12 Myths of E-Commerce

Written by Chipo Mapungwana.

Part One

While many entrepreneurs  have made  money through e-commerce  and on-line shopping is becoming a convenient way of transacting  for shoppers particularly  in developed countries,  many more entrepreneurs  and businesses have plunged, unprepared  into e-commerce and faced  financial ruin and disappointment. As the e-commerce revolution moves around the world and changes the way that people do business, less technologically savvy entrepreneurs  are in danger of making mistakes that business people in other more advanced economies have had to learn to avoid the hard way.

Do not fall into  any of the following  e-commerce myths.

Myth One: Setting up a business on the web is easy and inexpensive.

While practically anyone with a computer  and internet access can set up a website, most of them offered freely by  web  hosting services, creating an on-line transactional e-commerce business  required months of  back office work and investment in hardware and software.

Myth Two: Launching a website automatically means that  customers will flock onto your site.

Setting up a website  is not enough. Promotion is key in getting  potential customers to check out  your site.There are millions  of websites  on the web and just like  in a traditional store, you need to market your site.  The key to marketing your website is networking and building relationships with customers, other sites, trade organisations, on-line directories, and social media sites  so that people can find you.

Myth Three: Making money on the web is easy.

There are many “entrepreneurs” who are selling get rich quick  schemes  on the web. Making money on the web is not easy except if you are selling  “make a $100 000 a month”, schemes to  desperate people. Respect should be given to and lessons learned from  those companies that have invested  time and resources to making e-commerce work for them and their customers, honestly.

Myth Four: Privacy is not an important issue on the web.

The web allows companies to gain access to unbelievable  amounts of  information about customers. Companies use this information to gain insight into product preferences  and how they can  market  their services . Customers are increasingly becoming  concerned about  their on-line security and this is a constant topic for governments and internet service  providers. On line companies  should therefore  protect  their customers  from on-line fraud, identity theft and abuse of information by other third parties. It is important to set up firewalls to safeguard your business against hacking and theft of customers information.

Myth Five: The most important part  of any e-commerce site is technology.

While the technology for setting up  the business is critical, the most important part is creating a business model  that offers  customers  value at a reasonable price  while producing  an acceptable return  for the business. Entrepreneurs that are  successful  in e-commerce know their companies inside out and have been able to  build their on-line business  around this information. While you can hire people to build your site, nothing will substitute  for your  intimate  knowledge  of your industry, your internal systems, your competitors, your customers, your suppliers  and how to make all of these things work for you.

Myth Six: I don’t need  a strategy to sell on-line.

Building an on-line business is the same as building  a brick and mortar  company. You need a strategy.  You need to build a  clear  definition of the company’s target markets, a thorough understanding of your customers’ needs, likes and dislikes. Your website must be  appealing to the customers  that you want to attract. An e-commerce  website should be created with your customers in mind.

Catch Part Two of this article tomorrow.


About chipomaps

A brand reputation, marketing and new media trainer and consultant. Constantly curious, constantly learning.
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