Incorporation of E-commerce into Business
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INTRODUCTION OF THE TOPIC
In the emerging global economy, e-business have increasingly become a necessary component of business strategy and a strong catalyst for economic development. The integration of information and communications technology (ICT) in business has revolutionized relationships within organizations and those between and among organizations and individuals. Specifically, the use of ICT in business has enhanced productivity, encouraged greater customer participation, and enabled mass customization, besides reducing costs.
With developments in the Internet and Web-based technologies, distinctions be- tween traditional markets and the global electronic marketplace such as business capital size, among others-are gradually being narrowed down. The name of the game is strategic positioning, the ability of a company to determine emerging op- portunities and utilize the necessary human capital skills (such as intellectual re- sources) to make the most of these opportunities through an e-business strategy that is simple, workable and practicable within the context of global information and new economic environment. With its effect of leveling the playing field, e-commerce coupled with the appropriate strategy and policy approach enables Small and medium scale enterprises to compete with large and capital-rich businesses.
On another plane, developing countries are given increased access to the global Marketplace, where they compete with and complement the more developed economies. Most, if not all, developing countries are already participating in e-commerce, either as sellers or buyers. However, to facilitate e-commerce growth in these countries, the relatively underdeveloped information infrastructure must be improved.
HISTORY OF INTERNET
In the 50's and early 60's, prior to the widespread inter-networking that led to the Internet, most communication networks were limited by their nature to only allow communications between the stations on the network. Some networks had gateways or bridges between them, but these bridges were often limited or built specifically for a single use. One prevalent computer networking method was based on the central mainframe method, simply allowing its terminals to be connected via long leased lines. This method was used in the 1950s by Project RAND to support researchers such as Herbert Simon, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, when collaborating across the continent with researchers in Santa Monica, California, on automated theorem proving and artificial intelligence. The Internet system was developed and ready in the Late 1980s, but The Cold War held up the progress. When it ended in 1992, the internet slowly became main stream. By the end of the decade, millions were using it for business, education and pleasure.
The Internet was designed in part to provide a communications network that would work even if some of the sites were destroyed by nuclear attack. If the most direct route was not available, routers would direct traffic around the network via alternate routes.
The early Internet was used by computer experts, engineers, scientists, and librarians. There was nothing friendly about it. There were no home or office personal computers in those days, and anyone who used it, whether a computer professional or an engineer or scientist or librarian, had to learn to use a very complex system.
WHAT MAKES THE INTERNET SO POWERFUL?
The Internet is the lowest cost system ever developed to communicate with a potential audience of hundreds of millions of people all over the world. Even locally, the cost of a simple Web site is usually less than the cost of a modest ad in a business telephone directory. A Web site can also give more information than a telephone directory ad, including color photos, detailed descriptions of products and services, and price information that can be changed at any moment, for any reason, instead of waiting for a printed directory's next publication cycle.
As a news medium, the Internet is faster and more flexible than a newspaper or magazine. A story can be added to a Web site instantly at any time of the day or night. There are no deadlines (except self-imposed ones) for Internet news. The "printing press" is always on, you might say. Even television news, aside from a few 24-hour news channels, must usually wait for scheduled news broadcast times instead of breaking into entertainment programming whenever a new story comes along. Television is also constrained by its necessarily linear information delivery format. It must tell a story, then another story, then take a break for advertising, then tell another story, and so on, in sequence. A viewer cannot choose to view only a few stories that he or she finds interesting, which may occupy only five minutes out of a 30-minute newscast. On the Internet, a reader is free not only to choose to view just those stories in which he or she is most interested, but also gets to choose the order in which he or she sees them. If sports scores are the highest item on today's agenda, click and there's the sports section, as easy as turning a newspaper page. Another click and there's the score from the game that just ended, possibly with video highlights only one more click away.
Corrections, changes, and updates to a story published on the Internet can be made as fast as they come in without waiting for a printing press to roll. Breaking news alerts can be sent instantly by email to subscribers who request this service, and a reader can instantly communicate with an online publication's editors via email or, if the publication has this facility, post his or her comments on a "message board" for other readers to see right away, without waiting for a fax or mail to get through and an editor to look the message over and perhaps include it in the "letters to the editor" section several days after the original story ran.
An online publication can also offer an advertiser something that is not available in any other medium: ads that link directly, with one click, to a Web page full of compelling reasons to buy the advertised product or service. Even if only a fraction of one percent of all people who see a Web ad click on it, that is still an infinitely higher percentage than can click on a magazine ad or TV spot for additional information—or even to buy a product directly from the advertiser right now. Even if few readers click on an individual online ad and buy right now, a Web ad still has the same branding and general "get the name out" effect as advertising in other media. If the cost of an online ad is similar to the cost of one in another medium, it represents a better value because of the ability it gives an advertiser to give an interested person an entire Web site full of information right away, only one click removed from the online publication in which that ad is running.
But the most direct way to make money online, no matter how a merchant gets traffic to his or her Web site, is to sell over the Internet. E-commerce has had its ups and downs, but the overall trend is upward, and it is likely to stay that way for many years to come. Putting up a "catalog" Web site is far less expensive than printing and mailing paper catalogs, and the Web site can have "instant" ordering and credit card acceptance built right into it, whereas a paper catalog can generate only phone orders that require a horde of (expensive) live operators to process or mail-in order forms that a customer must fill outAn
WHAT IS E-BUSINESS?
