The Advantages and Disadvantages of Ecommerce

I remember my mom used to always test the water before she would put my little kid sister into the bath tub. Later my dad would say “Son, look at both sides of the coin before you start anything”. So here we are; mind made up and all ready to take the plunge but just before we do, some primeval instinct makes us pause and check both sides of the coin. The internet will provide you with a fairly extensive list of relevant, irrelevant and some downright fictional list of advantages and disadvantages of electronic commerce. What I’ve done is to lay out the real issues that would irritate or delight you on a day-to-day basis. So here goes:

The disadvantages of ecommerce

These usually consist of silly mistakes on the part of either the store owner or the customer:

1. Returned items – a major disadvantage of ecommerce
Very often customers misunderstand a description or are simply in too much of a rush to bother reading the detailed product description. Thus, an electrical item such as a cell phone charger that requires 220V of electricity and meant for use when on tour in Asia, is bought for local use in USA and subsequently returned often accompanied with a nasty “this is not working” letter blaming the seller for selling sub-standard products.

2. Back charging of credit card transactions – an irritating ecommerce disadvantage
Linked to above point, the customer will reject the charges. When that happens, the credit card company will not only reverse the credit but also levy a charge on your account. It wasn’t your fault but you’ve got to shoulder it.

3. Data entry errors – silly mistakes that are potentially expensive
Glenn, the store clerk entered the price of a box of finest pears as $0.96 instead of $10.96. Over the next two days the store owner was swamped with hundreds of orders for Pears. The missing digit nearly wiped out the profits for that month. Friends swear they saw Allan the store owner laughing and crying at the same time. Meanwhile Glenn, thanks to Allan’s generous heart, is now in the packing section.

4. The search engine fog – this a big disadvantage of ecommerce
If you set up a brick and mortar store at a prominent location, you get noticed instantly and will have customers from the moment you are open for business. This is not an advantage with ecommerce. In the virtual world, the only location that matters is the location in the search engine’s search results. If you’re not on the first page of the search results then you are relegated to the back alleys of cyberspace.

5. Can be equally expensive – hidden costs are a major drawback of ecommerce
True, you don’t have to spend on utilities or staff or for that matter, even on an office. But setting up a good online store requires a lot of hard work by professional people. First, they need to build you a good online store and then, it needs to be marketed by. The people who do it need to have special skills and deep knowledge, both of which are expensive. Successful ecommerce internet marketing of your online store results in a good search engine rank. The downside of ecommerce is that, the moment you stop spending on e-marketing, the search engine rank begins to slip. In a brick and mortar store you have to pay premium rentals for a premium location. The equivalent of premium rentals for an online store is e-marketing.

6. Rogue web hosting – a major irritation in ecommerce
My dad used to say “It’s so difficult to find good help these days”. I say, it’s very difficult to find good web hosting these days. Dropping rates have resulted in ecommerce web hosting services companies often running themselves on little more than hot air or recruiting staff who are clearly not competent. Any resulting down-time can prove potentially expensive. It is relatively easy to find good professional help to build and market your online store or office but finding good web hosting is a different matter altogether.

The Advantages of ecommerce

1. Location neutral – A fantastic advantage of ecommerce
How often have you heard the words “Location, location, location”? The first advantage of ecommerce is that it is location neutral. Every website is at a prime location and your customer only has to travel the distance of a single mouse click to reach you.

2. No need for supervisors and cashiers – ecommerce has a big cost advantage
An online store or online office does not need a separate set of supervisors or cashiers. At the most it needs one person monitoring the sales. Everything happens in a neat and orderly fashion. In fact, you can open as many online stores as you like for less than 5% of what it takes to set up a brick and mortar store or office.

3. Open 24 x 7, 365 days of the year – ecommerce does not take a break
You may be asleep but in other parts of the World, customers are awake and busy shopping. Ecommerce search engine optimization lets you take full advantage of this.

4. Go international from day one. Electronic commerce internationalizes your trade in an instant!
You’ve heard the term “global village” being bounced around by all and sundry. But did you know of its connection with your trade? By setting up an online store or online office, you reach out to customers irrespective of their location on the globe. For all practical purposes, you and your customers live in a village – a global village on an international scale. The advantage of ecommerce web site solutions truly boggles the mind.

5. Look Ma, no paper, no storage but I got money in the bank – Advantage of magic in ecommerce
Your online store emails you the orders; you collect them and email your suppliers the packing slips. Your suppliers ship out the orders. You don’t have to stock anything and can be as paperless as you like. Even your cash is collected directly by your bank which emails you a monthly statement.

In final analysis, if you’re careful, the disadvantages of ecommerce will not exist.
On the advantage side of ecommerce, its power is such that all you need is a little imagination and you could run an empire out of a laptop computer. Retailbizmd provides retail consulting services to help corporations in driving profitable traffic and optimizing conversion rates.

