eCommerce Course - Dan Bond - Dec. 2011


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eCommerce Course 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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  • 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 . 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.
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  • Notes: To get information on almost any topic, a great place to start is at 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 "eTail". 
  • 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.  (, 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 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%.
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  • Notes: You can download the latest edition of Anderson's The Long Tail for free from
  • 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  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  Read an interview with its owner at
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  • Notes: There are over 350 shopping cart services now available. 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  An well-established  company that offers order fulfillment services to small eCommerce companies is
  • Notes: The LadyBug Shop’s shopping cart is provided by a local software development company,  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
  • 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.
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  • Notes: Good article and video on taking photos of products: 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   
  • 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 Issues connected with calculating shipping charges are covered by this article 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 And if you want to consider offereing free shipping, read this article:
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  • Notes: For more information on taxation of eCommerce sales read:
  • Notes: You have probably noticed that this is one of my favorite sources of information on eCommerce.
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  • eCommerce Course - Dan Bond - Dec. 2011

    1. 1. 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
    2. 2. Outline of Topics <ul><li>Overview of eCommerce </li></ul><ul><li>Website Design & Development </li></ul><ul><li>Search Engine Marketing & Optimization </li></ul><ul><li>Legal Issues </li></ul><ul><li>Social Media </li></ul><ul><li>On-line & Off-line Marketing </li></ul><ul><li>Shopping Carts/Shipping/Credit Cards </li></ul><ul><li>Inventory Management </li></ul>
    3. 3. The Most Important Parts: <ul><ul><li>Finding your niche </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>SEM & SEO </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Continually expanding your market with Social Networking and other tools </li></ul></ul>
    4. 4. What is eCommerce? <ul><li>Electronic commerce, commonly known as e-commerce or eCommerce, consists of the buying and selling products or services over the Internet. </li></ul>
    5. 5. What is eMarketing? <ul><li>Internet marketing, also referred to as  </li></ul><ul><li>i-marketing, web-marketing, online-marketing, or eMarketing, is the marketing of products or services over the Internet. </li></ul>
    6. 6. Business to Business eCommerce Business to Consumer eCommerce
    7. 7. &quot;Click & Mortar&quot; Business Model <ul><li>  </li></ul>
    8. 8. Total retail eCommerce sales were $185 billion over the past year & are growing at twice the rate of other retail sales.
    9. 9. Unique Benefits of eCommerce <ul><li>Low startup cost </li></ul><ul><li>Unlimited market size </li></ul><ul><li>Much greater freedom of location  </li></ul><ul><li>Portability of business </li></ul><ul><li>Anonimity </li></ul><ul><li>24-7 Sales </li></ul>
    10. 10. Many successful eCommerce businesses started here.
    11. 11. The eCommerce Market ... as soon as FedEx gets there.
    12. 12. As long as there is high-speed internet and package delivery service available...
    13. 13. Relocating - Take it with you.
    14. 15. Neither rain, nor sleet, nor dark of night ...              ...keeps the orders from coming in.
    15. 16. Key Drivers of eCommerce <ul><li>Internet & World Wide Web </li></ul><ul><li>Low cost PCs & mobile devices </li></ul><ul><li>Search engines </li></ul><ul><li>Pay per click advertising </li></ul><ul><li>High speed internet services </li></ul><ul><li>Secure Internet credit card use </li></ul><ul><li>Digital photography & video </li></ul><ul><li>Social media </li></ul><ul><li>Growth of niche marketing </li></ul>
    16. 17. Source:
    17. 21. Niche Marketing
    18. 23. Finding Your Niche <ul><ul><li>Identify an interest -- ideally one related to yourself, your experiences, your talents, your location, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Identify a niche with sufficient market demand. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Discard niches where there is already too much competition. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Make sure that the niche can become a profitable business. </li></ul></ul>
    19. 24. Profit Margins <ul><ul><li>Wholesale price </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Location of supplier </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Price points </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Price competition </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Information value added </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Weight to value ratio  </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Shelf life </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Market trends </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Supply constraints </li></ul></ul>
    20. 25. How narrow is your niche?
    21. 26. Tools for Researching Niches <ul><li>Google Search Results </li></ul><ul><li>Google Product Search </li></ul><ul><li>Google Trends </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Google Alerts </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>eBay Groups </li></ul>
    22. 27. Website Shopping Cart Equipment Products Payment System Delivery Services Photography Information Management System Accounting System
    23. 28. Product Sourcing
    24. 29. Drop Shipping <ul><li>The Good: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>You don't invest in inventory. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The Bad: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>You have no buying power. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Competition will drive down your margins. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Drop ship wholesales do not provide products for niche markets. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The Ugly: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>You can work a lot, sell a lot and make no money. </li></ul></ul>
    25. 30. If you must try drop shipping take a look at:
    26. 31. New York International Gift Fair
    27. 32. Equipment, Software, Communications
    28. 33.    
    29. 36. Domain Names
    30. 37. Domain Name Selection <ul><ul><li>Short </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Memorable </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Easy to spell </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Discribes your business or product </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Contains key words </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Has best name extension possible </li></ul></ul>
    31. 38. .com .net .org .edu .gov .mil Top Level Domain Names
    32. 39. Domain Name Selection Aids      
    33. 40. Domain Name Registration              
    34. 41. Websites
    35. 42. Website Options Rent it Build it yourself Have it built for you
    36. 43. Rent Your Website
    37. 44. Build Your Website Yourself
    38. 45. Website Development Companies
    39. 46. Website Hosting Usually best to have your website built and hosted by the same company Make sure that they have on-site supervision 24-7 Make sure they have good telephone technical support service  Explore their up-grade potential 
    40. 48. Choosing a Shopping Cart <ul><ul><li>Product capacity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Photo capacity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Inventory tracking </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Affiliate program links </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Discounting & customer loyalty programs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Search-engine friendliness </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Shipping Options </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Payment Processing Options </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Report Generation   </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Technical Considerations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Support </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cost </li></ul></ul>
    41. 49. Payment Options <ul><li>  </li></ul>
    42. 50. Credit Card Processing
    43. 51. PCI DSS   Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard <ul><li>Be informed. Got to: </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Failure to understand the PCI compliance standards could result in higher merchant account fees and fines from the credit card issuers. </li></ul>
    44. 52. What to Secure: <ul><li>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: </li></ul><ul><li>Card readers </li></ul><ul><li>Point of sale systems </li></ul><ul><li>Store networks & wireless access routers </li></ul><ul><li>Payment card data storage and transmission </li></ul><ul><li>Payment card data stored in paper-based records </li></ul>
    45. 53. Essential Photo Euipment
    46. 54. Carriers
    47. 55. SKU
    48. 56. WARNING! <ul><li>Internet sales are not always tax free. </li></ul><ul><li>There are over 11,000 sales tax jurisdictions in the United States. </li></ul><ul><li>Ecommerce merchants located in a state without a sales tax do not have to collect sales tax unless they have taken some action to create a physical presence in another state. </li></ul>
    49. 58. &quot;If you build it, they will come.&quot;
    50. 59. Search Engine Marketing
    51. 60. Search Engine Optimization
    52. 61. Comparison of SEM & SEO
    53. 62. SEO You Can Do Yourself Use your keywords as much as possible. Have good, well written content. Establish back links from popular websites. Maintain a blog. Use Social Media to promote your site.
    54. 63. Social Media
    55. 64. Avoid the Hard Sale
    57. 66.
    58. 68. Sources of eCommerce Information
    59. 69.
    60. 70. Dan Bond 302-228-6590 (cell)