Beginning & Future of eCommerce:
Businesses of all shapes and sizes have began launching or expanding their Online presence. At any given time, there are approximately 8 million consumers worldwide that actively shop and buy through Web based stores or retailers (nearly one tenth of our world population). Online studies have claimed that online retail revenues will surpass the quarter-trillion-dollar mark by 2011.
eCommerce Site Features:
Typical business web sites do not usually have the same features as eCommerce enabled web stores do. In order to effectively distribute, market and sell goods or services online you will need certain features only found on eCommerce sites. Features may include a shopping cart, ability to process credit cards, online product catalog, automated inventory system, databases, bulk email program, statistics tracking and other non-computer technologies such as product warehousing and shipping transportation.
Benefits of eCommerce?
The processes involved with conducting business on the Internet and opening an eCommerce shop to sell from have several benefits to both merchants and the customers who buy from them. The biggest benefits of conducting business online include a cheaper upfront cost to the merchant, it's easier to set up and open the store and it's faster to get an online business up, running and making sales. The cost is normally a one time setup fee and then it's the time for someone to maintain the site. Whether you decide to use a plugin style cart system or have one built from scratch it normally ends up to be far cheaper than opening up a storefront.
Helps Create New Relationship Opportunities:
Expanding or opening an eBusiness can create a world of opportunity and helps to establish new relationships with potential customers, potential business associates and new product manufacturers. Just by being in an easy to find location that is accessible to users all over the world, you will be available for others to find and approach you about new opportunities. Customers who don't know you exist will know about you, product suppliers will request you add their items and other businesses will approach you about partnership opportunities. Many of these opportunities would not present themselves without an online presence or site for them to discover you on their own.
Open for Business 24x7:
An eCommerce site basically gives you the ability to have unlimited store hours, giving your customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week access to shop and buy items from you. Some merchants choose to limit their hours to 5 days a week, but orders can still be made over the weekend and customers can still make contact 24/7 via email, phone or fax. In addition, the costs associated with having your store open 24/7 are much less than maintaining a physical storefront or phone operator with 247 operation capability. You can literally take orders and let customers shop while you sleep, take vacations or from remote locations.
Increases Brand or Product Awareness:
Having an online business means that you can literally reach out to millions of consumers looking for what you sell anywhere in the world. By reaching out to new markets and displaying your site prominently in front of them, you will be able to help increase your company/domain brand name and also increase awareness about your product line. By giving users 24/7 access in an easy to find location, you will help to create more word of mouth buzz for your eBusiness, in turn helping to promote your brand name and products. Users who haven't heard of you will discover you exist and help spread the word about you.
Helps Establish Customer Loyalty:
An eCommerce storefront will help create an easier means for your customers to purchase the items you sell and offers a unique way to display and describe your products in a informative, visual and interactive way. The customers you have will become more loyal shoppers each time they visit, making eCommerce great for improved customer satisfaction and visitor loyalty. Now that you offer your products for sale Online, consumers will be able to shop from your catalog more easily, get updates on new items or product discounts and can shop or buy anytime they wish.
Potential to Increase Overall Business Sales:
An eCommerce store that is an extension of a physical storefront is a great way to boost overall business sales and potentially increase company profits across the board. Companies who already do business from a physical location are typically unaware of how much more they could be making if only they were to expand into their online marketplaces. Selling online opens up many opportunities for businesses both new and old. It's a great way to increase sales, especially if you already have a physical store.
Potential to Increase Company Profits:
Opening an online extension of your store or moving your business solely online are great ways to boost sales and potentially profits. Remember, just because SALES increase it does not necessarily mean that company PROFITS will increase also. Online businesses do have a greater chance of increasing sales and profits by opening up an eCommerce store to sell the items they offer. Sales and profits are the lifeblood of any company, so it makes sense to increase them where ever possible and whenever possible throughout the existence of your company. More sales, more profits, bigger budgets, etc.