business of online shopping started about 10 years back, in the 1990s and has grown very rapidly. There are a number of customers who now prefer to shop through this process and have thus become an important source of sales and information for retailers. It is estimated that over $100 billion had been spent through online shopping last year.
Business is a changing process and all successful retailers have to keep in step with changes.
There are various levels of retailers who are using online shopping. While some are very serious about this part of their business, others just want it to be a trial. Whatever it may be, one of the important aspects is ensuring that the retailer collects the money that he should get, and for this purpose, it is better to tie up with some third party payment providers like Protx,
WorldPay and PayPal. The site may be designed and managed by any provider, but the payments have to be organized through them. When the sites are bigger they involve data capture, sales tracking and projections along with a fully secure checkout and payment facility with a method of the funds being directly transferred into the retailer’s bank account. (E-Commerce)
One of the big retailers who had started service was the famous Lord John’s Footwear of New York. The site was created and being hosted by the ecommerce advisor and it was also marketed online. Lord John’s has become one of the major retailers of shoes online and is situated in the heart of Manhattan, one block east of Grand Central Station. The site is known online as www.LordJohnsFootwear.com.The advantage of the retailer is their offer of a wide range of quality footwear for men and women. The search engines have been optimized and effective strategies adopted to make sure that Lord John’s comes out as number 1 when the new MSN search takes place and three of their brands are in the top beating out other manufacturers and competitors. (Port City Web)
Another important point is that when any change takes place, it has to be invisible to customers. When any entry takes place on Internet, one of the first jobs is to propagate the name of the site through the Net. Business has to continue while all applications and data are transferred to the site for the retailer. At the same time, the sites have to remain highly visible to customers when the operations start. If the system is not proper and there any defects in loading, it may ultimately lead to a lost sale. It is not possible to ensure that all services are correct all the time, but when it happens, the retailer should receive a warning. (Gardener’s Supply)
An expert advisor on Internet e-commerce can prepare a suitable site in less than two weeks if they use a well-defined repeatable process. There are activities for server build, application migration and site launch. The consumers only get the end result. The name of the site can be made very popular among users if a polling process is carried out among the likely users as was done in the case of America’s Gardening resources. When a switchover takes place for a retailer from one site to another, the sales have to stop only for about fifteen minutes. Changes like this help the retailer take advantage of busy seasons for sale, like the holiday season in many cases. When ecommerce is fully active, it becomes much easier to plan for these busy seasons and also change orders and demands during busy seasons. Here the question of choosing a suitable server becomes very important as the server has to keep pace with the increase in sale during busy season. Here again the consultant may need to provide proper advice. The plan for growth and traffic peaks has to be made before they occur, and for help during difficulties it is important that the supplier is available at that time. In the case of America’s Gardening resources, the traffic during their peak season became more than 11 times the traffic that they have during normal seasons. (Gardener’s Supply) This is an important point that has to be decided before the consultant is chosen.
There are different types of technology that can be used and some are by Microsoft and others are on open source like Linux operating system, Tomcat application server and Apache Web server. Some of the experts are now capable of building, refreshing or reconstructing the e-commerce site of its clients with software which is totally open-source and this will avoid all software licensing costs when the site is operating. For a major retail web site, these costs can go up to as much as $300,000 for a year. This has been seen in some cases, and one retailer had a marketing site based on Microsoft’s Active Server Pages Technology and this organization is now planning to shift to an OCP platform running on IBM’s WebSphere application server on an Intel-based Linux server for its e-commerce site. (Web retailers go open-source)
Another marketing organization has decided to continue with the IBM DB2 database that it has as also its SAP AG NetWeaver application server, but is changing the mode of operation to Linux. Even when retailers buy different types of commercial software, there is a general requirement to customize them as no commercial software needs meet all requirements of an organization. Some software is built in a manner that they are designed with customization in mind. There are also software available that says “All for a fraction of the time and money that it would take to develop and launch a similar system internally.” (Sell your products online with MonsterCommerce Shopping Cart Software!) simple site would be for a shoe sales store with e-commerce having the main objective of being able to sell shoes all over the country. This should be able to show the different varieties of shoes that are available from the shop, their sizes and prices. After going through the models, then there should be demonstrations of the concerned models of shoes on suitable individuals, so that the potential customer can get an idea as to how it will look on the person that the customer is buying the shoes for. This part of the site should be in the open are, but the models and demonstration photographs should not be capable of copying by others. Then after the model is chosen, the visitor should have an option of placing an order, and for this he should be able to pay, and provide name and address for the material to be sent. This part of the matter should be transferred to the storage portion also, so that later mailings can be sent to the user with permission taken initially during his visit.
Ecommerce is a useful extension of marketing area for any retailer and must be used for that purpose.
E-Commerce. Retrieved at http://www.clever4.net/webdesign/ecommerce.aspxAccessed on 7 August, 2005
Sell your products online with MonsterCommerce Shopping Cart Software! Retrieved at http://www.monstercommerce.com/?utm_source=business&utm_medium=ppc&utm_term=ecommerceAccessed on 7 August, 2005
Web retailers go open-source. 23 February, 2004. Retrieved at http://www.computerworld.com/developmenttopics/development/story/0,10801,90366,00.html. Accessed on 7 August, 2005
Port City Web. 10 February, 2005. Retrieved at http://www.portcityweb.com/company_press.asp?press=02102005. Accessed on 7 August, 2005
Gardener’s Supply. Retrieved at http://www.frymulti.com/clients/gardeners.asp. Accessed on 7 August, 2005