To start off with Internet is a huge and diverse resource comprising of 450m connected people and over 40 billion registered domain names. If any of the statistics are to be believed having e-commerce capabilities will be the difference between winning and losing market share. According to the IDC e-commerce will be worth £563 billion by 2003 with online buyers spending $2 million every minute – in 3 to 5 years time, companies are expecting to see 20% or more of their sales achieved over the Internet. Other benefits include fast and low cost market entry, easier access to global markets, minimised overheads and improved customer relationships. For the consumer there is often more choice at a cheaper price and purchases can be made at any time of the day.
If you are looking to put your business on the internet you should first define the purpose, set objectives, decide what products you have which are best suited to internet sales if any at all and the return on investment expected. One of the most important e-commerce considerations should be your product/service – does it fit the profile of items sold online? You should then establish whether or not your target audience does or is willing to shop online. Lastly but not least have a look at your competitors, are on they on-line and if not why not. Have you managed to find an untapped market or is this just the case of no news being bad news? Careful attention should also be paid to choosing the name of your Internet domain. Good names reflect your corporate identity, are simple and easy to remember and say something about what your company offers.
If you decide to proceed with this, there are number of ways of setting up your own e-Commerce site ranging from very basic online product catalogues through to a full Storefront solutions with shopping cart/basket and checkout facilities. Starting My Business can provide a full package starting with a domain name registration and hosting to all the way to providing your site with full e-Commerce capabilities. See the pull down ‘Getting Started’ menu on the right.