Make Your Ecommerce Business Wildly Successful

The ecommerce industry is poised for significant growth in the near future. But, you can only expect to see results if you approach it the right way. The very first step is to develop an ecommerce website with all the relevant features that you would require for your business, for customer interactions and marketing campaigns.

If you are ready to launch your ecommerce business and see it grow into a successful online venture, here are a few tips for you to consider:

Don’t rush the launch

This is one of the biggest pitfalls. Forcing or rushing a launch could be your worst mistake. It’s OK to register a domain name, and put up a ‘coming soon’ page, but the real launch should be planned more carefully. Make sure that you launch only when you have some substantial groundwork done such as search engine optimization, content marketing plan, social media and paid advertisements etc.

Place your focus on the user

Right from the development phases of the website, make sure that the focus in on the user experience. Add every feature that will make it convenient for shoppers to buy from you. Keep the pricing, shipping policy and the return policies transparent. Also, ensure that the check out process is simplified.

Test absolutely everything

Prior to the actual launch, make sure that you test absolutely everything. Invest time and money in testing. It will definitely be worth it in the long term. For a moment think like a customer and figure out what they want and what’s not working.

Work closely with social

Social media is the heartbeat of an ecommerce business. It is extremely important that you include social media features on your ecommerce website so that customers can easily share their recent purchases with their friend and family. Maintain separate social media pages and ensure that you keep it ‘live’ with interactions.

Go mobile

If you aren’t thinking of a mobile strategy for your business, you may soon see the negative impact it has on your customers and your brand as a whole. When all your potential customers are mobile, make sure that you are not missing out on your probable sales by not having a mobile compatible website or a mobile app for your business.

Stay on top of SEO

As more and more ecommerce businesses are launched the competition gets fiercer. It is important to have a clear search engine optimization strategy in place so that you stay at the forefront always. It is important for long term success.

Continue evolving

Finally, it is important to note that you cannot simply launch your website and then step away. You will need to stay on top of things and understand the latest trends and implement them to your advantage.

Ecommerce businesses require a lot of planning and work before they are launched. Make sure that you take into consideration all the above factors and do not rush the launch of your ecommerce site.

Contracts For Ecommerce Software – The Offer And Acceptance Procedure – Establishing The Offer

When making a sale online through ecommerce solutions a contract is formed between the seller and the buyer. The main issues involved when making a contract are how, when and where the contract is formed and how it is initiated. We can address these issues by examining the contract structure procedure that is based on the rule of offer and acceptance.

When setting up an online business it is necessary to abide by the ecommerce regulations. By setting out these guidelines both parties can establish the offer and acceptance procedure that can benefit them both. In this article we will look at the establishment of the offer and acceptance procedure.

In this establishment procedure the ecommerce regulations can be used to the seller’s advantage. It is possible to sell online, using ecommerce software, and take payment by credit card without finishing the contract online. The theory is to take into account that the customer is making an offer on the site and that the contract will be created only if the customer’s order is agreed to. This means that taking payment from the customer’s credit card does not signify acceptance. This is a common trait on ecommerce sites such as ecommerce and the recent Facebook store applications.

Online merchant accounts such as PayPal and Sagepay provide a refund facility to a customer’s credit card. Consequently, the terms of your ecommerce software should explain this so that your ecommerce solutions can abide by these regulations and take advantage of this system. The credit card may be charged before the contract has been created but if the customer’s order is refused a refund will be made by the merchant account company.

Offering a facility to take credits cards online via a merchant account is the best way in which ecommerce solutions can manage their payments online. The many merchant choices available do take a percentage of the processed transactions or charge a monthly fee. If the ecommerce software has an inbuilt service in which to contain the merchant account then your ecommerce store, eBay store and Facbook store will have the best potential for making sales.

Supplying more payment alternatives for your customers will produce more opportunities for the customer to convert. Customers are more familiar with one particular payment method and the ecommerce solutions ought to cater for this, this could be using PayPal, Google checkout and other certified merchant providers. The inclusion of other established secure payment features such as ‘Versign’ and PCI compliant groups on the order page will add to the trustworthiness of the ecommerce store, eBay store and Facebook store.

Creating the offer and acceptance procedure is of essential importance so make sure that your terms and conditions are in accordance with ecommerce regulations. As the seller you are able to establish these regulations to benefit the online business in taking orders and making sales. The establishment of the procedure is for the capacity of the online business to deal with credit cards without entering into a contract instantly with the customer. All ecommerce solution are based on taking orders and converting to sales, so by making it easier for your business and customers the more successful your ecommerce solutions will become.