Category: ECommerce Page 1 of 1013

Plug n profit ecommerce principles

The Internet has been around long enough now for some online … … to emerge as proven success drivers. By … … Napster, Ebay, Hotmail, Blue Mountain Arts and a few oth

The Internet has been around long enough now for some online marketing principles to emerge as proven success drivers. By observing Amazon.com, Napster, Ebay, Hotmail, Blue Mountain Arts and a few other highly successful online properties, we can now accurately pinpoint tested principles that any site can plug into their own processes and profit from them immensely.

Being Part of Natural Buyer Behaviour

Most people buy on their third to fifth contact. Which means you have to get their email address the first time they visit your site, and periodically send them some useful free information to get them to return to your site several times. You have to give them a valid reason for them to give you their email address – no one gives their email address without something worth it for them in exchange. You can either run a newsletter or use a system like Aweber.com’s to schedule an automated series of emails from pre-written templates. Obviously, providing good and relevant free information is very important here, you just can’t email pure advertising to people. The Net Profits manual covers this very well (see http://www.aboutwebmasters.com/free-tools.shtml).

Affiliate Programs – Every Site Should Have One

Affiliate programs are responsible for about 35% of the sales generated by the big e-commerce sites. Many sites that do not do any other form of advertising report affiliates as an even larger contributor of their total sales. Why? Because over 80% of people find new sites on the web by following links from sites they already visit. Having an affiliate program gives you the ability to convince other related sites to link to your site. And make sure you give them a sizeable commission, say 20%. The idea is to build an affiliate network that is highly automated and empower your affiliates with tools and information that will help them succeed. Then target a few sites with high traffic as preferred partners and work with them even closer because these large sites will be the main contributor of sales. For more details on this, see Declan Dunn’s Winning the Affiliate Game and The Complete, Insider’s Guide to Associate & Affiliate Programs (see http://www.aboutwebmasters.com/free-tools.shtml).

Solving The Abandoned Shopping Cart

Shoppers abandon their shopping carts 75% of the time. They never complete the purchase process. The main reason why this happens has been found to be the lack of human support to answer questions they may have at the time of purchase, either about the products or about the shopping process. One way to add live human support is by using HumanClick.com’s free app.

Leveraging Existing Traffic

You might as well leverage your existing traffic to generate more revenue. Sign up with some good affiliate programs from web businesses selling products related to your audience. Then take some good text links promoting those products and place them in strategic places on your site and newsletter, within the flow of your current traffic and that’s it! Yahoo, Excite and many of the big engines all play this game and so should you. Again, text links that work in with the content are better than banners because people generally have learnt not to see banners. Another thing you can do is get a free Vstore and have an instant customized mall for your site without the accompanying hassles of fulfilment and the rest (see http://www.aboutwebmasters.com/free-tools.shtml).

Creating Revenue Streams

Make good use of your existing customers. Once someone has bought from you, they are very likely to buy again because they now trust you. Make good use of this. Find related products and services that they would be interested in and periodically, say once or twice a month, email the current customers thanking them for their previous purchase, asking them if they are happy with it and if they require any help with it, and of course informing them of the new product you have decided to tell them about. If you do not have any other products of your own, sign up with affiliate programs featuring such products and market those. This ‘back-end’ can actually result in more revenue that you got from the initial sale – it is a constant stream of revenue, actually.

Dominating The Search Engines

Over 80% of people use search engines to find products and services on the Internet. This and links from sites they already know are by far the biggest new traffic drivers to most sites. The good thing with traffic from the search engines is that it is free. The bad news is that you have to be positioned at the top 30 or so results on any search to get any traffic from the engines because most people do not look beyond the top 30 results returned by a search. The good news is that search engines primarily rely on mathematics to figure out the rankings of the search results, which means you can make pages designed to come up tops. You can either create these pages manually (see The Unfair Advantage Book on Winning The Search Engine Wars for details) or using software such as PositionWeaver and WebPosition (see http://www.aboutwebmasters.com/free-tools.shtml).

Building Your Own Viruses

Convert your site, products and processes into viruses. Make them viral by nature. For example, Hotmail grew by leaps and bounds with hardly any advertising because it was very viral by nature. By using it to send email, that little signature at the bottom informed everyone you contacted that a service called Hotmail existed. The easier it is to spread the word about you, the more opportunities there are to do so, the more integrated this spreading is with the actual use of your product or site, and also the more benefits a user gets for spreading it are, the more viral you can get. For details on this, download a free copy of Seth Godin’s Unleashing the Ideavirus at www.ideavirus.com.

Its Your Turn Now

Of all these methods, the most critical to have on your site to succeed is an affiliate program of your own to offer other webmasters a commission for driving your sales, good positions on major search engines, and a newsletter or a way to contact customers with useful free information and product offers periodically. Have those three at the very minimal and you are assured of online success. If you absolutely cannot have either one of these three, then you must build in viral marketing to a very high level into your site, products and processes. Do you doubt this strategy? Have a look at Amazon.com, Napster, Ebay, Hotmail and Blue Mountain Arts. Each one of these is a highly successful venture (some maybe not profitable, but definitely leading their space). They all employ all or at least 3 of these 4 critical principles and because of that they have succeeded.

These principles, more than having a cool fast loading site or the lowest prices or any of that other stuffArticle Search, are the most important ingredients for online success. Plug them in and you will surely profit.

Article Tags:
Email Address, Free Information, Affiliate Programs, Search Engines

Source: Free Articles from ArticlesFactory.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Gikandi (support@positionweaver.com) is CEO at SearchPositioning.com (http://www.positionweaver.com).










Article Tags:
Email Address, Free Information, Affiliate Programs, Search Engines

Source: Free Articles from ArticlesFactory.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Gikandi (support@positionweaver.com) is CEO at SearchPositioning.com (http://www.positionweaver.com).

The six deadly ecommerce sins

If you plan on cashing in on the … … the question is no longer whether or not you should accept credit cards and checks on your web site. The question now is how to set up a success

If you plan on cashing in on the e-commerce revolution, the question is no longer whether or not you should accept credit cards and checks on your web site. The question now is how to set up a successful e-commerce solution that fits both your business model and your budget.

Here are some statistics you should be aware of:

According to Nua Internet Surveys, as of January 2000, there are approximately 248.6 million people online worldwide.

CREDIT CARD USE DOUBLES IN YEAR
Dec 3, 1999: Twice as many US adults used credit cards to buy products and services online in 1999 than did in 1998, according to new research from Cyber Dialogue.

INTERNET ECONOMY WORTH $1 TRILLION IN 2001
Nov 4, 1999: The Internet economy will be worth $1 trillion by the end of 2001 and $2.8 trillion by the end of 2003.

BUSINESS-TO-BUSINESS E-COMMERCE TO SOAR
Business-to-business e-commerce will show blistering growth in the coming years, with the worldwide market expected to expand to $7.29 trillion by 2004, more than 50 times larger than in 1999, states a market research company. (TechWeb)

When you take these facts and figures into consideration, it’s no surprise that more and more entrepreneurs and businesses are feverishly rushing to establish e-commerce web sites.

On the surface, the concept is very simple: You set up a web hosting account with a web hosting company; you create an appealing site that sells your products or services; and you get a credit card merchant account so you can accept credit cards.

But there is more to enabling an e-commerce web site. There is a lot of uncommon knowledge regarding the establishment and operation of a successful e-commerce web site, which makes the difference between your site becoming a success or thousands of dollars wasted and hundreds of hours of pain-staking trial and error.

SIX DEADLY E-COMMERCE SINS
I have outlined below the six deadly sins that can derail an otherwise simple process of enabling an e-commerce web site.

1.Merchant account does not support e-commerce or AVS
If your merchant account is not compatible with Internet processing systems, you will need to manually enter transactions and even risk losing your account due to bank regulations. AVS (Address Verification System) is required by VISA and it is a system that matches address criteria on the cardholder’s statement to reduce chargebacks. If AVS is not used, you can be charged up to 3.75% or more per transaction and leave yourself open to chargebacks. If you incur a chargeback rate higher than 3%, the bank may terminate your merchant privileges. Once you are listed as a terminated merchant, getting another credit card merchant account is virtually impossible. Be sure your processing solution uses AVS and that your merchant account is set up for Internet processing.

2.Processing solution does not support real-time processing
Processing solutions that do not work in real-time can wreak havoc on your growth and marketing efforts. Spending time entering every order manually can literally cost you more than the order is worth. Also, when Internet orders are not processed in real-time, you won’t know if a credit card is valid until you manually process it, at which point you will need to personally contact the card holder. This can turn into a time consuming and costly process, especially if the customer lives overseas.

Of all the credit card orders processed by our office, about 7% are invalid or declined the first time. Fortunately, since we utilize a real-time processing system, the customer is able to re-enter his/her credit card number or use a different card.

Additionally, AVS is not typically used or available with manual systems, thus boosting your transaction discount rate to a whopping 3.75% on every dollar!

3.ISP or hosting company does not support particular processing solution or shopping cart
Often, a web host does not support a certain shopping cart. In addition, not all shopping carts work with all credit card processing solutions. Furthermore, if you’re working with a different vendor for each service, you’re vulnerable to customer service nightmares. Few things are worse for an online business than not being able to get fast answers to common questions or problems. You can save yourself a bundle of frustration by working with a company that can provide one-stop service for your web hosting, shopping cart, and e-commerce needs.

4.Insufficient processing limit on merchant account
The majority of banks that accept Internet merchants only allow a certain volume to be processed on a monthly basis. The limit for newer businesses typically ranges from $5,000 to $17,000 per month. Furthermore, as part of the fine print in their merchant service agreement, some banks prohibit you from obtaining a second merchant account. Businesses that breach their merchant service agreement are subject to immediate termination of their merchant privileges. As your business grows, you can find yourself in quite a bind. To avoid this type of trouble, be sure that the merchant service provider you choose to work with can help you establish a relationship with a bank that can offer you higher processing limits and is flexible enough to grow with you.

5.Higher processing and transaction fees due to credit history
Some merchant service providers will penalize you with higher processing and transaction fees if you have less than perfect credit. They may want you to believe that the bank passes on these fees. The reality is that processing fees have nothing to do with your credit. It’s simply a way for them to make more money from your account. Your discount rate should be no higher than 2.5% (unless you have a high-risk product such as an adult site) and the transaction fee should be no higher than $0.50 per transaction. The only area where your personal credit plays a factor is in the rate you receive when you are leasing processing equipment.

Don’t get taken for a ride! Be sure that you work with a merchant service provider that’s honest with you and will take the time to answer all of your questions. The rates you receive today will have a long-term affect on the profitability of your business.

6.Up front cash reserves required
Often, a new or home-based business is required to pay thousands of dollars up front to get their merchant account approved. Banks require reserves from “high-risk” merchants to protect themselves against potential losses that they may incur. For example, if a merchant processes $20,000 in one month and then disappears, the bank would incur all losses due to chargebacks.

If you plan on processing a high volume, have high priced items, or high-risk products, be sure to select a merchant service provider that has enough experience to negotiate reasonable terms with the bank for you. It’s to your advantage if the bank will agree to take just a small percentage from each sale to build up the reserve as opposed to asking for cash up front.

AIS Media was founded in 1997 with the goal to be a one-source solutions provider for companies wanting to do business on the Internet. Today, AIS Media offers:

·Lightning-fast and reliable web hosting services
·Complete credit card and online check processing solutions
·Integrated shopping carts and easy Internet storefront builders

Contact one of AIS Media’s knowledgeable and friendly e-commerce Account Executives today for a FREEFree Web Content, no-obligation consultation at (800) 784-0919 or (678) 382-2247 in Atlanta.

