E-commerce is a term used to refer to any trading or commercial activity done through the internet. E-commerce covers a wide spectrum of business activity including advertisement, branding, actual selling as well as after sales services. Some businesses are wholly dependent on the internet for all their activities while others only use the internet for some functions. Whether you are looking to start an internet business, or you are already running a business and wish to leverage on the internet, an e-commerce strategy banking on an affordable e-commerce solution is the way to go.
You must have heard the bad stories: how businesses once rushed (and many businesses still do) to develop or buy ecommerce platforms only for them to end up with insignificant growth in sales and a hefty bill for the ecommerce platform. The primary source of this problem was a poor feasibility study or the use of an inappropriate and expensive e-commerce solution. Despite these real risks, the place of the internet in everyday business has moved away from a good to have to a virtual must have. Whether your target market is your neighborhood or it is global, e-commerce is a convenience that more and more customers demand.
In order to launch your ecommerce platform on the best possible footing, it is important that you not only undertake a thorough feasibility study, but that you also pick an e-commerce solution that is technically suitable as well as affordable. The type of e-commerce solution is strongly determined by the nature of the business it is meant to be used for. You will be pleased to know that there several different solutions that you can choose from whatever the niche area of your business.
At the minimum you should go for an e-commerce solution that incorporates an inquiries module (including a customer service chat option), an online shop for your products and a billing solution. More features will usually mean additional cost so be careful not to take up a platform that is too complex for the needs of your business and has modules that you will never need in the short and medium term.
But settling on a good e-commerce solution is just one part of the strategy. You have to set out on an internet marketing drive in order to draw traffic to your website and work to convert as many of these visitors into paying customers.
If your business is best classified as a service oriented business or a consultancy (for instance teaching, an architect, an attorney or an accountant), then one simple approach you can take to launching your ecommerce strategy is having a website or a blog through which you would provide advisory content that you would use to freely deliver value adding information to your existing and potential clientele.
As more and more people recognize your website as an authority in your area and see the consistent quality of the content you churn, they would be more inclined to subscribe to the services available on your website. This same principle can be used even when you deal with goods as opposed to services. Remember that e-commerce, just like any other product delivery channel in a business, is dependent on the strength of your brand. Note that you can shore up your website’s visibility by linking back through social bookmarking sites as well as article hosting websites.
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