopping cart read http://www.practicalecommerce.com/articles/172-Shopping-Carts-Features-to-Consider
Notes: Most people are now comfortable using their credit cards when making purchases on the Internet. Thus special payment services such as PayPal are no longer as useful as they once were. At the LadyBug Shop we have decided to use only Visa and MasterCard payments, and this has caused no problems for us.
Notes: Credit card processing fees can cost the merchant from 2% to 4% of their sales. The fee structures are complex, usually combining fees that are a percent of sales plus a per transaction fee with pricing varying by sales volume.
Notes: Good article and video on taking photos of products: http://www.practicalecommerce.com/articles/954-Ecommerce-Know-How-Three-Tips-for-Good-Product-Photographs. The total cost for the photogratphic equipment needed for good product photos is around $500 to $1000. For the LadyBug Shop I use a Canon PowerShot Pro 1 eight mega pixel digital camera. This camera has a large digital viewer that can fold out and swiveled into almost a position—a helpful feature when using a tripod. The camera also has macro and super macro features that are essential in taking photos of very small objects. I usually work with the camera mounted on a BOGEN 3021BPRO tripod with a Manfrotto 3275/410 Compact Geared Head with Quick Release. Using a tripod helps in setting up your shots and improves the quality of the resulting images. I have learned that it is very important to use a light box for most products so that you have good diffused lighting (provided by two daylight balanced photographic floodlights mounted on stands). I use an EZ Cube studio lighting system which I purchased online at www.tabletopstudio.com.
Notes: Each of the carriers offers cost and services advantages depending on where you are sending a package, its size and weight, and how fast you need it delivered. A good introduction of these issues is available at http://www.practicalecommerce.com/articles/105-The-Shipping-News-Plenty-of-Carriers-for-eCommerce-Companies Issues connected with calculating shipping charges are covered by this article http://www.practicalecommerce.com/articles/449-Shipping-Charges-Compromises-Required At the LadyBug Shop we primarily use USPS Priority Mail. (For the occasional heavy, large boxes we use UPS.) However, we save money by using the USPS flat rate envelops and boxes when it is cheaper to do so. For details see http://www.practicalecommerce.com/articles/1257-Shipping-Rates-Flat-Rate-Boxes-Usually-Save-Money- And if you want to consider offereing free shipping, read this article: http://www.practicalecommerce.com/articles/928-Ecommerce-Know-How-The-Free-Shipping-Equation
Notes: For more information on taxation of eCommerce sales read: http://www.allbusiness.com/sales/internet-e-commerce/2652-1.html http://www.startupnation.com/articles/9080/1/ecommerce-sales-tax.htm http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/article-29919.html
Notes: You have probably noticed that this is one of my favorite sources of information on eCommerce.
eCommerce: Sales and Marketing Lead Facilitator - Dan Bond Sponsored jointly by Downtown Delaware, the Delaware Emerging Technology Center, Delaware State University’s Center for Entrepreneurship December 5-7, 2011
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As a small merchant, you are responsible for protecting cardholder data at the point of sale, and as it flows into the payment system. The best step you can take is to not store any cardholder data. You also need to protect: