E-commerce has some drawbacks too. Online stores often lose out on the ability to interact with their customers in person. Brick-and-mortar businesses can build their
customer bases by creating personal relationships with buyers. The only way for online shops to do this is through impersonal means of support such as email or live
E-commerce ventures also face cutthroat competition. For every online business, at least another 10 businesses on the web sell the same thing. Hundreds of thousands of
e-commerce sites operate worldwide, meaning online businesses must work even harder than brick-and-mortar businesses to stand out from the crowd.
Finally, https://www.businessnewsdaily.commust deal with technical issues that brick-and-mortar locations never face. E-commerce businesses are run completely online,
so if something goes wrong with the website, credit card processor or any other aspect of the operation, the business has to shut down to be fixed. While some of these
problems may be out of the business owner’s hands, they have the same result: lost money and lost customers.
While opening an e-commerce business can be relatively easy, you need a number of things to get started. Here is a rundown of everything an entrepreneur must have to
open an e-commerce business.
Product to sell: Most importantly, small business owners need something they can sell. The good news is that with the internet, this can be basically anything. Big or
small, expensive or cheap, any item can be sold online. Also, since the business is run online, e-commerce owners have the option of selling digital goods that can be
downloaded to a customer’s computer or mobile device.
Domain name: Before a small business can start building an e-commerce website, it needs a domain name. This is the online address at which shoppers can find the
business’s website. Most online business domain names end in either “.com” or “.net.” The domain name should match the business’s name as closely as possible.
Web hosting service: You’ll need a web hosting service to publish the website online for shoppers to see. These services store the data files that make up websites,
and then upload those files to the web for viewing by those who visit the site through its official domain name.
Website: The website serves as a business’s online home. The site, which can be created with the help of either web hosting services or e-commerce software, must
feature the products the business wants to sell and offer a way to sell those items directly to consumers. The website’s design should encourage shoppers to stay and
Mobile: Just as important as your website, a presence on mobile devices is more crucial than ever, with more people buying directly from their smartphones. Your
website needs to be optimized for mobile, meaning it dynamically changes size and layout for easy browsing on smaller screens. You can also build a special app that
customers can download. [Read related story: Building a Website: A Small Business Guide]
Shopping cart software: To sell items from an e-commerce website to customers, you need shopping cart software. These programs give shoppers the chance to search the
business’s inventory to see what’s available, select items they want to purchase and eventually buy them. In addition to assisting with transactions, many shopping
cart software options include features for controlling inventory, setting up shipping and calculating taxes.
Merchant services provider: Since online businesses can’t accept cash payments via the website, they need a merchant services provider to handle their credit and debit
card needs. This service acts as a link between the business, customer and credit card company. It processes the payments and takes the money from a credit card
account and places it into the business’s account, also known as a merchant account. Most merchant service providers offer this type of bank account, which acts as a
holding location for the debit and credit card payments an e-commerce business collects. Once the funds have been approved, the merchant services provider transfers
the money, minus a commission, to the business owner’s bank account. Without a merchant services provider, a small business has no way of collecting money from
Marketing: All successful e-commerce businesses have a strategy for attracting customers to their sites. Without a carefully thought-out plan, turning a profit becomes
much more difficult. Various marketing options online businesses have at their disposal include https://www.businessnewsdaily.com (SEO), pay-per-click advertising, and
email and social media campaigns. Your website should have links to the business’s social media pages and offer ways to subscribe to electronic newsletters and deals
as strategies to keep customers coming back.