E-business (electronic business), derived from such terms as "e-mail" and "e-commerce," is the conduct of business on the Internet, not only buying and selling but also servicing customers and collaborating with business partners. One of the first to use the term was IBM, when, in October, 1997, it launched a thematic campaign built around the term. Today, major corporations are rethinking their businesses in terms of the Internet and its new culture and capabilities. Companies are using the Web to buy parts and supplies from other companies, to collaborate on sales promotions, and to do joint research. Exploiting the convenience, availability, and world-wide reach of the Internet, many companies, such as Amazon.com, the book sellers, have already discovered how to use the Internet successfully.
E-business is more than just having a web presence to facilitate buying and selling. Frank Jones, VP of IBM Corporation, provides this definition: "E-business is exploiting the combined power of the internet and information technology to fundamentally transform key business strategies and processes".
The most common implementation of E-business is as an additional, or in some cases primary, storefront. By selling products and services online, an e-business is able to reach a much wider consumer base than any traditional brick-and-mortar store could ever hope for. This function of E-business is referred to as ecommerce, and the terms are occasionally used interchangeably.
An E-Business may also use the Internet to acquire wholesale products or supplies for in-house production. This facet of E-Business is sometimes referred to as eprocurement, and may offer businesses the opportunity to cut their costs dramatically. Even many E-Businesses which operate without an electronic storefront now use eprocurement as a way to better track and manage their purchasing. revenue from 5% in 2000 to 10% in 2007 . Asia-Pacific e-commerce revenues are projected to increase from $76.8 billion atIn addition to buying and selling products, e-business may also handle other traditional business aspects. The use of electronic chat as a form of technical and customer support is an excellent example of this. An e-business which uses chat to supplement its traditional phone support finds a system which saves incredible amounts of time while providing opportunities unavailable through traditional support. By using virtual computer systems, for example, technical support operators can remotely access a customer's computer and assist them in correcting a problem. And with the download of a small program, all pertinent information about the hardware and software specifications for a user's computer may be relayed to the support operator directly, without having to walk a customer through personally collecting the data. In the past few years, virtually all businesses have become, to some degree or another, an e-business. The pervasiveness of Internet technology, readily available solutions, and the repeatedly demonstrated benefits of electronic technology have made e-business the obvious path. This trend continues with new technologies, such as Internet-enabled cell phones and PDAs, and the trend of e-business saturation will most likely continue for some time.
International Data Corp (IDC) estimates the value of global e-commerce in 2000 at US$350.38 billion. This is projected to climb to as high as US$3.14 trillion by 2007. IDC also predicts an increase in Asia's percentage share in worldwide e-commerce year-end of 2001 to $338.5 billion by the end of 2004. Asia-Pacific e-commerce revenues are projected to increase from $76.8 billion at year-end of 2001 to $338.5 billion by the end of 2004.
SOME OF THE WAYS I CAN INCORPORATE
E-BUSINESS INTO A COMPANY
The goal is to digitize transactions, which are simply defined as exchanges of information. The number of opportunities is limited only by your creativity, cost, and good business sense. The best advice is to determine the best opportunities for payback and address them first. Make sure the benefit will pay back or exceed the cost. The following is a summarized list of functions and activities where e-business applications are becoming embedded into the typical business model. Visualize, if you can, a business where each of these business activities is completely integrated with the others, to form a completely integrated e-business.
- After sales service; ie. billing, demand planning, engineering, inventory planning, purchasing, receivables
- Business analytics; ie. financial performance, marketing, workforce, production, enterprise management
- Consultant management
- Customer relationship management; ie. account management, customer self-service, contact management & communications, promotions, surveys, quality, help desk, field service
- E-store/e-exchange/product catalog; ie. delivering b2b and b2c e-commerce,
- Finance; ie. asset management, accounting, budgets, invoicing, payables & receivables, investments, government tax returns & payments, payroll administration
- Grant & donation management
- Human Resources Management; ie. resource planning, benefits administration, reward programs, recruiting & hiring, workforce management, pension administration
- Investor relations
- Marketing and sales activities; ie. products, technical information, sales support, product life cycle management, corporate resume, portfolio, customer lists, customer service
- Materials management
- Order management & customer fulfillment
- Project management
- Public Relations
- Strategic partner collaboration
HAVING TRADITIONAL BUSINESS :
WHAT DO ONLINE CUSTOMERS SEEK
Consumer attitudes of those who shop and purchase online are significantly different from the habits and preferences of consumers who visit stores. Their purchase decisions are driven and based on a different set of factors tied to the characteristics of the e-space environment. For an e-commerce business to survive, it is absolutely necessary to establish and maintain an intimate understanding of the customers, their behavior, and the factors that drive purchase decisions. In the current e-commerce environment, online consumers are highly sensitive to the following characteristics:
- Quick page download time, 8-10 seconds
- Fast navigation, 2-3 page views to get to the consumer's objective
- Logical and understandable first page view; purpose of site, company's mission, organization of site
- Quality user-friendly web site, easy to read and view with interesting graphics
- Immediate customer service, a human to contact to ask questions while browsing
- Complete product descriptions, price and other charges, and pictures
- Contact information, company address, store locations, telephone numbers, email address
- Confidentiality regarding use or sharing of consumer information
- Opt-out, or permission-given privacy policies for consumer data entered on the site
- Security arrangements for online transactions
- Convenient return policies and options
- Order acknowledgement & ability to check shipping status
- Site stability, similar look and feel for each successive visit
10 SUREFIRE IDEAS TO START YOUR OWN
ONLINE INTERNET BUSINESS
Become a freelancer - Do you have any specific skill? Sell it. Go to elance.com to find the job opportunities posted there. Start information website - Do you have a passion to research any niche topic? Gather it, process it, rewrite it and start a new informational website on the researched topic. Participate in affiliate marketing (sell others product) - Why don't you sell manufacturer's or marketer's product? To be precise, sell other's product. Sell an ad space - If you have a website or blog sell an ad space from it. If you don't have, try having one exclusively made for selling ad space.
Sell your own old stuffs through EBay - Start selling your product or your neighbor's or friend's product through EBay. Create a Niche blog - Do you Blog for Fun? No don't blog it. Blog to generate income out of it, get hired by companies to write blog for them. or create your own niche blog (this might over lap with any one of the above strategy). Sell your services - If you have a talent in any particular domain, and then sell it as a service. Be an Online service provider. Example: Online Brokers (this might also overlap) Create e-books on any subject of your interest and sell it across various channels like EBay, Amazon, etc
IS E-COMMERCE THE SAME AS E-BUSINESS?
While some use e-commerce and e-business interchangeably, they are distinct con- cepts. In e-commerce, information and communications technology (ICT) is used in inter-business or inter-organizational transactions (transactions between and among firms/organizations) and in business-to-consumer transactions (transactions between firms/organizations and individuals).
In e-business, on the other hand, ICT is used to enhance one's business. It includes any process that a business organization (either a for-profit, governmental or non-profit entity) conducts over a computer-mediated network. A more comprehensive definition of e-business is: "The transformation of an organization's processes to deliver additional customer value through the application of technologies, philosophies and computing paradigm of the new economy."
Three primary processes are enhanced in e-business :
- Production processes, which include procurement, ordering and replenish-ment of stocks; processing of payments; electronic links with suppliers; and production control processes, among others;
- Customer-focused processes, which include promotional and marketing ef-forts, selling over the Internet, processing of customers' purchase orders and
- Internal management processes, which include employee services, train-ing, internal information-sharing, video-conferencing, and recruiting. Electronic applications enhance information flow between production and sales forces to improve sales force productivity. Workgroup communications and elec- tronic publishing of internal business information are likewise made more efficient. payments, and customer support, among others; and
WHY ESTABLISH A BUSINESS ON THE INTERNET?
Fact versus Opinion
On techniques we have practised. We will be sharing with you the methods we have used to establish our own internet business rather than harping on about theories. You will be reading a real success story written by real people. Everything you will find here can be verified and put into practice by you. There is no denying that the internet has brought about a revolution. Never before have people been able to interact in such a cost effective and comfortable way. The Internet with its multiple communication channels also changes the world of business. Now it is possible for you to establish your own company with a very small financial investment or in some cases even without any start-up capital at all. The majority of people in any country in the world do not really like their regular jobs. Nevertheless they get up early every morning to go to work and when they return home tired and frustrated they switch on the TV to forget all about their problems. They often dream about a life that gives them the freedom to do what they really like with people who are friendly, intelligent, understanding and supportive.
When it comes to business, most people confuse their personal opinions with facts. They believe in fact that they know something when in reality they don't have all the data to support their beliefs.In this document section you will find factual information that is based on our experiences and our experiences Now with the Internet available in almost every household in any developed country, it is possible to achieve the type of lifestyle you have always dreamed about. The following facts will show why you really should consider establishing your
own internet company :
Downsizing: Let's face it — a computer is more productive than a human in business. areas such as accounting, administration, data management, calculating, statistics and many more activities. Whatever industry you name — new technologies increase productivity which, in turn, often leads to fewer jobs. To be sure new technologies also create new jobs but these require a much higher level of qualification and knowledge. A person who has been working in the same sort of job for several years is often not capable of acquiring all the skills and qualifications needed for a job in a new workplace.
Globalization: The world is becoming more and more interconnected. Even, or maybe especially after September 11, international travel activities have been increasing and this pattern will continue into the future. The number of companies that operate on a multinational scale is constantly rising because they need new market places. In Europe nations have agreed on a uniform single currency — the EURO, enabling the European Community to develop into a strong economic entity. The same sort of thing is taking place in Asia with China, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan forming a powerful economic alliance.
Information: More than 500 million people worldwide are using the internet on a
regular basis, with email and search engines as the most popular services. Information is power. People are able to influence, direct, convince, educate and manipulate others through one single tool: The distribution of information. Email and discussion forums allow people to share their thoughts, ideas and experiences with other people from all corners of the world.
Cost Effectiveness : The internet is by far the most cost effective communication tool. If you want to send a letter via conventional or so-called snail mail it will cost at least around $1 (assuming you restrict yourself to two single sheets of paper). Sending the same amount of information via email will be up to 100 times cheaper with immediate delivery.
THE ADVANTAGES OF THE INTERNET
So, let's recap. Never have the chances for setting up and running your own successful business been easier than they are today:
- While traditional industries like manufacturing are shrinking, new industries are growing especially the «information industries
- You can use the internet to find your customers and business partners worldwide
- Your customers and partners can find you on the internet.
- You can use the internet to build a strong relationship with your customers especially via email.
- You can use the internet to market your products and services.
- You can use the internet to acquire all the information, training and qualifications you need for your business.
- You can set up a business with a very small marketing budget, something almost impossible in the real world.
You can certainly list even more reasons why it is possible for anybody with a computer and access to the Internet to establish their own business. At the same time the reality is that only a very small percentage of people who do have a computer and access to the Internet, establish and run their own business. Why is this? The answer is very simple. Most people anywhere in the world, spend too much time thinking about things they do not want, instead of thinking about things they do want. As a
result there are only a few people who have their own company and they usually earn more money than somebody with a regular job. Owners of comapines usually have more personal and financial freedom than people with regular jobs. But what exactly do you need in order to own a company? Money? A University degree? The right friends? Well, maybe some of these things can help you with your business but then they are not essential and are no guarantee of success. We have analyzed a number of successful online business people and here is a list of important characteristics all of them possessed. We know that the following qualities are essential for success as a businessperson so you should take the time to go through them and check whether or not you have them. All the information about how to set up a website, how to run an email newsletter, how to get a high ranking at Google, how to generate huge traffic to your website etc. will be worth nothing if you don't have most of the following skills and qualities.
WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE SUCCESSFUL IN
Most people wait until someone else tells them what to do. That's the way our society is organized. You go to school and the teacher tells you what to do. You study at university and the professors tell you what to do. Your parents tell you what is right and wrong. You get a job and there you will have a boss and colleagues who tell you what to do. Now, we all have to learn from others clearly but we do have a choice about where we get advice. If you want to know how to establish your own business, would you ask your colleague who has been working in a regular 9 -5 job for 15
years or so? Think about your teachers at school or your University professors. Do you think they know how to set up a business and become an entrepreneur? If we examine truly successful people we will find that they have a high level of self-motivation. This applies to any calling in life.
Consistency, the ability to follow through
Many people who do have self-motivation, quickly get enthused and inspired by a new idea. Getting excited or even thrilled by an idea might be great for the moment. A business, however, requires constant activity. If you want to establish and develop a company you need a high level of consistency also known as stickability. Once you have made the decision to set up your business, you must follow through this decision
with consistency. Think about your life can you come up with an example where you have proved your consistency, your stickability? Did you ever want to learn to play an instrument or a sport or a learn a foreign language? How long did you stick to your plan? How much time did you spend on your project and what have you accomplished? Chances are that you started a lot of projects and half way through the course you quit because things got tough and you lacked stickability. If this is the case fear not. You are not alone. The truth is that most people quit as soon as things get more difficult. Making a long-term commitment is not easy for most people. This applies to personal relationships too
Are you the sort of person who tends to raise your voice when something doesn't go your way? Or do you even have A tendency to shout at your spouse, children or colleagues when you are under pressure? Whenever you start shouting, swearing or using negative language you are wasting your energy energy better put to use on your business venture. Swearing and grumbling kills your creativity and blocks your mind. You must be strong enough to withstand any tendency to get angry or upset or else you will never succeed in your business.
It takes great courage to make decisions and set goals because this means you have to prove to yourself that you can follow your own words through to a conclusion. Look at your friends, family and colleagues. How often do you hear somebody make a promise like «I'll call you next week.» or «I'll look this information up for you.» or «Sure I'll help you when you move house, just let me know when you need me.» Those are statements, offers, promises all based on words. Yet, how often are they followed by deeds? Do you make New Year's Resolutions such as «Next year I'll quit smoking», «Next year I'll start this business course at night school», and «Next year I'll go on a trip to Paris or Egypt with you»? How many of those resolutions and promises have you kept? How many of them did you simply forget two weeks into the New Year? It takes courage to make a real decision, as you will have to make a sacrifice to follow it through. Also, when you start up a business you will be alone, at least to begin with. There will be no-one to tell you what to do, nobody at first to motivate and support you. You will have to take responsibility for yourself and to a certain degree, for any possible partners and you can only lead others if you have your own fears under control and are willing to take risks. Many people do not set themselves goals because they are afraid of failing of admitting defeat and they think the best way to avoid defeat is to simply not set goals.
Willingness to learn and the ability to change habits
When you decide to start your own Internet business you are also deciding to go back to school again. Not in a real physical sense but mentally. You will have to trawl for every single bit of information that will get you closer to your goal. To learn means you'll need to change your habits and habits are established patterns of behaviour and thinking that everyone acquires throughout their lives. However, most people are not aware of the fact that they have to learn something new every day and that in order to learn, in order to obtain new knowledge and new skills they have to change some of these habits. If you want to learn a foreign language you have to change your daily routine. For example the habit of listening to your favourite music on the radio. Instead you could be listening to audio recordings in the language you want to learn. We all
have a tendency to get used to things that are not only comfortable but also do not require much activity on our part. We get used to watching TV in the evening and eating convenience food at the same time because this is comfortable and doesn't require any mental activity. IF you want to establish your business, you won't have much time to watch TV for entertainment. You have to change your habit of absorbing information passively into one of actively searching for information in order to analyze, filter and reorganize it.
Establishing a business means creating a product, service or system that solves a specific problem or enhances a person's life in one way or another. You can achieve this purpose when you create something new This doesn't mean that you have to re-invent the wheel though. Examine any new product development that enters the market and you will see that this «new» creation is not entirely new but has been made up by combining existing elements in a novel way. This action of rethinking existing elements is the formula of creativity. So, in order to create something new you have first to analyze an existing product to find out how it can be improved, developed or enhanced in any way so it will do a better job. Take Google — its founders examined and analyzed existing search portals, in particular Yahoo and MSN. Based on their exhaustive studies they came up with an indexing and searching system that provides a higher search term relevancy. Study people's behaviour — identify their latent needs and desires and you will tap into a never-ending supply of product ideas.
Vision is the ability to see things not as they are right now, but what they will be like in the future. Most people are so stuck in the moment, so preoccupied with their personal daily problems that they don't have the time or energy to think about how a particular market can develop in the future. Look at any successful business venture and you will find that its founder was able to project into the future, to estimate how people's behaviour will change. Your success in business is directly related to your vision capacity» and your vision capacity is determined by two factors: How far ahead are you able to see into the future and how precise are your predictions? When Larry Page and Sergey Brin founded Google in 1998, they could see well beyond the year 2003, in which they yielded A revenue of almost $ 1 billion. By 1998 Yahoo and MSN were operating worldwide known search services and no one would have thought that two students could take the lead in the industry within 5 years. Yet, Brin and Page had become excellent analysts of the web search market and they collected and recorded the necessary data to recognize a pattern in human behaviour. Based on their observations they then drew conclusions and made a prognosis. If you want to build your own business, you must be able to see into the future. You can develop «vision capability» just like you can develop any other skill. Your first step is to study and analyze human behaviour. Ask yourself this question: What are people looking for when they use the Internet?
ESSENTIALS OF E-BUSINESS
You can't just open an online store and expect customers to flock to it. Find out if your niche market is one that you can reach through a website. How? Does your niche market have an identifiable need for your web offering? Do they have the wherewithal to pay for it? Is the niche group sizeable, i.e., will it provide enough business to produce the income you need? If the answers are yes, you have found a good niche. Now dig deep within that niche to understand the consumer behaviors that drive it. Every e-commerce operator should assume that his or her customers are sophisticated shoppers who demand prompt delivery of a product that is exactly as portrayed on their website. The most common mistake made by inexperienced web operators is to fail to be responsive to their customers' order processing and fulfillment needs. But those services are the very underpinnings of all successful e-commerce ventures — neglect those areas and you have a business catastrophe.
To help in the follow-through, you and your customers must be able to track the status of each purchase. Most new e-commerce businesses, however, fail to integrate this necessary backend support. Another “must” is to make certain that your customers know that your web-based business will not only deliver a value online that cannot be found offline, but that it is just as responsive with customer service issues as the most well-regarded offline business.
By keeping customer service and product fulfillment as an immediate priority you can build a valuable relationship with your customer. In doing so, you earn that customer's loyalty. That helps to stem the natural flow of attrition as customers who pursue the lowest price find that the trade-off is a void in the cut-rate business's customer service department.
Another common problem for new e-commerce businesses is misinterpreting the power of the Web. Yes, a website with the right infrastructure can economically automate transactions. However, the real power of the Web is its role as a relationship-building magnet — through its ability to provide numerous opportunities for interactivity. If you are careless with automated processes — this very real advantage will vanish.
Use your website to provide not only useful and interesting information about your products/services, but also about your entire niche market. The group that makes up a niche market always yearns for more information. They will return time and again to your website if they are appealed to on the basis of their special interests — detailed articles and content-rich advertising specifically targeted to them.
The dot-com bust of 2000 was a failure of business plans; the concept itself has not failed. And while numerous news articles over the last few years detail how various websites lost sales and customer confidence due to inadequate prelaunch planning, there have also been many successes, especially in the small business arena.
Internet the way we do business today. It has broken physical boundaries and has provided each small, big and mega businesses a global business opportunity. Your online presence, your website provides you an equal opportunity to have your presence felt.
The irony those among the millions of websites ruling the internet world only thousands are successful. As they say you not only need a quality product or service, you need to package and most importantly sell it. That leads us to the question how to get successful online? Simple answer packages your website and makes people aware of it.
The basic rules of business apply here too with the difference that here you cater to a global market. The internet offers you with a variety of tools which applied correctly can make the winning difference.
So where do you start?
Your website needs a design and for this you need a web designer. Correct web design, colours and correct placement of web elements on your web page are important aspects for your site to succeed.
Remember to maintain a contact page which mentions your contact details on the site have a sitemap and design the site for users. It is of utmost importance that you keep web designer.
If you are in business retail or manufacturing a good idea is to have your site e-com enabled. You must have shopped on the internet, if not you are among the chosen few. If you have you must be aware of the shopping cart on the e-commerce site. The shopping cart enables your visitors to manage their shopping well. You will need a payment gateway and a merchant account to receive money for sales. To test out your site integrate it with Paypal and try out the shopping experience.
- So your site seems to be ready now. Next step. Make your site presentable and make it known. So we are now into advertising and marketing of your website. Here note this that 95% of websites gets visitors from referred from search engines. These search sites work like a gateway to the internet world.
- Your next step towards making your site known to others is to follow the search engine optimisation tips offered by the search engines while making your site. You should look for the terms people use to search your type of service or product and create your site around it. As in the advertising world headings for your pages should be catchy. Internet visitors scan web pages for information instead of reading through them, so all the rules of advertising world which helps in writing the content for the advertisement apply here. Do it yourself, get to know what the inverted pyramid style of writing is or hire a web designer, see specialist to do it for you.
- With pay per click, the internet advertising world has revolutionized. It offers you advertising opportunities on the net for a few shillings. Check out Google Adsense or Overture PPC campaigns. These are offered by mostly the leading search engines and your advertisements are displayed on the search result pages of these sites for keywords you choose. If controlled optimally you can benefit from these. Use PPC to get visitors to your site during the launching period. Dual benefits. One you get visitors though your site is too new and second due to advertising, your site gets noticed. If you are not aware of this, use the services of a PPC management company to do this for you.
- So what else to look out for? Interaction. Give reasons to your visitors to come back to your site. Start a newsletter campaign. Offer your visitors something free. Give them tips. Start a blog. Make your visitors come back to your site.
- Give them options to sign up for your newsletter free. You get their emails and use a mailer program to send out regular mails to them.
ARE INDIANS BUYING ONLINE?
Are Indians buying online? As per IOAI forecasted estimates, e-commerce transactions will cross the Rs 2000 mark (2006-2007) which translates into an increase of over 300% from financial year 2004-05.
The relationship between the Internet and commerce has passed its nascence. According to the estimates by IOAI, online shopping crossed Rs 430 crores to Rs 570 crores in 2004-05. The turnover is further expected to increase to Rs 1180 crores in 2005-06.
The Internet offers an audience that will grow to a 100 million users by 2007-08, unlimited shelf space and isn't bound by operational timings and geographical boundaries; with an opportunity to cater to country wide city markets (for consumers and suppliers alike) at a comparative miniscule cost.
This four fold population increase raises a pertinent question to many a business and enterprise 'How should you embrace this medium?' This research reports deals specifically with that premise and arms any reader with an arsenal of information to start/improve his online shop / enterprise in his core competitive area.
The E-Commerce Industry:-
570 crores worth of E-commerce conducted online in 2004-2005 to grow to Rs 2300 crores by 2006-2007, an estimated 300%+ growth.
The E-Commerce Site Visitor:-
55% of visitors to ecommerce sites have adopted the Internet as a shopping medium.
The Regular Online Shopper:-
Of the 55% of online shoppers [Base 1716] - 87%  of shoppers have shopped more than once and have been termed 'as regular shoppers'. They form the ‘base' for this report of users who have transacted online to buy products & services ‘more than once'.
FEATURES OF SUCCESSFUL & TIGHTLY FOCUSED WEB SITES
- ONLINE CUSTOMER SUPPORT FROM INDIA -
- There is a company in Bangalore that has pioneered this idea. Aditi (www.aditi.com) provides email customer support for Real Media. The customer in America who needs support will have his problem solved via email by a team of Indians. The Internet has opened the door for this type of opportunity. It really is true that the geographic barriers are coming down.
- The Potential:- The business potential in this type venture is the cost savings of running a business in India. There is a huge labor pool of good quality English speakers who can easily handle customer support for web sites like RealMedia. The cost to hire someone to do this is about US $150-$200 per month. You can expect to hire a very nice English speaker who has had some computer training. Furthermore he or she will have a pleasant attitude, as most Indians are warm and friendly.
- The Downside:- The risk is that the customers will not be served well if the Indian staff is not trained properly. The staff needs to understand the mindset of the American customer. This can easily be overcome as long as the potential problem is recognized.
- E-COMMERCE EXPORT OPPORTUNITIES IN INDIA -
- There are plenty of things that can be purchased and exported. One young man has sought out unusual coffee and spices and now has an e-commerce site where he sells these items through the mail. Perhaps it is not even necessary to purchase and warehouse anything. Partnering and establishing joint ventures with Indian companies would give you the opportunity to handle a variety of products without the risk and cost. You could simply create a website that sells the products. This is not much different than Amazon.com. Do you realize they don't publish books? They just sell others'. Often they have the book sent to the customer directly from the publisher eliminating the shipping and storage.
- The Potential:- The potential is to find a niche market. Perhaps this could be in the area of health care products, herbs or plants that are only found in India. The Downside:- The risk is that the product may not sell. Fortunately the Internet can be used to test the market before taking much risk. It is much easier to find the demand for items and then meet that demand than to start with the product. India has plenty of products that can be tested on the market.
- EXPORT ANIMATIONS, MULTIMEDIA, GRAPHICS OR OTHER CONTENT PRODUCTS -
- Again this idea utilizes the skilled creative labor force in India. We have not been able to find a case study of a company doing this in India.
- The Potential:- The potential is to fill the huge demand for quality content that the web is creating.
- The Downside:- The downside is that it requires careful supervision to assure that the product communicates effectively to a Western audience. For example, a Westerner's taste for colors is different to that of an Indian.
- EXPORT DATA SERVICES -
- Any kind of outsourcing of data entry or data conversion is a good candidate for a successful start up business in India. The hottest thing these days in Bangalore is medical transcription. Doctors and hospitals in the USA send their audio transcriptions via the Internet to Bangalore, India. They send the audio file at 5:00pm which is around 5.00am in India. The workers can do their work so that the Doctor has the text document the next morning. In Bangalore you can find good examples of companies already doing this. Go to Yahoo and type in "data entry India" or "data conversion India". You will be startled by the amount of information that is available.
- The Potential: The potential for this type of business venture is great. Many of the Bangalore companies are growing and adding employees quickly. The reason there is such a global demand for this kind of work is because companies want to have their documents in a digital format. This conversion may include scanning the document into the computer and then going one-step further and tagging and indexing them in HTML SGML or XML so that it can be put on the Internet and easily retrieved. The entrepreneurs who are willing to joint venture with Indian partners to start up a business like this will not only make money but will be doing a great service for India by providing high quality skilled jobs.
- The Downside: The risk is in, not maintaining top quality work for the client. This has been a complaint of many clients.
- START A SOFTWARE COMPANY -
- There is nothing new about this. There are plenty of success stories. Bangalore already has at least 600 software companies. Most of these are Indian owned and non-resident Indians have started a few of them. For a list of Bangalore software companies you can go to resource page. Government of India and especially Karnataka (the state in which Bangalore is), is encouraging foreign involvement and investment and has turned on the green light to hi-tech companies. They have even created some tax incentives for this industry.
- The Potential: The potential is for the development of quality software using the extremely intelligent labor force in India at a lower cost. Cost savings can be found in rent, insurance etc. High quality programmers can be hired for 25%-50% of the cost of the same software programmers in the West. For a good example look at gseindia.com and read the history of this high end Swedish/Indian Software Company.
- The Downside: The downside is that there are inefficiencies related to working in India i.e.: erratic power, government bureaucracy, poor Internet connections etc. Unless the cost saving is considerable, many of the problems related to doing business in India will offset the benefit.
