People use the term "ecommerce" or "online shopping" to describe the process of searching for and selecting products in online catalogues and then "checking out" using a credit card and encrypted payment processing.
Benefits of E-Commerce
E-commerce can provide the following benefits over non-electronic commerce:
- Reduced costs by reducing labour, reduced paper work, reduced errors in keying in data, reduce post costs
- Reduced time. Shorter lead times for payment and return on investment in advertising, faster delivery of product
- Flexibility with efficiency. The ability to handle complex situations, product ranges and customer profiles without the situation becoming unmanageable.
- Improve relationships with trading partners. Improved communication between trading partners leads to enhanced long-term relationships.
- Lock in Customers. The closer you are to your customer and the more you work with them to change from normal business practices to best practice e-commerce the harder it is for a competitor to upset your customer relationship.
- New Markets. The Internet has the potential to expand your business into wider geographical locations.
Imagine a web site that would allow your customers to place an order for your goods and when they sent their order to you, your stock or inventory database was updated immediately, outwards goods were notified and the customer was sent an advice from packing staff when the goods were shipped.
Many businesses do each of these things but few join them together or "integrate" them. As businesses become familiar with the Internet, it won't take long for business people to see that their order-taking, stock control and delivery systems should be merged into one seamless function.
Generally our web developers will advise you on the various security options. Their recommendation will consider things like.
- Volume of sales
- Amount of data that needs to be captured per sale
- Number of products in your store
- How often you need to change the product prices or other details
- Whether ordering has to interface with your banking/accounting system and so on
Smaller businesses generally only required a secure form that returns results to the business owner, while a larger company with multiple products and locations will require a solution that takes the order, banks the money and sends a message to outwards goods to dispatch the goods. Who you choose as an ecommerce provider is therefore very much dependent on the size of your business and the range of your products.