E-commerce plays a vital role in the way in which products and services are purchased.
An E- commerce system like your website can be used as a major place where you can advertise your products and sell it to customers. E-commerce can also be important part in strengthening relationships and also helps in improving the efficiency of your dealings with trading partners and the suppliers.
This guide provides advice on various key issues about how to identify the opportunities & solutions for ecommerce. It also highlights the necessity to plan for the ongoing development and maintenance of any e-commerce system..
2. Identifying e-commerce opportunities
There are various ways for identifying the e-commerce for your business:
If you plan to sell online, you have to rethink of your business activities. This will change the entire process of your business like the online query, placing an order online in spite of talking to sales person directly. You need to take lessons how every aspect of transaction is handled including order confirmation, invoicing, payment, deliveries, returns and personal relationship to customers.
You can use your web site for pre-sales activities. The most basic can be through the use of ‘brochure ware’ – i.e having promotional materials on your site. The other methods include email campaigns, sending news letter or online advertising .
Post sales support
You can also use the internet to computerize aspects of the customer support and can reduce the frequency of customer service calls. This can be achieved by using your site to answer the most FAQ, or by putting technical information online.
3. Making an User friendly Ecommerce site
The more user friendly an ecommerce site will be, more are the chances of success of your online brand image.
There are three elements of the shopping process that influence how easy and enjoyable the customer finds shopping on an e-commerce site – the shop front, shopping cart and payment software.
The shop front is the interface presented to the customer. This often incorporates an online catalogue that enables them to glimpse for products and recognize those they wish to buy.
From an ecommerce website once the goods have been chosen, the customer should locate the checkout clearly signposted, so that they can proceed to payment for the goods.
The system should process the order efficient and accurately with all summary including packing and shipping cost with VAT and other taxes. It should also generate a printable receipt and must send a confirmation email to the customer.
Most customers pay for their purchase with credit or debit cards. There are three options for accepting such payments – you can:
* open a merchant account
* use a payment processing company
* set up an online shop within a virtual shopping mall
4. Trading partner relationships
Apart from offering new ways of doing business with customers, e-commerce also offers new traditions of building closer links and improving business relationships with key trading partners.
Some of the key technologies are listed below.
• exchange information on stock levels
• fulfill orders more quickly
• minimize excess inventory
• improve customer service
• use a networking infrastructure to ensure good response times and speed
5. Implementing e-commerce
The key tools for e-commerce is that it must be specified, designed, hosted and maintained properly.
The website specification should be clearly identified, visualize and it must be crystal clear that what the site is trying to achieve and how the various components of the site is contributing to it.
Domain name plays an important role in the branding of your business. Your domain name should be simple and easy to spell. It should speak about your business.
If you purchase a domain name, either you will host your website or have an Internet service Provider (ISP) host it on your behalf. While hosting your ecommerce website it is very important that there is a suitable server with fast internet connection, secure network, quick technical support, and suitable bandwidth.
An important early decision that to be consider is where you want a complete shop package or build the software from scratch.
Shop package allows you to configure product information and the look and feel of the shop. However they have certain limitation when tailoring them.
Alternatively, you can use third party software which suits your budget and process of work.