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Getting Started in ECommerce - Part One
In 2004, Enquiro.com conducted a study of the search behaviors of men vs. women. They found that women spend more time in their searches and at specific sites. The study also revealed that women tend to be more deliberate in reading search results, linger longer at sites and have a greater satisfaction in the overall shopping experience. Another study conducted by iProspect.com revealed that women are more apt to click the paid search advertising because they find it more relevant to their searches than do men (WebProNews - July 14, 2004).
What does this mean? It means that if we understand the searching and shopping patterns of our target audience we are better able to create marketing strategies to effectively drive traffic to our sites. Don't yet have a website?
Electronic commerce or ecommerce is used to describe doing business over the Internet. Selling products and services to customers over the Internet can be accomplished a number of ways and various levels of sophistication.
The first thing you need is a professional Web site with its own domain name. You need to design and promote a Web site. You'll need access to expertise that can regularly design and maintain this Web site for you. A good website which gets visitors to return is constantly evolving and therefore, require ongoing attention. There are thousands of resources available for you to take advantage of, many of which are free. You can surf the Internet for what you need or you can simply visit www.WECAI.org to see the many resources we have listed. We have resources for guests and if you are a member we have even more resources to help you get started. In fact, you can search our domain registry and purchase your own unique domain name at www.wecaidomains.com.
Developing a business over the Internet requires many of the same major activities as starting any other business. You need a business plan, something to sell such as a product or service; you need customers and you may even need financial backing to get started. In addition, you need to market products to your customers, exceptional customer service practices and many other resources just as you do with traditional bricks and mortar enterprises. They may include inventory, fulfillment, shipping banking relationships and more.
Your store will need a "merchant" account, or the ability to process your customers' credit card transactions over the Internet. This includes needing a "secure server," (security certificate such as Versign or Geotrust) so that thieves cannot gain access to your customers credit information. Your merchant processing can be as simple as accepting payments through PayPal or as complex as a custom designed shopping cart system you pay for.
Getting a Merchant Account - If you have a good relationship with your bank and they don't require a security deposit this may be your best option for setting up a merchant account. Alternatives to getting a merchant account through your bank are to go through a broker, a fulfillment house, or using third-party billing.
For more information on establishing an ecommerce presence check out the e-book entitled: Show Her the Money - The Woman's ECommerce Handbook for Online Transactions (www.showherthemoney.com). If you are, or become a member of WECAI - www.wecai.org, this resource is yours with your membership.
Excerpted from The PMS Principles - Powerful Marketing Strategies to Grow Your Business © 2005 - Heidi Richards
Heidi Richards is the author of The PMS Principles, Powerful Marketing Strategies to Grow Your Business and 7 other books. She is the owner of Eden Florist & Gift Baskets and the Founder & CEO of the Women's ECommerce Association, International http://www.WECAI.org (pronounced wee-kī) - an Internet organization that "Helps Women Do Business on the WEB." BASIC Membership is Free. She can be reached at http://www.HeidiRichards.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. You have permission to publish this article electronically or in print, free of charge, as long as the bylines are included. A courtesy copy of your publication would be appreciated.
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