Or visit us on the web to get fast answers to the most frequently asked questions and COMPLETE A FREE ONLINE NO-OBLIGATION APPLICATION TODAY AT
http://www.aismedia.com/home/merchant_services/index.htm?co1866xsmartbiz.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Thomas Harpointner, CEO of AIS Media
3541 Habersham at Northlake, Building E
Tucker, GA 30084
800-784-0919
www.aismedia.com










Source: Free Articles from ArticlesFactory.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Thomas Harpointner, CEO of AIS Media
3541 Habersham at Northlake, Building E
Tucker, GA 30084
800-784-0919
www.aismedia.com

Shopping for a shopping cart make sure you weigh your options

If you sell more than a handful of products on your … need to add what’s known as a shopping cart. This is a function that allows your … to pick out the items theywant and send th

If you sell more than a handful of products on your website,
you’ll need to add what’s known as a shopping cart. This is a
function that allows your customers to pick out the items they
want and send them to a “cart,” which holds onto them until
they’re ready to check out. The program then totals the order
and adds any applicable taxes and shipping charges.

So how do you add a shopping cart to your site? There are
three different options you can choose from.

1) Link out to a third-party service (hosted)

2) Buy your own software and do it yourself

3) Download a script and configure it to your needs

Let’s examine each option separately and the pros and cons
involved with each:

THIRD PARTY/HOSTED CARTS

Third party cart services are easy to set up; you can be running
in a matter of hours. They require no software to
buy or install, but usually charge a monthly fee.
Most include a secured server and a merchant account option,
if you don’t have your own. This is a relatively inexpensive
solution for small businesses.

1) VCart.com: http://www.vcart.com

Free to try for 30 days then you pay 90.00 for 3 months,
150.00 for 6 months or 1 year for 249.00. Supports
1 to 10,000 products- No CGI to configure and you can
use your existing merchant account.

2) FreeMerchant: http://www.FreeMerchant.com

Prices range from 19.99 to 40.00 per month with a
30 day free trial. Build your store using their web
based interface.

3) Yahoo Store: http://store.yahoo.com

You can’t go wrong with Yahoo’s expert reputation.
Easy to build your store on their servers using a
point and click interface. You can even upload your own images.
Cost for up to 100 items is only 100.00 a month.
You can also use your existing merchant account or
apply for one through them.

4) Marketers Choice: http://gta-tech.com

Believe it or not, this one is free. Supplied by
Marketers Choice, this cart calculates totals,
taxes, shipping charges and notifies you of new
orders automatically. Follow the wizard for easy
set up. You need your own merchant account but they
supply the secured server. So what’s the catch?
they try to get you to upgrade to their 150.00 a
year package, which is an option. If you continue
to use the free one the only trade off is they will
display business related ads on all of your cart
pages.

SCRIPTS

If you’re at all good at programming with CGI, there
are limitless scripts you can download for free or
low cost. If you’re all thumbs you could hire someone
to configure the script for you. One of the best online
programmers I know of is David Black. He’s fast, reliable
and his prices are fair. You can contact him at
mailto:DavidBlack@thewavecave.com

1) CGI EXTREMES: http://www.cgiextremes.com/Scripts/Shopping_Carts/

You’ll find a variety of CGI shopping scripts here ranging
from free up to 300.00 in price. They’ll work on a
variety of platforms. Each one is rated on a scale
of 1 to 10 for guidance in selection.

2) CGI Resource Index: http://cgi-resources.com

To find the goodies here you’ll need to drill down to
the appropriate category. Click on programs and scripts,
then Perl, then shopping carts.

3) PERLSHOP: http://www.arpanet.com/PerlShop/perlshop.html

This CGI script is for sites hosted on a Unix system.
It is free to use with their logo on the pages.

4) PAY PAL SHOPPING CART http://www.cstafford.com/ppalstore.shtml

Check out this free CGI Shopping cart script that passes
all of your credit card sales over to PayPal for easy
processing.

SOFTWARE

1) SALES CART: http://www.salescart.com/

Specifically for FrontPage users. Cost is 179.00.
Easy to set up using their step by step wizard.

2) PDG SHOPPING CART http://www.pdgsoft.com/cart.htm

Completely customizable to fit your needs. Integrates
easily with FrontPage software or Dreamweaver. You can
also use this cart to set up your own associate program.
Works on Unix, NT servers and others. It is a little
pricey at 750.00, but worth it for the features you get.

3) Your E-Ware: http://www.youreware.com/home/

Fast and easy to use, with a low price that gives this
software an edge. It will hold up to 2,500 products in
up to 20 product categories. Works on Win 95.98 and Mac.
Download the free demo and take it for a spin. Final
cost is under 100.00

There you have some of the various options to choose from
when setting up your online storefront. Before jumping
into the e-commerce watersFeature Articles, make sure you weigh your
options and choose the one that best fits your needs
and your budget.

Article Tags:
Make Sure, Shopping Cart, Merchant Account

Source: Free Articles from ArticlesFactory.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Merle http://www.EzineAdAuction.com
“Where some of the BEST Deals in Ezine Advertising are Made”
Subscribe to Ezine Ad Auction Authority and be kept
up to date on new auctions as they’re added and much
more subscribe@ezineadauction.com










Article Tags:
Make Sure, Shopping Cart, Merchant Account

Source: Free Articles from ArticlesFactory.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Merle http://www.EzineAdAuction.com
“Where some of the BEST Deals in Ezine Advertising are Made”
Subscribe to Ezine Ad Auction Authority and be kept
up to date on new auctions as they’re added and much
more subscribe@ezineadauction.com

Buyers drive the process online but the lowest price isnt all they want

Online buyers’ ability to … shop — aided by a vast array of shopping bots — has turned … … on its head. But are low prices all … want? No way! Some web-wise mercha

Online buyers’ ability to comparison shop — aided by a vast array of shopping bots — has turned traditional retailing on its head. But are low prices all customers want? No way!

