E-Commerce stands for Electronic Commerce. It is a term that refers to any kind of transaction that takes place over the internet. It can be a business, commercial or information transaction.
What can E-Commerce do for me?
E-Commerce is a great way for a small business to increase their customer base and revenue. In today’s market, E-Commerce is a necessary practice to staying competitive. Practitioners of E-Commerce have benefited greatly through their use of the internet to reach a new client base.
Can I Set up My Own E-Commerce?
If you aren’t experienced in web design and online transactions, this may be something to consider learning about. If an online storefront isn’t easy to use and understand, it will turn people off to the experience. Site usability is very important for sales. E-Commerce solutions can be very complicated and expensive in the long-run to use, so it is usually a better idea to have an experienced company assist you with the project.
What is Shopping Cart Software and Should I Use It?
Shopping Cart Software is a fantastic tool for simplifying the customers’ shopping experience. Like in a grocery store, shopping cart software allows you to peruse the online inventory, add and remove items from your cart and check out when you are finished. Shopping cart software and similar products are integral to E-Commerce.
Can I Take Online Payment for Things Like Memberships?
Yes. E-Commerce allows online payments to be integrated with your system in any number of ways designed to meet your business needs. There are a number of useful processors and payment gateways like Authorize.net, PayPal and BluePay.
What Do I Need to Get Started?
To put it simply, you need something to sell. This needs to be easily accessible for you to ship or have shipped. You can divide these up into categories with pictures and prices to make integration easier. After that, all you really need is access to the internet.
What If I Already Have a Web Site?
If you already have a Web site, you can add “Buy Me” buttons to it without having to redesign the whole thing. This flexibility saves you time and energy while still allowing you the benefits of running an online store.
Can I Accept Credit Card Payments?
Definitely. Almost all of the transactions that are processed online are done with credit cards. To take credit card payments, you will need to obtain an Internet Merchant Account from your bank or go through a third-party payment service. Again, there are a number of useful processors and payment gateways like Authorize.net, PayPal and BluePay.
Do I Need Merchant Status To Do E-Commerce?
No. You only need merchant status to take credit card payments through your financial institution. You can also accept checks, money orders or allow credit card transactions to be processed through a third-party payment service. However, the most effective and secure way of taking payment is by credit card through a bank. If your business is of any size at all, get a merchant account.
Is the Payment Processing Secure?
Yes, if you only use Online Transaction Services that offer SSL (Secure Socket Layer) certification for your transactions. This means that all information that is sent between the customer and your Web site will be encrypted and protected from hackers and other unsavory sorts. We recommend to use a trusted seal like VeriSign, Thawte or GeoTrust.
Can I Use Affiliate Links to My Store?
Yes. Affiliate links are a great way to drive business through your Web site. Programs that allow for commission of sales to be provided for affiliates are also available.
Can I Sell Downloadable Products?
Yes. This can help you sell subscriptions, software and other downloadable features. You’ll need special software to verify what is downloaded. You will also need a specific credit card validation program, like CyberCash.
How Long Does It Take to Build A Store?
Once all of the planning is done, the storefront can be put up in a matter of days. However, you need to allot time for planning and organizing your site. Depending on what and how much you are offering, this could take a significant amount of time. You should also count on a delay if you have to apply for a merchant account from a bank. If you want to get the storefront up quickly, your best bet is to start small and to expand as time and need permit. Entering in your products, resizing images and adding content can all take a considerable amount of time.
What Solution Will Best Meet My Business Needs?
Once you figure out what it is that you are going to offer and what kind of payment you’ll accept, you can contact Web design and Web hosting companies for recommendations about which solutions and packages might be best for you. Remember that the more information you can provide, the more tailored the solution will be.
Is There a Limit to The Space I Can Use?
Different packages offer different amounts of storage space. When you provide your initial information to the hosting service, they will offer you a suitable amount of space. Remember that you can always buy more space later.
Can I Allow Password-Only Access to My Store?
Yes. Some merchants like to offer membership packages with special pricing and privileges to their members.
How Do I Get People to Come to My Store?
This is the hard part. You need to aggressively market your online store. This can be done through reciprocal linking, adding content, advertising banners, pay-per-click and pay-for-performance. All of these can help to drive customers to your site. You can also contact SEO (Search Engine Optimization) companies for advice on how to get your Web site higher in the search engine rankings. Your Web hosting service may also offer help in this aspect.