WHY GO TO THE WEB?
The Web opens up a whole new market for goods and services. It creates opportunity for a multifaceted arena that offers new efficiencies for sales, marketing, customer service, shipment tracking, inventory monitoring.Choice has always been the Holy Grail for consumers. Today's consumers have a wide variety of commerce choices: traditional businesses, mega discount stores, catalogs or direct market mail, and the Web. The Web, taken as a whole, is a powerful medium where consumers browse, research, compare, and then buy online or, after doing their “window shopping” online, make the purchase at a brick-and-mortar business. Businesses that keep in mind the consumers' desire for choice, and integrate into their website the appropriate means for customer interactions, will succeed.
This being said, the Web will not open vast new markets for every business. However, it can extend a significant degree of power to businesses that recognize how to leverage the efficiencies of this new arena. A good example is 3Com (www.3com.com) which, through its website:
- Offers products and services to a global audience.
- Provides many different technical support features online.
- Offers software downloads including drivers, updates and fixes, which prior to the website would have been mailed to the customer.
- Offers an online store.
- Provides an educational center with online courses.
In short, 3Com's business and customer base didn't change — the Web changed the way 3Com services its market it did not create a new market. Still, overall, 3Com's business is enhanced by its web presence.Big companies with plenty of technical expertise and buckets of money have always been able to build their own e-commerce systems, complete with a secure server, a high-speed Internet connection, and custom software.
Creating a business model for e-commerce starts with the following basic challenge: Can you define your company? Next, can you state your goals for the company? Finally, — within the aforementioned context — can you state what role e-commerce can play in helping your company maintain or change its identity?
This table indicates, online sales are growing steadily along with the total number of Internet users (148,811,000 in August 2006 to 150,045,000 users in September 2007). Source: com-Score Media Metrix.
The Top 10 Website Categories as of September 2007
Unique Visitors as of August 2003
Unique Visitors as of September 2003
There are eight basic website models — ranging from the simple static pages of a brochureware site to richly interactive online gaming sites, to online stores chock full of products, to online auctions. Many websites combine several of these basic models. However, each model has unique characteristics that distinguish it from the other models and it is important to understand these differences.
A brochureware site is a marketing site that electronically aids in the buying and selling process. A traditional business often will build and maintain a brochureware site as a marketing tool with the objective of promoting the business and its products/services. A brochureware site is sometimes an adjunct to a business' technical support division providing online documentation, software downloads and a Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) section. Such a website can provide detailed information about the business's products/services, contact information including the business's address, telephone numbers, and email addresses. It can also be a tool to provide the public copies of a company's annual reports, press releases, and employment opportunities. Revenue from this kind of site is generated indirectly by creating an awareness of the business' products/services. All transactions occur offline.
Savvion develops business process management software that improves business performance and reduces costs within and across functional business units. Its website, www.savvion.com, is a good example of a high-quality brochureware site. It is clean, fast loading, and has all of the elements of a good website. To demonstrate the variety of businesses that take advantage of the Web to expand their business opportunities visit the following brochureware websites: Rolledsteel.com, Cohenhighley.com, Hayproperty.com.au, and Paulcato.com.
As you can see, you don't need to be a corporate giant to benefit from a brochureware site.
An online store is a website where consumers buy products or services. This type of site is most commonly referred to as an e-commerce site or a “B2C” (Business to Consumer) site. In addition to most, if not all, of the content found in a brochureware site, an online store displays products/services along with detailed information (e.g. specifications and pricing) usually from a database with search features, and a method for online purchase. An online store must also provide extensive information about the products/services offered that not only aids in attracting consumers, but gives them enough confidence in the seller and the products/services to take the next step — making an online purchase.
One question the author is often asked is “what should an e-commerce site offer — online order processing, just a toll free number, or both?” The answer is: Offer both.
If you choose to take online payments, you must provide a secure, reliable, cost-effective system for authorizing payment and managing transactions. The best systems are based on the Secure Socket Layer (SSL) and/or Secure Electronic Transactions (SET) encryption technology, which provide the encryption of data and generate and display a “results page” to the customer following the transaction.
Further, a successful online store must be designed with the ability to store orders in a database or as tab-delimited text files so the data can be imported into an invoicing system. Then the website must be able to intelligently route encrypted email to the order fulfillment division.
A good example of a large online store is Healthtex.com. This is a great site in every respect. To see how a small brick-and-mortar business uses a web presence to enhance its bottom line, visit Parkaveliquor.com, where you will find an attractive, well-designed and fully functional e-commerce site that benefits both the storeowner and the customer. Other good online stores you might want to use as guides when designing your website include the Treliske Organic (www.nzsouth.co.nz/treliske), which offers “Certified Organic” Wool, Knitwear, Beef and Lamb; Badcataviation.com, a great toy airplane store; and Soccer Books Limited (www.soccer-books.co.uk) where you can find a huge selection of books, video and DVDs relating to the sport of soccer.
Another avenue that an entrepreneur might want to consider is to team with a large e-commerce site such as Amazon.com or e-bay.com to provide the e-commerce end while the entrepreneur provides the site's “content.” Good examples of such a site are www.dolls-for-sale.com and www.politinfo.com.
A subscription site can process payments offline and provide via email a user's name and password for access, or it can provide a secure, reliable, cost-effective online system for authorizing payment and managing transactions. Again, the best systems are based on Secure Socket Layer (SSL) and/or Secure Electronic Transactions (SET) technology to encrypt the data, and generate and display a “results page” to the customer following the transaction.