Some web-wise merchants have responded to the Internet’s new retail rules retailers by including comparison shopping on their own sites, others put their heads in the sand. Leading the list of slow to get online retailers is Home Depot who, according to the Aug 16 issue of Fortune, recently issued “a Godfather-esque” directive to its suppliers selling goods online. The gist of it was stop selling online or you won’t be selling to us.

“Dear Vendor,” the May 19 letter began, “It is important for you to be aware of Home Depot’s current position on its'(sic) vendors competing with the company via e-commerce direct to consumer distribution. We think it is short-sighted for vendors to ignore the added value that our retail stores contribute to the sale of their products….We recognize that a vendor has the right to sell through whatever distribution channels it desires. However, we too have the right to be selective in the vendors we select and we trust that you can understand that a company may be hesitant to do business with its competitors.”

What Home Depot really is worried about is its customers going straight to the manufacturer and bypassing Home Depot.

Going head to head with Home Depot won’t be simple for any company. Stanley Tools, for one, has scrapped its e-commerce plans in the face of Home Depot’s threat. After all, Home Depot is one of the “category killers” who put thousands of mom and pop hardware stores out of business.”Who’s to say,” Fortune reporter Katrina Brooker muses, “that it can’t do the same to pesky suppliers with dot.com dreams?” Web shoppers, that’s who!

Several factors come into play:

oOnline shopping does not provide instant gratification. Sometimes, all a customer wants is to buy something and use it right now

oPeople are still willing to pay more for superior service, even online
oFew retailers will be able (or want) long term, to sustain prices so low they cannot make a profit
oAlthough low prices might bring customers to a site, discounts alone won’t necessarily keep them there or convince them to return
oOnline, a store that provides complete information from a variety of sources can be more valuable than a single site that provides only its own or partial information.

Online comparison shopping is available at a wide range of sites. These sites promise “you’ll never miss a sale again;” “40 – 60% off retail in 13 categories;” daily or weekly sales updates; and email bargain newsletters tailored to your shopping interests. Some claim to scan 50 million products.
Each of these services is powered by shopping bot software. Some even provide shoppers with the ability to search, compare and buy in a secure e-commerce environment. The majority accept advertising, but a few, like Price Scan claim to be unbiased and objective because they eschew advertising. Some online shoppers, no doubt, study the information on these price comparison sites before they make a buying decision. Then there is everyone else.

What makes a shopper decide that price isn’t all that matters? Extraordinary service — the very same quality that allows some stores to charge more for their items because they make shopping convenient, pleasant and reliable — still can win over price. Superior service makes fancy cars, designer duds and luxury travel appealing. It also allows L.L. Bean, Nordstrom’s, and a handful of other merchants able to charge more for their products than bargain merchandisers selling essentially the same goods. And great service is not going out of style any time soon.

In terms of costs, online retailers seem to have obvious advantages over bricks and mortar retailers. Traditional retailers need to spend $3 to $5 million to open a store. They usually can only pull from a 25 mile radius, meaning they need to make a fair margin. While online merchants can set up shop for less, and sell internationally, many have set prices so low that it is impossible for them to make a profit. Therefore, the good deals consumers now expect won’t be sustainable over the long haul. Only the ones with the deepest pockets can hold out, and one begins to wonder why they would want to.

Retailers are dealing with online sales in different ways. Barnes & Noble made the mistake of not being first in their category to get online. Like so many other traditional merchants, they finally realized they could not afford to ignore the brand reinforcement of the Internet. Now they charge more for the same books in their bricks and mortar stores where overhead prohibits Amazon-like bargain prices. It seems they are betting that the instant gratification of talking to informed sales help and being immediately able to read a selected book in soft in-store chairs is worth a higher price. They may be right.

Meanwhile, like Amazon, a handful of online merchants realize that they need to emphasize superior service. Although low prices might bring a customer to a site, discounts along won’t necessarily keep them there or get them to return. “We recognize we’re a price leader, but we don’t say to ourselves every day, ‘Let’s just slash and burn,” says online electronics retailer NECX’ director of operations Brian Marley. “I think it would be irresponsible for all of us just to compete on price, without doing the heavy lifting that goes into creating a value-added service,” Marley told The New York Times.

One very innovative online approach comes from Fruit of the Loom, which provides not only its own t-shirts and underwear but also it competitors inside its e-commerce storefront. The company got 24 of the nation’s top 30 t-shirt wholesalers in the $5 billion industry to commit to its electronic commerce platform. Fruit of the Loom provides consulting and software to t-shirt wholesales setting up online stores. The stores’ customers then search for t-shirts from any number of manufacturers. Fruit of the Loom only demands that its products are the first replacement option offered when another company is out of stock. Online, a store that provides complete information from a variety of sources can be more valuable than a single site that provides only its own or partial information.

NECX lets customers compare their prices to other stores on the same item. Customers were comparing prices anyway, they reasoned, why not help them. The result? NECX is losing customers but making money. Sales are up 20% even though the comparison engine is the site’s most common point of departure.

Still, bricks and mortar merchants have the distinct advantage of giving customers what they want when they want it — an experience that can supercede low price. Online shopping, no matter how pleasantComputer Technology Articles, cannot (yet!) provide the immediate reward of buying something and then wearing or using it an hour later.

There is a long way to go before Internet commerce shakes out. At this point I’m betting that at end of the road the lowest price won’t be the winner.

Article Tags:
Lowest Price, Home Depot, Superior Service, Charge More

Source: Free Articles from ArticlesFactory.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

B.L. Ochman http://www.thebestwebideas.com, is an award?winning marketer who has helped local, regional and multi?national corporations to increase awareness and sales of their products both online and off. Sign up for her marketing tips newsletter, What’s Next Online, at Mailto:BLOchman@thebestwebideas.com.










