A road map for getting your business on-line quickly and inexpensively
Selling online, with or through a website, or by means of email Ecommerce or electronic commerce is usually subdivided into B2B (business to business: wholesale), B2C (business to customer: retail) and C2C (customer to customer: auctions and information portals).
Much more demanding — and not usually served by off-the-shelf software — is e-business or electronic business, where information technology is applied to all aspects of companys operations. In e-business systems exist for CRM (customer resource management), ERP (enterprise resource planning), SFM (sales force management), SCM (supply chain management) and EP (electronic procurement).
Online Purchasing: This business presents the customer with those technologies that make it easier for them to find data and buy commodities. The businesses encompassed in this category serve the customer by giving them the option of order placement, purchase order submission or requisition of quotes. Online Shopping: This involves businesses giving information to customers so that they can make a decision and buy a certain commodity from you.
You must know the law! A good site to visit is the Small Business Development Centers National Information Clearinghouse E-business laws include; Trademark and patent laws; Consumer protection laws (if you plan to sell online goods/services); Licensing laws and taxation laws.
Ethical laws - These laws are with regards to ethical behavior of businesses online, especially if your e-business is an online pharmacy or store. Privacy & security laws - Privacy and security laws are very important to know because as an e-business you must at all times protect the privacy of your customers and keep their information safe and secure particularly their personal information. Copyright laws - E-businesses need to be aware of copyright and plagiarism laws as many copyright and plagiarism violations can be found all over the internet. Digital laws - Digital laws refer to laws regarding information technology, software/hardware patents, etc. These laws are vital to an e-business. Taxation laws - Any e-business must be aware of the tax laws that apply to their business and what state and local taxes they must pay.
7. Develop Concept 6. Prepare a Unique Selling Proposition 5. Obtain a Domain Name 4. Secure Funding 3. Lay Out a Project Plan 2. Construct Website, Payment Systems (SSL, Shopping Carts) and E-mail Systems 1. Test Retest. Change Offers
Storefront Software and Shopping Carts ◦ enable you to build sites where customers can view your goods ◦ add or delete items from their selection ◦ review their final selection prior to purchase ◦ payment process is made intuitive, fast and secure ◦ Shipping details, tax and your returns policy are clearly presented ◦ customers are emailed with a confirmation of purchase and delivery date.
Basically, there are three ways to build your store: ◦ purchase software out of a box‘ ◦ use software provided by an ecommerce hosting company ◦ create your own system, writing the code necessary
Ease of Build ◦ uses wizards throughout? ◦ resulting code can be easily tweaked? ◦ needs simple programming in Perl, Coldfusion or ASP? ◦ uses a proprietary programming language? ◦ suitable only for the advanced programmer? Integration ◦ works with what payment gateway system? Support ◦ software produced by large and reputable company? ◦ software has good customer base? ◦ adequate build instructions? ◦ online tutorials available? ◦ software users club and help center?
competitive prices good reputation: look for awards and testimonials. uptime of 99.9% or better. 7/24 email and telephone support. SSL (Secure Socket Layer) to provide security for payment transactions. use of a digital certificate (Verisign). appropriate operating system direct feed of website data into accounting and inventory databases. Adequate disk space - opportunity to add more. sufficient bandwidth, with affordable increases.
no more than 10 accounts on same server. online help: tutorial, manuals, control panel. detailed traffic statistics. regular site backup, preferably daily. opportunity to upgrade package, preferably to dedicated server. T3 connection (with no more than 30% average utilization). close proximity to backbone (not many upstream providers). redundant connections (to minimize bottlenecks). backup power supplies, usually diesel generators. guarantees, e.g. free monthly trial. fast and helpful response to detailed pre-contract questions. adequate security measures.
Many attractive deals exist. Some throw in detailed statistics of your visitors and their movement through your store. Some will also include marketing. Remember, however, that: you must still assess the software provided to ensure it does the job properly: evaluate the alternatives. terms may be restrictive: adult or politically incorrect material is usually banned. you may have to include banners etc. advertising the hosting company: these can interfere with the image or integrity of your store. the hosting company gets their cut somewhere: the merchant account provided may not be the best going: shop around. modest hosting charges allow for only limited support: check their rates for anything else. The hosting company may have the right to delete credit card information from their server some time after you have supposedly retrieved it: check that they keep a backup copy for customer disputes later. You may be locked in: transferring to another system/hosting company/merchant account can be difficult, especially if there are long leases involved.
What are we selling? Product? Service? How to people come to our site? Niche Marketing Affiliates Traffic Generation – Core Site Blogging, Social Media, Newsletters Facebook Ads Google Adwords/Google Analytics Organic Ranking