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.