Article Tags:
Lowest Price, Home Depot, Superior Service, Charge More

Source: Free Articles from ArticlesFactory.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

B.L. Ochman http://www.thebestwebideas.com, is an award?winning marketer who has helped local, regional and multi?national corporations to increase awareness and sales of their products both online and off. Sign up for her marketing tips newsletter, What’s Next Online, at Mailto:BLOchman@thebestwebideas.com.

Credit card snafus tons of dog food whats going on online

Imagine this … You are ordering vitamins at … You register for the site, put in your shipping and payment … and press “Express … Up comes an order not for yo

Imagine this scenario. You are ordering vitamins at drugemporium.com. You register for the site, put in your shipping and payment information and press “Express Checkout.” Up comes an order not for your vitamins, but for the products ordered by Ester Levitts in Kentucky. Her Discover card information is given, along with her name, address and ordered items.

Think it’s unlikely? Think again. It happened to restaurant broker Ray Tekosky of New York City on Friday, Jan 28. He had the presence of mind to download the errant order page and fax it to me. I, in turn, faxed it to a reporter at The Wall St. Journal. Was it news? You bet! On Monday, Jan 31 the Journal reported that drugemporium.com had to close down the site for an afternoon while it tended to its database problems.

What happened here? Something that will happen again, maybe in a much bigger way, maybe on your site. “We’re still in the early stages of ecommerce,” says Tekosky. “There will be much bigger mistakes on a much larger scale. Who’s to say it wouldn’t happen with a banking situation? That could create the ecommerce equivalent of the Mad Cow scare.”

“Donate the excess to charity”
Tekosky is not some ecommerce-basher. He buys online all the time. He bought his Palm Pilot, his printer, many books, vitamins and other goods on the Internet. And he’s not the only one who’s having trouble with online buying.

Consider the plight of web developer Ira Wexler and his wife, Barry, who is an attorney. They thought they found a great deal for dog food at petopia.com. All they had to do was pay in advance to lock in a great price for six 40 pound bags of dry dog food for their yellow Lab puppy. One 40 pound bag would be sent every 8 weeks. They would pay for the first three bags and get the next three free.

Great idea, until the second 40 lb bag arrived one week after the first and the third 40 lb bag arrived a few days later. The Wexlers now have 120 lbs of dry dog food crammed into a closet in their small New York apartment. Duncan, their puppy, sits hopefully in front of the closet door for hours on end, dreaming of the contents. Petopia.com thoughtfully told them that they could donate their excess to charity.

An email to Petopia went unanswered. The first phone call netted no result. Finally someone emailed to say that the remaining three bags in their order have been placed on hold until April first. But that’s April Fool’s Day and the outcome remains to be seen.

Failure to plan for success
What’s going on? It would seem that drugemporium.com has a problem with its secure server and petopia.com has a problem with its shipping procedures. Actually it’s a good bet is that they both had the same problem – they skimped on the back ends of their sites in a rush to get online. My company and many others do a good trade in re-doing web sites that were skimped on the first time around.

Companies that sell online need to seek out the expertise of ecommerce integrators to design and implement an intelligent infrastructure for their sites. The days of having a brother-in-law who “knows a lot about the net” design a site have gone the way of the dinosaur. The ecommerce stakes get higher every day and budgets must follow.

Instead of planning for successFind Article, a lot of companies throw up a site and figure they will beef up the back end once the money starts rolling in. And sometimes that happens a lot faster than anyone planned.

We are likely to continue to live with a variety of snafus caused by poor planning. The way your site can avoid these problems? Plan for success. Build a system set to grow with your business. Or pay the price later. Like poor Ester in Kentucky. And Duncan in New York City.

Source: Free Articles from ArticlesFactory.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

B.L.Ochman.What’s Next Online ?
Building global traffic and sales for Internet businesses
Subscribe to our biweekly marketing techniques newsletter
http://www.whatsnextonline.com
mailto:BLOchman@whatsnextonline.com 212.385.2200










Source: Free Articles from ArticlesFactory.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

B.L.Ochman.What’s Next Online ?
Building global traffic and sales for Internet businesses
Subscribe to our biweekly marketing techniques newsletter
http://www.whatsnextonline.com
mailto:BLOchman@whatsnextonline.com 212.385.2200

Ecommerce your opportunities are unlimited

Peter Drucker believes ecommerce will be to the InformationRevolution what the railroads were to the Industrial Revolution.* To oversimplify, the Industrial Revolution was a time in whichtools were produced that replaced people in the manufacture ofgoods. In the first thirty years, all was devoted to producingknown products with machines.

Peter Drucker believes ecommerce will be to the InformationRevolution what the railroads were to the Industrial Revolution.* To oversimplify, the Industrial Revolution was a time in whichtools were produced that replaced people in the manufacture ofgoods. In the first thirty years, all was devoted to producingknown products with machines.

While there were drastic social changes with the massiveshift from rural to urban living, there was little change in theproducts produced and purchased. They only became more readilyavailable at ever more modest cost.

Only later did the Industrial Revolution produce somethingnew – the railroads. For the first time in history, people couldreadily move great distances inexpensively. (Hauling freightcame much later.) Railroads brought a thirty year boom inEurope, and an even longer one in the United States. While manyother parts of the world got started somewhat later, the boom didnot end for them until the outbreak of World War I.

What Will Arise From The Information Revolution?

The parallels between the Industrial and InformationRevolutions are astonishing. Thus far computers, the Web, andinformation technology have created nothing dramatically new. They have merely changed the ways in which information isgathered, managed and reported. And to some extent, the way inwhich consumers purchase goods.

Computers themselves have changed the way in which productsare manufactured, including their design. And a few new spinoffshave come to the fore. But there has not been anythingrevolutionary in any of this. Nothing yet has had the impact ofrailroads on the whole of the social fabric.

If Drucker is correct, ecommerce will have an impactequivalent to that of the railroads earlier. Thus far the Webhas produced less change in the way business is done than orecars running on steel rails effected mining. In short, the realdrama and excitement is yet to be revealed.

