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Are You Prepared To Participate In Ecommerce?

From 1922 to 1952, radio took 30 years to achieve 50 million listeners. To achieve the same result on television, it took 13 years. Cable television first became available in 1974, and it took ten years to attain this goal. It took about five years for the Internet to reach an estimated 100 million users (Source: Harris Interactive) to transform how businesses market and deliver customer care. (ecommerce business)

This rise is particularly amazing in light of the Internet’s ability to force businesses to innovate. What strategies do companies use to design a prosperous road in cyberspace? The trick is to concentrate on the consumer, who, as it turns out, may have little in common with previous customers.

Who Makes Online Purchases? (ecommerce business)

Customers who shop online are typically youthful and well-educated. According to a poll done by the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1998, the average age of Internet users is 35, and 81 percent of them have some college training. Eighty-eight percent of Internet users connect on a daily basis, and 63 percent can do so from home. According to the report, 76 percent of Internet users had made an online purchase of products or services.

Customers that shop online may be from out of state or even from another country. E-commerce has the potential to dramatically extend a company’s consumer base and product offers. Customers that live and work in remote geographic places can be served by a virtual organisation, allowing localised sales outlets to assume a worldwide presence. A word of caution… According to US companies, a substantial percentage of international transactions are fraudulent.

Moreover.. (ecommerce business)

Customers who shop online may have little knowledge of the companies with whom they do business. Customers that visit a website rather than a showroom are often unfamiliar with the host company. They are more concerned with the product than with the marketing. Customers who conduct product research on the Internet are becoming more knowledgeable about products and services.

Customers that shop online are on the go. Travel and tourism are two of the fastest-growing e-commerce sectors. On arrangements booked through their website, companies that provide online access to airlines and other travel services get commissions. According to Foster Research, tourism will account for 25% of retail e-commerce by the year 2000.

Customers are flocking to the internet in droves. In the recent history of retail sales, online sales have been the most dynamic phenomenon. E-commerce, which is less than a decade old, will grow to a $20 billion industry in the year 2000, up from $518 million in 1996. It has been growing at a fantastic rate of 15-25 percent per month. By the end of 1999, it is expected that 39% of all US shops will be selling online.

Make Strategic Use of the Internet

As traditional marketplaces transition online, many enterprises with substantial market shares are losing ground. Some of these companies have yet to fully explore the Internet’s possibilities, while others have raced into e-commerce without a clear plan. Because of the quick speed of computer technology innovation and the corresponding rapid changes in online markets, e-commerce businesses must place a greater emphasis on planning for the future – even the far future – than traditional shops. Profitability could take years. For example, Amazon.com is expected to surpass $1 billion in yearly sales by 2001, but the company has yet to turn a profit.

A strategic strategy usually outlines the market that a company will serve as well as the methods through which it will deliver that service. It also assesses a company’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as resource availability. A good strategic planning process will give a company direction while also allowing personnel to respond swiftly to changes in client wants or competitive conditions.

Because of the worldwide character of the online industry, every Internet company must be a world-class competitor. And having a visually appealing website isn’t enough. Order processing, inventory control, and delivery must all be efficient in order to be competitive. These functions are frequently significantly more expensive than website design and maintenance. Many commercial Internet sites, according to Computer Weekly, are only shells with no back office infrastructure to fill orders and serve consumers.

Concentrate on four basic requirements of online customers.

The method by which a company will create relationships with new clients is an important aspect of a strategic plan. Consider four key needs of virtual customers when starting the customer care part of an e-commerce strategy plan: information, security, support, and privacy.

Information is required by e-customers. E-commerce is propelled by information access. Customers can use the Internet to find the information they need to compare products or services, study manufacturers, and choose a supplier. The challenge is to make this information as accessible as possible. The online equivalent of a nice showroom and professional sales personnel is the site design and functioning.

Take the website Amazon.com, for example. It has a lot of consumer information and they organised it in a way that makes it easy to find details of books, music, and other things. Customer comments, ratings, and connections to additional products chosen by those who purchased a certain book or CD assist customers in making decisions. Customers can download 30-second WAV (audio) files to listen to music samples. The newer MP3 audio format will eventually make downloading such samples considerably faster.

Source: ecommerce business , ecommerce store