Ecommerce, simply stated, is selling goods and/or services and providing information over the Internet. Today, the customer attitude is changing and people want to shop from the comfort of their homes and/or offices and resent physically visiting shops.

E-commerce over the Internet is growing at an incredibly rapid pace and on-line sales have already crossed several billions. Many business organizations are using this new-found channel in a most profitable manner to thrive and grow.  E-commerce has witnessed some tremendous successes – particularly in technology, business-to-business and niche markets.

E-commerce has helped business organizations as well as end users to overcome the barriers of time and distance to sell, buy and carry out other business transactions across the globe. All you need to do to get into e-commerce is:

  • Create a website to promote your products/services. The website has to look thoroughly professional, user-friendly and inspiring confidence in the minds of the prospective buyers. You can purchase an out-of-the-box shopping cart program that builds the whole site for you, including an online catalogue with appropriate payment facilities.
  • You will have to find an URL (uniform resource locator) or domain on the Internet. The URL should be something that identifies your company and possibly your line of business.
  • Once you have built the site you have to upload it to a web-hosting company that will display it on the Internet, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  Of course if your site has been built by a web design company, then they will upload it for you.
  • Once you start selling online, you would obviously want to be paid as quickly, safely and assuredly as possible. Ecommerce can have many different payment options. You can accept payment off-line — by check, bank transfer or credit card. You can take payment online using a payment service provider. You can accept payment online, but use your own online merchant account, which you have obtained from your local bank or from a Merchant Account Provider.
  • More than all things else, you must vigorously promote your site. With a host of new ecommerce sites appearing every day on the Internet, there is a stampede out there. You must think of many tested as well as innovative methods to promote your site.

Here are some constructive steps you should take to promote your e-commerce site.

  • Organize a press release
  • Feature in business directories – both in online and off-line versions
  • Submit to the search engines and aim at getting high ranking
  • Try to use the pay-per-click search engines
  • Signing up other sites as affiliates
  • Use search engine ads
  • Persuade other sites to link to yours
  • Offer introductory deals and promotions
  • Provide useful information on your site

E-commerce has a great deal of advantages over “brick and mortar” stores and mail order catalogs. Consumers can easily search through a large database of products and services. E-commerce development is crucial for keeping your business competitive in the global market.

Your site is for you the selling medium and hence you must design the site after exercising careful thought, doing competitor research and devoting time for detailed analysis. E-commerce is a wholly different sales concept and you will have to learn new skills and develop right attitudes to be successful in today’s online shopping scenario.