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.

The Advantages of an eCommerce Design for Your Website

An ecommerce design for a website is a bit more expensive than a
standard static website, but for an ecommerce business – an
internet-based business that conducts financial transactions
online – an ecommerce design for the website is fundamental.

When considering your website development needs, you may wonder
if there are easy ways around getting an ecommerce design for
your website since an ecommerce design is more expensive than
getting a site without ecommerce design features, especially if
funds are tight starting out.

There are a few alternatives to an ecommerce design that could
get you by until you can afford the development expense for an
ecommerce design, but if you take your ecommerce business
seriously, you really do need an ecommerce design because of its
many advantages over other websites.

As an alternative to an ecommerce design, you could use your
website as a lead generation tool without actually conducting
financial transactions online. If you use your website for lead
generation rather than getting an ecommerce design for your
website, you will have many manual tasks to accomplish that will
be time consuming.

You can use a contact form, email, a fax line, or a phone number
to accept orders offering payment options such as sending in a
check or money order or providing a credit card number by phone,
if you have a merchant account.

This is not a very good option for you or your customers;
however, for more than one reason. Your customers may not take
your ecommerce business seriously if you do not have an ecommerce
design website that accepts payments online. Online shoppers are
also generally impulse buyers.

If the process of purchasing something from your company is too
cumbersome, many will just surf the net and find another
alternative, so your sales potential will be diminished. You will
also have to manually process orders and payments and matching
the order to the payment can be a complicated task at times, so
your order fulfillment process might be inefficient.

That results in poor customer service, angry customers and
negativity against the reputation of your business. Really, it is
a vicious circle.

A more beneficial alternative to an ecommerce design is the use
of PayPal’s automated payment features. PayPal enables you to
place “Pay Now” buttons on your website which will enable your
customers to make online payments to your PayPal account.

This is certainly a better alternative than having no online
payment option on your website; however, a website with an
ecommerce design will likely be much more appealing to your
website visitors.

The benefits of an ecommerce design are that it enables your
customers to place orders quickly and easily, especially if you
have a shopping cart feature in your ecommerce design. Multiple
products or services can be purchased at one time, the order
(including tax and shipping) can be automatically totaled, and
the customer can make an online payment for the complete order.

Some ecommerce design features may even send the customer an
order confirmation and if you have shipping tracking built into
your ecommerce design, you can update your database when an order
ships and a tracking confirmation will be automatically sent to
your customers via email so they can keep tabs on the status of
their order.

The main advantages of an ecommerce design is that it automated
the sales process, improves customer confidence, increases sales,
and saves you loads of time in the order processing and follow-up
processes.

An ecommerce design might be a bit more costly than other designs
in the website development phase, but over the long run, your
ecommerce design will pay for itself ten-fold at least in
increased revenues and saved time.

Ecommerce Business – A Blessing For Firms Looking to Reach New Customers and Grow Sales

Ecommerce businesses are getting the true value of their investments by selling products through websites and minimizing the costs of administrative overheads and infrastructure. Businesses can focus on their core competency and outsource other operations to ecommerce providers.

The year 2009, in spite of the shaky economy, saw more than $50 billion spent on ecommerce websites. And this astonishing figure is still growing at a rapid pace. The success of ecommerce as a business model can be attributed to its no fuss selling interface. Increasing number of businesses are launching ecommerce websites as these internet outlets are an ideal point of sale requiring no administrative staff, real estate or sales personnel. Web hosting services take away the it overhead by offering services for data storage and management. Ecommerce providers handle transactions and payments. This is a dream come true for businesses that want to sell on the internet.

Ecommerce websites work perfectly in volatile markets

most businesses have suffered the consequences of the economic crisis and are running low on funds and resources. It is to the business’ advantage to save on infrastructure and administrative costs. The internet has made the market global and competition is fierce. Businesses are compelled to tighten profit margins to stay in the market.

Ecommerce websites offer the perfect solution for businesses to maximize sales and reduce costs. The internet hosted marketplace is changeable and businesses can alter the offers, product combinations, and advertising strategies on the website in minimum time. Hosted ecommerce solutions help internet businesses take advantage of evolving technology and changing internet usage practices.

Hosted ecommerce solutions offer holistic ecommerce services

the design of the ecommerce website is critical as it is the portal through which customers can access business products and services. Ecommerce solution providers work with businesses to create an effective website design. Apart from providing advertising services and designing the structure of the web outlet, ecommerce hosting providers:

* take over it and administrative operations
* deal with warehousing and inventory management
* work on marketing strategies
* optimize the ecommerce website design

ecommerce hosting services allow businesses to focus their time, effort and money on the improvement of their goods and services.

Maturing of ecommerce business

ecommerce businesses have shown remarkable strength in the global economic slowdown. Ecommerce websites have supported businesses by ensuring a revenue stream at a time when funds are low and costs are high. Web outlets help save further by taking away it and administrative overheads.

Customers turn to ecommerce websites looking for competitive rates. Ecommerce outlets fall cheap as they offer more compelling bargains than their retail counterparts do. Customers also save the cost of driving to retail stores.

The upward swing in ecommerce shopping during the 2009 slowdown is an indication of the success of ecommerce solutions and their arrival in the market. At a time when many businesses are bearing the brunt of the economic crunch, ecommerce businesses are growing at around 15%, a figure that promises to keep going up. Ecommerce businesses are here to stay.