E-Commerce: The Online Store

The Internet is growing in all facets of our economy and e-commerce is no exception. According to e-commerce Optimization, an online shopping cart reference guide, online retail revenues will surpass the quarter-trillion-dollar mark by 2011.With an e-commerce online shopping cart, any size company can develop an online presence. It is inexpensive to set up an online store and can be created very quickly.

An e-commerce online store should not be confused with a website. Business websites do not usually have the same features of e-commerce shopping carts. Web stores include the shopping cart, ability to process credit cards and have an online product catalog. Furthermore, an automated inventory system, databases, e-mail management and technologies that track product warehousing and shipping transportation can also be associated in an e-commerce system.

Including those mentioned earlier, many benefits are derived from having an e-commerce shopping cart. Credit cards can be used for immediate payment. With a web store, customers can be driven to your website to see your product offering and easily navigate through online coupons and promotions. Therefore your company can increase brand awareness to new and existing customers.

It also allows you to free up your staff to help customers at the point of service as opposed to being tied up on the phone. Better order accuracy is insured resulting in better customer satisfaction, efficiency and less waste. Specifically, restaurant orders online are 20 percent larger than phone orders and create an increase in repeat business of 11-45 percent according to various online company order surveys. When online shoppers see products that interest them and the companies that market those products, the potential customers will save the e-commerce sites as a favorite for future reference and shopping opportunity.

An additional benefit, the Internet constantly has millions of users cruising online. By having a web store, you can tap into this flow of online users as they explore various product offerings and instantly allow them to purchase your items that peak their interests. More importantly, this can create more exposure for your physical store (also called a brick-and-mortar). Products purchased online can be picked up at the store’s physical location. While there, shoppers can browse the store for more product offerings and therefore develop potential sales. Sales reports generated from online ordering can give you more detailed knowledge of customer orders, and order history to prepare inventory accordingly. In addition, you can send coupons and promotions to customers via the e-mail they give you during the ordering process to target your customer base like never before.

A business owner does not have to be computer savvy nor does the entrepreneur need deep pockets to have an online shopping cart. An e-commerce page created correctly at the beginning of the design process makes the task of maintenance much easier. Merchants have to update the Web store from time to time as products and prices change among other things. A properly designed shopping cart can incorporate these changes quickly and efficiently. With today’s technology and economies of scale, an E-commerce web store can run for as low as $1 per day. As the Internet grows, it is easy to see that e-commerce is becoming a necessary revenue generator for any business.

Kenneth Bianchi is the marketing director at Comsoft Business Solutions, Inc., which provides innovative Internet solutions. These products include an e-commerce package that can be customized to any business specifications. He can be reached at [email protected].