More than 47 million American households have Internet access, according to Forrester Research. Of those households, 44 percent have done some online browsing, and 65 percent have made a purchase from an online business. If you own a small business, and you do not have a website yet, you are missing valuable e-commerce opportunities. Developing a small e-commerce business helps take your company to the next level and provides you with sources of revenue that would be impossible without a website.
What is E-Commerce?
E-commerce (electronic commerce), involves any business that is conducted online. Products and services are bought and sold over the internet instead of at a store. E-commerce involves business-to-consumer, business-to-business, consumer-to-consumer, and consumer-to-business sales. E-commerce is used to build profit and to reach a broad range of customers.
Why is E-Commerce Thriving?
As people become more comfortable with using credit or debit cards to make purchases, they are more likely to buy products online. Being able to order products from the comfort of home is convenient for people who are already pressed for time in their busy lives. It saves them from having to go out to a store to find the same exact thing. In an online store environment, consumers can comparison-shop and see the prices before making a buying decision. The product can also be delivered directly to their door within a day if necessary.
Why Is It Becoming Easier to Build an E-Commerce Website?
Creating an e-commerce website used to be too expensive for some small businesses. They had to deal with the costs of development, integration, hosting, and secure payment processing. However, new technology makes creating an e-commerce website simple and cost-effective. Services are offered that help small businesses perform all those tasks. Business sites can be up and running in little time with not much work involved for the business owner.
Why Do Small Businesses Need to Be Involved in E-Commerce?
It is necessary to be part of the online marketplace to thrive. Large businesses already use e-commerce and are reaping the benefits. Federal businesses also use websites. Small businesses need to jump on the bandwagon before they are left behind. Developing a website helps small businesses gain internet customers and allows them to do business easily with other companies that use e-commerce. E-commerce development can lead to the growth of products and revenue.
What Services Help Small Businesses with E-Commerce?
Sites are popping up all over the internet designed to help small businesses build their online stores. Yahoo! Small Business, Shopify, Big Commerce, and Go Merchant all offer services to help small businesses get started in e-commerce. Some offer templates that help businesses create the online store. Hosting sites set it up so small businesses can accept online payments securely. The host site could also help with shipping orders and bringing in more customers through marketing tools like coupons. Some host sites measure the success of your online store with trackers that can report and analyze sales data.
Small e-commerce business is just as important as the business done in stores. Because so many people shop online, a small business could build its profile by operating online to increase revenue. E-commerce development is easier than it used to be because hosting sites allow small businesses to build virtual stores and do all their online business in one area. Small businesses that create a website for their products and services will be better off because they can better compete with big box stores.
Developing the E-Commerce Aspect of Your Small Business