For any business looking to grow, E-Commerce represents one of today's single greatest opportunities to target new customers and increase sales. Selling your products or services online is like having a shop that's open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, all year round. And the best part of that always-open shop is that there's no rent or utilities to pay for, no additional fixtures to buy, you don't even need to staff it (unless things get really busy!)
Clearly this is good news because until recently, the only means a business had of selling to customers in regional, national or even international markets was to set up an expensive mail order operation or open additional locations.
E-Commerce is an ideal solution since it allows you to reach all potential customers for your product or service while also automating much of the sales process.
Another trend in online business is a new phenomenon called pretailing, which Garter says, "consists of the multi-channel shopping activities consumers do before they even visit a retailer's Web site or local store. Pretailing will increase in importance as consumers get access to more retail information and services on the Internet." (Source: Gartner Group, 28 February 2007)
And if you don't think that eCommerce is important enough to the global economy, according to the PriceWaterhouseCoopers' Global Entertainment and Media Outlook 2006-2010, online advertising spend predictions will reach $26 billion by the year 2010.
Whether you stock only one product or thousands, Alpha Web Solutions has e-Commerce solutions that can help you sell more and simplify your back office operations. Imagine how much time you'd save with automatic credit card processing and shipping calculations, automatically generated invoices, a dynamic catalogue that knows what you have in stock and can tell you when it's time to reorder, plus in-depth sales tracking and reporting.
Here are just a few of the benefits of a Alpha Web Solutions e-Commerce solution:
Do you want more customers for your business? Using the internet marketing services by Alpha Web Solutions today will help you gain more sales and customers for tomorrow. Contact us for a free marketing evaluation of your business website.
The means to accept credit cards and online checks, check the credit card number to be sure the customer can charge their purchase, and transfer the funds to your business banking account. To make this work you will also need a website with the proper programming - a shopping cart service and a secure website and server.
Many businesses arrange merchant accounts through their personal or business banks, especially if they have a physical storefront. However, many banks are not yet comfortable with Internet based commerce and don't want to provide Internet merchant accounts. Your own bank may refer you to another company that sets up merchant accounts for mail order and other types of business that the more conservative banking industry does not serve. Like finding insurance, finding a merchant's account that will accept you as the customer may take some shopping around. Merchants account software is available where you get your merchants account. Read about potential concerns regarding merchant accounts here.
Keeping your customer privacy through eCommerce
Setting up your e commerce system to be both accessible and protected is tricky business, but it's getting easier. Finding the right mix of hardware and software products to adequately protect an e-commerce project is a task that can challenge the abilities of almost any small business owner. Most of the software is available from the company that your get your account from. It's part of the package deal. Be sure to check out this aspect of the programs when you are comparing them.
Types of Security: SSL and SET
What is SSL?
SSL, or Secure Socket Layer, is a security technology that encrypts a Credit Card member's information and purchase details, helping to ensure that information will not be accessible to anyone but the Credit Card company and you, the merchant, during an electronic transaction.
What is SET?
SET, the Secure Electronic Transaction Protocol, is the latest development of the financial industry's efforts to develop a standard, universal way of conducting electronic commerce that will offer consumers and merchants an unprecedented level of security and assurance. SET will provide the same high levels of security as U.S. users of SSL enjoy today, with the added benefit of digital signature certificates to help authenticate the identity of all parties involved in a transaction. This new level of security is intended to eliminate the possibility of "spoofing" -- where unscrupulous individuals set up fake "electronic storefronts" -- and will dramatically reduce the potential for the use of stolen credit card numbers on the Internet. As the SET protocol is implemented in the coming months, it will mark the beginning of a new, safer era of electronic commerce
In the meantime, small business owners must remain vigilant to the ever-changing nature of e-commerce security. "When it comes to security, many small business owners make the mistake of believing 'once implemented, always implemented,'" says Poore. "But that's only true if you have a static environment. In a dynamic situation, such as with electronic commerce, assessing and improving security safeguards is a never-ending process.