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General Ecommerce Queries

How do we define ecommerce?

Ecommerce is a concept that took birth some five to six years back. Ecommerce is actually an acronym for electronic commerce, where the medium of business is the internet. Almost all the aspects of business are carried out through the medium of internet. All sorts of businesses and transactions come under ecommerce. Retail, auction, exchange of services and goods between corporations, order and deployment of goods and services through online payment are also included in ecommerce. It is expected that the sun will never set on this field of ecommerce. The prospects are high in the field and hence it is not unnatural that the bigwigs of trade, commerce and software are taking no time in shifting some portions of their operations to the internet.

What is the difference between B2B and B2C E-Commerce?
B2B ecommerce refers to Business-to-Business ecommerce. The term is quite self evident. This is a medium wherein business houses either buy or sell services from other business houses, through the internet obviously. This is the preferred mode nowadays as it proves to be user friendly, fast and comparatively cheap.

On the contrary B2C ecommerce is the short form of Business-to-consumer ecommerce wherein commerce is carried out between a business concern and a consumer over the internet.

What are the essentials of starting an ecommerce site and how do I maintain it?
The first prerogative of starting an ecommerce site is a product or a service to sell. Then comes the second prerogative, that is, an ecommerce web site. An ecommerce solution can be made by hiring expert professionals who make for you a site tailor made to suit your requirements, specifications, and wants. A safe mode of accepting and making payment is also an essential. Credit card payments are the most common form of ecommerce payment.

The services or the products that you are selling online needs to be displayed from where the customers can surf and choose. This purpose is fulfilled by what is called an e- store. The processing of online payment has to be safe and secure otherwise you might land up in a soup. You also need to give priority to the aspect of shipping or delivering the ordered goods, in case you are selling goods. Shipping has to be safe and quick if you are to survive the cut throat competition in this field. Promotion of your ecommerce site is a necessity and an essential that you can’t do without. There are methods wherein you can assure that your site features among the best ecommerce web sites and thereby achieve returns for it. Optimizing your site is mandatory in order to promote it. SEO companies are there to fulfill this purpose for you. Another very important aspect that you can't risk avoiding in case you want your site to succeed is the satisfaction of your customers. Customer support has to be provided, prompt reply to queries and complaints of your customers would generate consumer satisfaction and hence popularity for your site.

Can I maintain an ecommerce website on my own?
This depends on the scale and degree of the business you are conducting. A small time business catering to a modest consumer base is not difficult to be conducted by the owner of the site all by himself. However, things become different when the business is large and the customer base is huge. Under these circumstances hiring professional help won't hurt, in fact it becomes a necessity. Believe it the money that you will be spend on taking professional assistance will be worth it. Inspite of this one important thing that you need to keep in mind is that your site has to be user friendly and ‘clean’.  It should both be easy to maintain and surf.

What are pre-requisites of bringing customers to my site?
This is one of the hardest parts of conducting ecommerce. It won't come in the dream of your customers that you have set up an ecommerce site! The bottom line of giving your ecommerce web site the required impetus is to advertise it. Vigorous advertising through the methods like SEO, banners, and mail shots online or offline have to be adopted to bring your site to the notice of your targeted customers. You can adopt other methods like adding your site into communities and inserting interesting and related contents to it so that people take interest in visiting your site. Wait. Your job is not over yet. This was only the marketing bit. You are not done until you convert your visitors into buyers. Unfortunately, there are no guide lines and hard and fast rule to determine customer turn outs to your site. Much of the sales that you make will depend on your marketing strategy and marketing success.

How do I accept credit card payments?
Your site will be enabled to accept credit card payments by the aid of Merchant Accounts that are provided by professionals when you are provided the shopping cart software. While buying goods or services online, the customer provides the credit card details using which payment is received from the bank account online and is added to the Merchants Account that is the owner's account.

How do I ensure safety of the payments by credit card?
When you hire shopping cart software you need to make sure that you are provided with a reliable, secure and most importantly easy method of collecting credit card information from your customers. You then have the option of processing these details manually, or using an online credit card authorization system to process the payments. This is obviously preferable, but there is an additional cost. Finally, you normally will require a Merchant Account with a bank or other financial institutions in which your payments can be deposited. Note that not all Merchant Accounts are suitable for Internet payments. It is possible to find payment processors who do not require a Merchant Account; however these companies inevitably have higher charges.

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