Selling Your Products & Services Online
E-commerce Fundamentals Part 1: Selling Your Products & Services Online
You have a website and some products or services to sell, and you're ready to sell online? Great! And now you're thinking "how do I do that?" Welcome to the world of e-commerce. In this article, I will introduce you to the fundamentals of ecommerce and how it can work for you.
So What Is E-Commerce?
First of all, what is e-commerce? Well, e-commerce or electronic commerce, a subset of e-business, is the purchasing, selling, and exchanging of goods and services over computer networks (such as the Internet) through which transactions or terms of sale are performed electronically. In other words, you're selling online!
Four primary types of ecommerce
- B2B (Business-to-Business) - Companies doing business with each other.
- B2C (Business-to-Consumer) - Businesses selling to the general public typically through catalogs utilizing shopping cart software.
- C2B (Consumer-to-Business) - A consumer posting his project with a set budget online for companies to bid on.
- C2C (Consumer-to-Consumer) - Consumers buying or selling amongst each other via classifieds, auctions, and forum Websites.
To get started, you are going to need a Shopping Cart package for your Website or if you prefer, a free service such as PayPal or Google Checkout. Let's review both types.
A shopping cart is a software application that typically runs on the computer where your Web site is located (the Web server), and allows your customers to do things such as searching for a product in your store catalog, adding a selected product to a basket, and placing an order for it. This software may be a product you can buy online or you can have a web development company write a custom Shopping Cart for you if your needs are very specific.
Shopping carts will take your customers order and send the order to you. Some shopping carts will interface directly with your financial institution and collect funds on your behalf.
For small business or individuals, these free services may be a good low or no cost option. All that's is required by them is that you create a validated account, configure your products (prices, names etc) and place snippets of code on your Website which generate "Buy Online" buttons for example. They will take the order and payment, send you the order details and assign the funds to your account. In some cases they may take a commission on the transaction however.
In the next part we'll look at building customer trust and the best practices of ecommerce.
Need More E-Commerce Info?
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