Given easy access to the Web, you and I have been invited tojoin in. For myself, I don’t want to miss a beat.

A Radical Shift Is Upon Us

There appears to be an awesome and exciting shift emerging inthe way business is done. There are those who feel that if it’sgood for business, it’s good. Period. I hold a different view:If it’s not good for people, it’s not good.

Many with a business orientation are likely to abandon mythinking here. Those convinced people are sheep born to beshorn certainly will. But whatever your view, enormous changesin the way in which business is done are rushing down upon us. Companies who do not embrace them, will be swept away intohistory.

What Will Customer Service Come To Mean?

For example, automated telephone systems and elevator musicwill fade away, as will the companies that cling to suchbarriers. People will not be content much longer, with clutchinga phone to their ear, trying to accomplish some other task, whilewaiting for the answer they need right now.

“The customer comes first” will remain the driving forcebehind all successful businesses. Today, such phrases mumbled byall are generally mere tokenism. Tomorrow they will come to havean entirely new meaning.

Contemporary companies provide such services at theirconvenience. The endless round of voice mail and recordings in which busy people respond only to leave yet another messagewill come to a screeching halt. Successful companies will provide support when a customer requests it. And they willdo so quickly.

Conglomerates May Become Extinct

People have had enough of businesses concerned about theirbottom line. They are becoming increasingly concerned abouttheir own needs. They are even now turning away from those whofail to recognize this. Business success in the future willdepend heavily upon effective customer support providedimmediately upon request.

Conglomerates may be dinosaurs, so huge, so driven by theirown inertia, they will disintegrate back into the smaller partsfrom which they were created. Such companies talk of customerrelationships, but often do all possible to avoid any semblanceof one-on-one customer support. Smaller firms can be responsive. Those who are, will outperform those who are not.

I am excited about the future for Cyberpreneurs. They willunderstand they need their customers more than the customer needsthem. Untroubled by the constraints of contemporary businesspractices, they will see responsiveness to customers as anessential fundamental of their business. This characteristic ofitself will give them a competitive edge over large businessesthat do not.

The Future Is Yours For The Taking

One by one, creative people will consider ways in whichconglomerates produce and deliver products. They will thendiscover a way in which they can do so more effectively. Themuch larger company will hardly be aware of the tiny loss inrevenue. But given many such losses, the bottom line will beginto erode.

Completely new business models will emerge. They will seemso right, so perfectly attuned to both the needs of businessesand consumers, we will wonder why they did not appear muchsooner.

There will be a return to a “Rural,” rather than an “Urban,”pattern of living, one independent of where you choose to live. In this “reversal,” there will be a return to individuals beingvalued. Once again, as was so prior to the IndustrialRevolution, people will be both producer and consumer, making a significant contribution in both roles.

The Real “New World”

I continue to hear the Web is not real. That it is nothingmore than herds of impulses stampeding about on copper or opticalcables. What is reality? I will leave this to the philosophers. But there is no question in my mind; the Web is real. A newreality, at that.

You can feel the awesome power and unlimited resourcessurging from the collective dynamic of millions and millions of people the world over. People who are real. Our interactionwith each other is real, and now unlimited by nationalboundaries. The Web itself is but a tool. Not unlike thetelephone, but magnitudes more powerful. It facilitates theability to interrelate, to communicate one-on-one. And we willdo so in ways not yet imagined.

Welcome to today’s “New World.”

(Taken from “Your Path To Success” to be released in September, 2001)__________________*”Beyond the Information Revolution” by Peter F. Drucker, “TheAtlantic Monthly,” Oct 1999Psychology Articles, p47-57.

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The eabcs of cybermerchandising

Shopping on the Internet is the wave of the future! … we knew … … in the past has been turned on its head. The … a … of its own and you better lear

Shopping on the Internet is the wave of the future! Everything we knew about
conventional marketing in the past has been turned on its head. The Internet
has a personality of its own and you better learn the ins and outs if you’re
going to succeed. The Internet is self-contained. It is its own advertising
medium. It is where you buy and sell. It is where you communicate.
Everything is electronic. And it is only a click or two away at any given
time!

Run your web site in a businesslike manner. Remember that people are still
leery about making purchases with a faceless and sometimes nameless entity.
When you walk into a store you actually see a person, know how to find that
person if something goes wrong, and usually see some type of reassuring
information that gives comfort such as a Better Business Bureau sign. Most
web sites are a study in anonymity. It’s hard to find a real person’s name
or even a business name. Mailing addresses are kept a secret. E-mail
correspondence is done by auto-responders. You look at a cold computer
screen and get a chilly reception. Imagine asking someone to give you their
credit card information, their home address and phone number, and other
pertinent data and never telling them who you are and where you can be
located if a problem arises! WOW. A bit presumptuous, don’t you think? It is
very important to make your site a comfortable and easy place to do
business.

First, you are faceless to the shopper and the shopper is faceless to you!
In fact, you usually don’t know who came and went. To overcome this, give
the visitor every opportunity to contact you by e-mail or phone. One of the
most effective ways is to go to
http://hotfiles.zdnet.com/cgi-bin exis/swlib/hotfiles/info.html?fcode=0015H
0, get a free HumanClick chat program and install one on every page on your
site where questions or problems might arise. If you are online you can
answer immediately. If not, the potential customer can send an e-mail
message for you to answer when you do go online. This gives you online
presence even when you aren’t there!

Next, consider your site as a store or office. Make sure that your products
and services are easy to find. Think of the aisles of a grocery store. If
you haven’t been frustrated in a badly laid-out grocery store you are truly
unique! After you set up your hyperlinks in an orderly fashion, you must
furnish clear explanations of what you are offering and how to make the
purchase. I ran an advertising agency for many years and lived by a simple
rule. That rule still holds true. Tell the reader the features and explain
the benefits. A potential customer wants a simple question answered…what is
it going to do for me? Then you must justify the cost. If you do a good job
defining the features and benefits, the price should be easy to justify.

