E-commerce | The trading revolution of the 21st Century
E-commerce has set the business world alight during this century. The Business Process Improvement VP is most likely to have a key role to play in its day to day success. E-commerce is basically the processes that are put in to place to support a company’s business activity on the web or via other electronic means.
The emergence of e-commerce as a way of customers purchasing has persuaded many companies to create an e-commerce web site and virtual shops or malls. E-Commerce consists of buying, marketing, selling and delivering services or goods by means of electronic transactions and activities.
E-commerce a key way to trade
E-commerce, in a majority of cases, is mostly based on transactions electronically performed on the Internet. Since the early days of the Internet (the mid-nineties) technology has come a long way. There are other transactions such as EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) or even email. EDI does play a significant role in business to business transactions as is often used in high volume transactional situations.
The issue with EDI is that is often expensive for the supplier and the customer to programme their systems appropriately in order to perform the tasks required. The Internet, however, is an e-commerce dream as it is very easy to set up a web site and likewise very easy to set up ways for payments to be received. One of the most common transaction providers being PayPal,
E-commerce and your business
E-commerce can provide the tools for transactional trade across continents, but companies should also be aware that the failure of their business using this method of trading is still as risky as having a shop on the high street.
It is essential to have a proper strategic business plan in place otherwise their business could go terribly wrong. Make sure that you perform research. You need to find a niche in the market that you can exploit or where you know you offer superior prices or service. You need to check out the competitive keywords for the area of trade in which you participate in.
If you take the term “e-commerce” in Google.co.uk you will find 230,000,000 competing pages. Let’s face it, unless you are the real king of search engine optimisation then the likely hood of you getting even on the first 5 pages of Google, Yahoo or Google is very unlikely.
If you have an existing business outside of the Internet, e-commerce can be used to supplement it, in fact, the physical side of the business can operate from your current premises. It is clear that many companies do not think about the amount of resources, time or money is required to build a proper web site where the e-commerce transactions can be performed. If you intend to launch one, then make sure you do it well.
E-commerce start small, grow large
It all depends where you stand in terms of your trade. If you are well known retailer then it is very likely that your name will be searched by customers and thus e-commerce will come into play as you take orders, receive payment and ship the product.
It is a good idea if you are a small trader to test the water by trading on E-bay or even set up a small (and in-expensive) E-Bay shop. The systems are easy to use and from the e-commerce perspective it is easily integrated with PayPal etc. If you are unsure about how you want to test this area of business, then this is a low risk way of doing it. Another consideration is Amazon Market Place where you can trade using the Amazon platform.
E-commerce is here to stay and becoming ever popular. It is a well recognised method of transacting business over the Internet whether business to business or business to customer. Take care when entering into the trading world of the Internet and make sure you have performed your research and have built a strategy.
If you are a smaller business with limited amounts of capital outlay, start small and expand. Use search engine optimisation to get a foot hold into niche keywords.