Electronic commerce, more commonly known as ecommerce, refers to the online interaction between consumer and business. It is the simple buying and selling of services or products - the bricks and mortar of any business.
In today's fast moving world small businesses are feeling pressured into taking the e-commerce plunge with the suggestion of dire consequences if they don't. Remain competitive and incorporate a number of sales strategies.
With more competitors and a shrinking discretionary consumer spend, businesses should be focused on creating a solid online presence.
There are several important benefits to expanding online. The most obvious is the ability to reach a substantially larger audience with relatively little effort.
The major difference between a business website and a general website lies with an acknowledgement that attracting visitors to a business site is just not enough. The visitor must be converted into a customer.
With ecommerce the seller experiences faster payments and shorter delivery times, improving cash flow. Paperwork, labour and costs can be reduced or reallocated to other revenue earning opportunities.
Communication between buyer and seller is often improved and simplified, reinforcing long-lasting relationships with customers. Ecommerce offers flexibility and creates endless opportunities to turn browsers into customers.
There are five basic layers to successful ecommerce:
- Promotion of the website. Seems elementary but the lack of attention to ongoing promotion is what often causes online sales to remain stagnant.
- Establishing trust between the buyer and the seller. Provide a sales catalogue, comparisons, and lists of services, testimonials - anything that will provide the visitor with a level of comfort.
- Enabling the shopping experience to be simple, trustworthy and convenient for all purchases made via the website.
- Remember that security is of the utmost importance at this layer.
- Delivery of the product must be efficient, fast and secure, whether it is a downloadable product or one that is physically shipped.
- Customer service must be of the highest quality - returns simplified, feedback encouraged and general prompt support after the sale.