Make your site interesting so that your visitors keep coming back. Invite
them to bookmark the site and assure them that new things are added
regularly. Give plenty of free information and other things for them to
download or use while on the site. The Internet is full of information sites
that you can link with and free stuff that you can get and give away on your
site.

Remember that your business is no longer just a corner store in your
peaceful neighborhood! People of all nationalities from around the World are
now visiting your store. Do your best to present your wares so that
everybody will understand. This is a monumental task, but English is
considered to be a universal language and this helps. Stay away from slang
and other expressions with limited use. You might even want to consider
translations for your site if you are concentrating on specific
nationalities.

Last, but not least, give plenty of consideration to load time. We live in
an impatient age and people will not wait for slow pages to load. One of the
best tools I’ve found is SiteInspector at
http://siteinspector.linkexchange.com/ . You can check just the last
item…load time…and it will help you minimize time. Remember that people have
to stay to buy!

In Summary

The Internet is still in its infancy. It is like a ball of play
dough…ever-changing and being reshaped by everybody everywhere. To be a
successful merchant on the Net you must present your wares well, make it
easy and safe to buy on your site, and promote, promote, promote! The
Internet population is growing daily. More customersFree Articles, but more competition
also. He who stands still will be left behind forever.

Source: Free Articles from ArticlesFactory.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bob Apperson has more than 40 years experience in advertising and marketing.
He operates a 12-story cyberstore at http://www.addsales.com and is
affiliated with most of the leading e-commerce sites on the Internet. For further information, Bob can be contacted at mailto:bob@apperson.com










Source: Free Articles from ArticlesFactory.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bob Apperson has more than 40 years experience in advertising and marketing.
He operates a 12-story cyberstore at http://www.addsales.com and is
affiliated with most of the leading e-commerce sites on the Internet. For further information, Bob can be contacted at mailto:bob@apperson.com

Enterprise portals the next big thing

Just when you finally got … with the … of the Web from a simple server of static HTML to a complex … centered in B2C and B2B … along comes the latest in E-Busi

Just when you finally got comfortable with the transformation of the Web from a simple server of static HTML to a complex application centered in B2C and B2B concepts, along comes the latest in E-Business initiatives – the Enterprise Portal. Enterprise Portals are Extranets developed by companies to satisfy secure communications with their customers, partners, and employees, and it’s an idea whose time has certainly come. Both big companies and small have discovered the multifaceted value of such systems, and it’s only a matter of time before they will be the main channel of communication between companies and their customers.

The history of the web for many companies has been interesting in the lack of planning and focus. Companies were reluctant to go on the web at first due to concerns with the permanence of the Internet. By the end of the 1990’s, however, departmental web sites were popping up throughout the corporate world, and the prevailing impression was that the more stovepipe web sites a company could build the better. Soon, corporations were faced with a confusing glut of Intra/Extra/Internet sites that tended to defy a consistent branding, offer overlapping functionality, and require users to amass a large number of login accounts. The goal of an Enterprise Portal is to collapse these disparate corporate web sites into a single entry point into the company, offering users a consistent brand, a single login, and reliable access to the wealth of a company’s offerings.

So, what are some of the features found in these Enterprise Portals? Customers might use an Enterprise Portal for accessing product information, sign up for training and view course offerings, leverage service features such as on-line call center interactions or software distribution features, register for a company sponsored conference, or simply access the company’s online commerce offerings. Partners might use the site to strengthen channel ties, download content to extend the relationship, or collaborate online with the company on new programs. Employees would use the site as they would the company Intranet, with the benefit of using traditional Intranet features outside the firewall (like checking email). Across all these users, Enterprise Portals offer established “Portal” features such as industry news, event calendars, and user preferences to promote return visits and longer sessions.

Enterprise Portals often leverage the best of personalization and one-to-one marketing, allowing for the targeting of content and message to unique individuals. Thus, a customer might have access to product manuals or white papers that a partner would not be able to see. At the same time, the portals often rely on sophisticated CRM and campaign management systems in the implicit and explicit personalization and communications of the site, allowing the company to interact with its customers and partners in better and more lucrative ways. Finally, Enterprise Portals offer amazing analytical data to companies about their customers and partners via direct feedback utilities, or the tracking of usage and navigation of the site (and the implications of what their users are interested in).

In order to offer up such versatile functionality, Enterprise Portals are increasingly built on sophisticated development technologies. Often they’ll have at their heart a complex application server/personalization engine such Broadvision One-To-One, ATG Dynamo, or BEA Weblogic. Additionally, Enterprise Portals many times need to integrate with backend legacy systems, requiring a robust and scalable EAI (Enterprise Application Integration) architecture. Open systems languages such as Java and XML make this easier by reducing proprietary interfaces and inconsistent standards.

Obviously, building a system that could be compared to a mini-ERP implementation is never easy, and the business process and data issues involved in constructing an Enterprise Portal are as complex as any of the application development issues. With that said, companies recognize the operational efficiencies, cost savings, and potential revenue offerings of such sitesFree Reprint Articles, and it’s only a matter of time before Enterprise Portals are as ubiquitous as the company 1-800 phone number.

Article Tags:
Enterprise Portals, Enterprise Portal

Source: Free Articles from ArticlesFactory.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Paul Brassil is the Manager of E-Business Development at EMC Corporation in Massachusetts and is responsible for EMC Powerlink, the company’s Enterprise Portal. He can be reached at brassil_paul@emc.com.










Article Tags:
Enterprise Portals, Enterprise Portal

Source: Free Articles from ArticlesFactory.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Paul Brassil is the Manager of E-Business Development at EMC Corporation in Massachusetts and is responsible for EMC Powerlink, the company’s Enterprise Portal. He can be reached at brassil_paul@emc.com.

