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.

Choosing An Ecommerce Consultancy

Over the past decade, as the internet has grown exponentially, companies have increasingly used it to sell their goods and services online and there are many large companies, such as Amazon and eBay, who successfully conduct all their business on the Web. Of course, selling online has a number of advantages compared with more traditional methods. The Internet is a global marketplace, so an online shop has the potential to reach a worldwide audience.

Your business can be open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, accepting and processing orders throughout the night without your intervention. And the lack of supervision allows you to cut costs, which can translate into savings for your customers, giving your business a competitive edge. Finally, because you can store the goods in a large warehouse away from the city centre, you will be able to keep your stock up to date and in greater quantities, so that any orders can be shipped without delay. Your ecommerce wing will only be successful if it is managed effectively, however.

If your operation is a large one and has its own IT and marketing teams you should be able to set up an online commercial wing without difficulty. Building your own ecommerce operation allows you to maintain close links with your existing ordering and inventory systems and permits a greater level of customization both in terms of the features and look of the store and the back-end interface. However ecommerce is quite a specialised field requiring a level of expertise and can take a considerable amount of time to implement properly. The level of ongoing maintenance that is required can also be a drain on your internal resources. An alternative might be to have your ecommerce software hosted by an external company, although this might result in your site having a generic look and there being restrictions about how much you can change it.

A better way of launching an ecommerce service is to hire a consultant to give you advice and assistance regarding the implementation and day to day running of the site so it can be easily maintained without any special skills being required. But which consultant to choose? Well, perhaps the best way of selecting a consultant to suit your needs is to run through a checklist of the various services they offer and establish what is included in the standard consultancy fee.

At the very least, an ecommerce consultancy should offer the following:

  • Advice about the software necessary to build the site you want and whether you will be able to manage and update it on your own once the software is implemented. It is no good if, having contracted a consultant to do a specific job, you feel the need to contact them every time something goes wrong. A consultant’;s job should also involve giving your employees the proper training so that they will be able to handle problems as and when they arise.
  • An overview of the various features your site should have in order to put the customer at ease and encourage them to buy as many of your products as possible. Have a look at the way Amazon works, giving you recommendations based on products you have bought or previously looked at, offering quick and advanced search capabilities and suggesting that if you buy goods over a certain value you will be eligible for free shipping. Other features you should ask about include the provision or a help desk, the management of items that can be pre-ordered and saved for later and a gift wrapping service.
  • Consumer concern about internet security is considerable and the ecommerce consultancy should have a way of making users feel comfortable about submitting personal details and sending funds online. Equally it should have a failsafe method of saving payment details in a secure facility to ensure the minimum amount of user input is required for returning customers.
  • The option should be available to change multiple product prices simultaneously and enable integration with third party databases so that product details and prices can be automatically updated.
  • Check that the sales activity is provided online and in full. Features such as overall sales, sales per category and sales per product over defined periods can help give direction to your marketing campaign. In addition, the ecommerce consultant should be able to optimise your product pages for search engines, so that your site is just a click away from a prospective customer.
  • It is also worth looking at the following issues to determine whether the ecommerce consultancy has the necessary amount of experience:

  • Does it understand what your requirements are, what your company offers and what your customer’s needs are? The consultancy will only help you build the site you want if they understand exactly what it is you do want.
  • Look into the length of time they have been in business and their track and solvency record. Ask them to provide some sample sites to look at and request a copy their client list is, so you can conduct your own research.
  • Assess whether their level of customer support is sufficient. For example, do they have a twenty four hour help desk that provides assistance by email and over the telephone. Find out about the tariff for this service and the average resolution time.
  • Choosing The Best And The Most Powerful Ecommerce Platform For Your Online Business

    If your goal is to open an online store, then it is essential that your business has an online website as this is one of the most popular ways out there of conducting an online business. Before starting off, getting ecommerce consulting would be helpful, most especially for newbies in this industry. Ecommerce websites are very similar to a brick and mortar shop. You can display various services and products you are hoping to sell in a particular place where people can easily visit and purchase them from you. The main difference which exits between a brick and mortar store and online store is that one is a building made up of bricks, while the other is a virtual store.

    If you own an online business, you can make it more successful and generate maximum profit by using the proper SEO methods and even get an open source ecommerce solution to save more money. Today, the existing boundaries between ecommerce and traditional businesses seem to be blurring as a result of more businesses moving towards generating revenue through online websites. The main profit making venture for an online business is the ability to draw in more customers. This can only be done by ensuring your website receives high ranking in popular search engines. Ecommerce is a term used by online business owners when conducting commercial and business transaction on the Internet. Your website can conduct any type of business that is accessible to people all over the world.

    With the online industry booming, ecommerce has increased in popularity. But, not many entrepreneurs and business owners have expert knowledge on how ecommerce services are increasingly useful to their businesses. This is where ecommerce services provided by experts come into play. Finding ecommerce services Canada will play a major role in getting your online business off to a great start. The responsibility of maintaining a storefront which is time and energy consuming will be taken over by your chosen provider of ecommerce services Canada.

    Since your business is represented by an online store, its design and development must be handled with great care. A professional service provider that provides ecommerce store design must be considered seriously at this juncture. There are many ecommerce services Canada to choose from which will help you achieve the desired results. Website designers are experts who work as part of a company or as freelancers. The advantage of acquiring ecommerce services is that professional web designers fully comprehend the task at hand. They know what is required of them and will work with current trends in order to ensure that your online business achieves great results in terms of attracting traffic and bringing in revenue.

    Experts of ecommerce services will offer their clients a variety of open source ecommerce solution which may include open source shopping cart. Clients can make use of the Magento shopping cart software to customize your website to your liking. Aside from this plus point, many ecommerce services Canada will offer hosting services, create a one stop store to display as many services and products as possible, offer advice and tips on content management, provide high quality SEO services to draw in potential customers, make your online store a user friendly one and design it with utmost flexibility and creativity.