E-commerce technology continues to become more sophisticated, and with every advance the financial prognosis for a subscription site should improve. A good example of a subscription site is iEntertainment Network (www.iencentral.com). This worldwide game and entertainment site offers both free ad-supported and fee-based online game channels. The site also offers a variety of monthly subscription plans.
The website Content-wire.com offers another example of a good subscription site that uses both banner ads and subscriptions for its revenue stream. This website offers a niche editorial product that covers a narrow vertical technology sector — web-based commerce. As such, it provides up-to-date news articles, produces features on a variety of subjects, and offers a good bit of research material. Although this website could be better designed, it is functional and the average surfer will find it easy to use. Because the site does derive some of its revenue from banner ads, some information offered is free (use it!). Note that surfers who pony up $100 or $200 for a subscription, there is much more data available for your perusal.
A sub-model that increasingly is finding favor is the website that offers downloadable content — via a subscription account, a la carte basis, or a combination of both. The most popular website within this sub-model is the new Napster.com. Although this digital music destination bears the same name as the famous, but defunct, peer-to-peer file sharing website, that business model is in its past. The current Napster.com is a digital music catalog site that also offers many rich community features for its customers. The new Napster.com allows consumers to choose how they want to experience music, offering both an a la carte store and a premium subscription service.
Not all digital music sites follow the subscription model, however. Apple's iTunes.com website, which at this writing offers more than 400,000 songs from a wide variety of musicians for less than a dollar per song, states that its iTune website offers music without the need to “agree” to complicated rules. There are no clubs to join, and no monthly fees if you like a song, you just buy a downloadable copy of it for 99¢.
Check these sites out; they might give you some ideas on how you can make money from your own website.
An advertising site is a content laden site, whose revenue base is the dollar amount derived from banners, sponsorships, ads, and other advertising methods. The traffic the site draws is the measure of its value. Recognized rating firms measure its value and then advertising rates are based upon that value. Important note: Very few sites can be supported entirely through advertising dollars.
Two good advertising sites are Cnet.com and Howstuffworks.com. Both are wonderful content laden advertising websites that every reader should bookmark. You should especially read the Howstuffworks website's explanation of how a web server works, which can be found at http://computer.howstuffworks.com/web-server.htm.
Another great advertising site is Thekidzpage.com. Although this colorful site's use of “pop-up” ads can be irritating, those ads allow this site to provide all of its great content for free. Children love to visit this site to play games and parents appreciate the more than 250 printable coloring books and learning activities.
But an advertising site needn't be graphic intensive nor host a variety of pop-up ads to be successful. Cases in point are the low-tech websites HomePCnetwork.com and Hrmguide.co.uk. Although these text-driven sites don't offer a lot of “bells and whistles,” they make up for their lack of “eye-appeal” by their informative, easy-to-use content.
Online or Cyber Mall
A simple and easy way to sell products/services online is to open a shop in one of the many cyber malls on the Web. Online malls generally offer turnkey solutions for store creation, payment processing, and site management. For example, most cyber malls offer a template for implementing a catalog of products, a shopping cart application, and a form generator — allowing small businesses to quickly set up shop on the Web. The templated applications employed to set up a business's catalog and the ease of payment processing are tempting to a novice. These cyber malls also provide a high level of “click traffic.” If you are new to the Web and would prefer to first “dip your toe in the water,” a cyber mall may be the answer.
A cyber mall's biggest promise is to deliver more traffic to your “front door” than you would be able to do if you go it alone. Since you will be relying on the cyber mall's marketing savvy, make sure you verify that it can deliver. But note that the only “front door” which is advertised is the cyber mall's address, not your online store's address.
Most cyber malls offer a purchasing system, which enables a web start-up to avoid up-front shopping cart software costs, but a fee is accessed on each purchase — that fee will eventually exceed the cost of the software.
You need to ensure that the cyber mall you choose is one in which your online store can flourish. Consider the pros and cons of establishing your online store in a cyber mall including the restrictions and costs that some cyber malls impose. Then consider the option of setting up your own purchasing system and independent identity. For, in reality, a cyber mall is just a list of links categorized by store and product type.
Any number of cyber malls can help you get your website up and running in record time. Yahoo! Store, probably the most popular cyber mall on the Web, includes an easy tool that lets you register your own domain name (http://www.ourname.com) or, if you already have a domain name, they will help you transfer it. You are also given the option of using stores.yahoo.com/yourname, which does not require an up front registration fee. Freemerchants.com offers an easy and inexpensive way to set up an e-commerce site. Of course, like many cyber malls, with Freemerchants.com you are required to design your new website using free servers.
All of the website models discussed in this book are built to serve either the individual consumer or the consumer and business customers. But a business-to-business site is built to serve other businesses; if the business also wants to serve its individual consumers, it usually builds a separate retail site to serve those customers. This book doesn't deal with the minutiae of B2B sites, since B2B sites, while using some of the technology discussed in this book, often also need other technology to further their goals of providing products/services to other businesses rather than individual consumers.
The growth of B2B e-commerce is explosive. For some businesses, B2B e-commerce already influences value chains, distribution channels, customer service, and pricing strategies. Others look to B2B for ways to leverage this new technology to increase sales, profits, customer loyalty, and brand preference.
Auctions have been around for thousands of years. Traditionally, a person offers an item for sale and potential buyers bid on the item. The bidder willing to pay the highest price for the item wins the bid and takes the item home — the same with online auctions. The main difference between traditional auctions and web-based auctions is that the actual bidding and selling takes place over the Internet with interested buyers submitting bids electronically. The person with the highest bid at the timed close of the auction wins the bid and arranges to receive the item. The a
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