The human touch

Sure, the e-tools … for an online merchant are great.We have up to the minute product … on our web pages, … that can follow up … We have our … mall, imm

Sure, the e-tools available for an online merchant are great.
We have up to the minute product selection on our web pages, and
autoresponders that can follow up requests. We have our own
online mall, immediate payment methods to prevent that “cooling
off” period, secure sites for financial transactions, and all
sorts of e-tools at our disposal. But what is wrong? You’re not
being overwhelmed with sales, and barely making expenses.

Stop for a moment. Why are potential customers leaving your
e-store without placing an order. Assuming you have a decent
product and prices, why are they not buying.

Possibly they have questions that are not being answered, and
would like to talk with a live human being. The brick and mortar
store has the edge over the e-store, when faced with a customer
that needs personal contact to feel comfortable.

If someone has reached this point, usually all they need is a
little assurance before placing their order. And here is the
funny part – they may not even want to talk with someone, but may
just want to be sure there is someone they can contact if there
is a problem.

If you don’t list proper contact information at your virtual
business, you may be losing customers. Your name and e-mail
address will go a long way. Even better, give them a physical
address and a telephone number they can call. You may wish to
have an “800” number, but you will get a lot of “tire kickers”.
Even if you don’t give a free number, just the fact that there is
a number listed goes a long way in allaying their fears.

Let your potential customers know that if they have questions,
they can email you their phone number, and you will call them.
Many times, they won’t as all they really wanted was to know is
that they are dealing with a real person.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words – consider putting
your picture on your web site. This gives instant identification
to your name and goes a long way in building customer confidence.

E-commerce is here to stayFeature Articles, but the mortality rate of “wannabes”
will be high. Those that remember the “Human Touch” will be
among the survivors.

Article Tags:
Human Touch

Source: Free Articles from ArticlesFactory.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bob publishes the free weekly “Your Business” Newsletter
Visit his Web Site at http://adv-marketing.com/business to
subscribe and place a Free Ad for your business.










Article Tags:
Human Touch

Source: Free Articles from ArticlesFactory.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bob publishes the free weekly “Your Business” Newsletter
Visit his Web Site at http://adv-marketing.com/business to
subscribe and place a Free Ad for your business.

Smart ways to use a website with your business

Every business needs a web site. We used to say that to … and get strange looks in return. “Why do I need a … the manager of a pizza … once asked.Of course, we now see a

Every business needs a web site. We used to say that to business
owners and get strange looks in return. “Why do I need a web
site?” the manager of a pizza restaurant once asked.

Of course, we now see a very large number of customers looking up
their neighborhood pizza maker with search engines. They will
try Yahoo or HotBot before turning to the more traditional Yellow
Pages. The restaurant owner no longer wonders why he should be
online.

As more and more businesses get their own web sites, we’re seeing
a number of very smart ways to integrate an online presence with
your existing business. Here are the top five ways.

1. Your web site gives customers a way to quickly search through
your big selection. If you have an auto parts store, you may
have many square feet of products to choose from. You may have
hundreds more items that can be ordered and delivered quickly.

In the past, it might have been difficult for customers to easily
find what they were looking for, or even be aware that you could
get it for them.

Your web site makes it easy to type in the name of a product,
then see those products with descriptions and your prices. There
are a number of fine online catalog software applications. If
your selection isn’t Walmart-sized, I suggest using a simple
search engine to help people find what they want among your
pages. Try the free search service at atomz.com.

2. Use your web site to make it easy to find updates in your
rapidly changing inventory. We often buy computers and musical
equipment from PCMall.com and MusiciansFriend.com. Both
companies provide some of the lowest prices in their industries.
They do so by buying up discontinued items.

For companies like these, a web site is essential. By the time
their print catalog is published, many of the items are either
dwindling or long gone. Their web sites can immediately tell
customers if the product is still available, even listing how
many units are still in the warehouse.

3. Use your web site to augment your print catalog. We just
gave one example, but here are more. Mailers, sales letters, and
catalogs are expensive to print and even more costly to mail.
Expand on the limited space you can devote to an item in print by
including many more details on your web site.

You may even be able to reduce how often you mail print
materials. Replace some of your mailings with email reminders, an
email newsletter, and references to your always updated web site.

4. Use a web site when you can’t get distribution. For years,
Kevin couldn’t get his own business going because of distribution
problems. No matter what he tried, the cost of getting his
products and services to customers was too expensive for a new,
start-up business.

The Web represents a huge revolution in distribution. All kinds
of services and information can be delivered to customers
anywhere in the world via the Internet. The cost is almost free.

Look for products and services you can distribute from your web
site. You many have existing products (like advice to customers)
that are better delivered from your web site. There are probably
a host of new things you can sell once your web site is set up.

5. Use a web site when your business is too small to market
any other way. Almost everyone has gotten an idea for a
business, but never followed through with it because the cost of
start-up was too high.

With a web site, you don’t necessarily need a storefront,
employees, or anything more than a home phone (and a computer, of
course!).

With that comes one last reason why you need to think wisely and
use a web site in your business. If you don’tComputer Technology Articles, your competitors
will. The Web excels at giving every business person an equal
chance to earn a profit — don’t throw yours away.

Article Tags:
Smart Ways

Source: Free Articles from ArticlesFactory.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ron Sathoff and Kevin Nunley provide marketing advice, business
writing, and promotion packages. See their massive 5-in-1
marketing deal now 75% off. Read all their business tips at
http://InternetWriters.com Reach Ron and Kevin at
service@InternetWriters.com or 801-328-9006.










Article Tags:
Smart Ways

Source: Free Articles from ArticlesFactory.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ron Sathoff and Kevin Nunley provide marketing advice, business
writing, and promotion packages. See their massive 5-in-1
marketing deal now 75% off. Read all their business tips at
http://InternetWriters.com Reach Ron and Kevin at
service@InternetWriters.com or 801-328-9006.

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