There are many good reasons to embark upon an e-Commerce venture; however, all e-Commerce projects are doomed to failure without clear objectives, comprehensive planning, innovative design and robust construction.
Compete on a level playing field
e-Commerce provides a unique opportunity for companies of all sizes to compete for business on equal terms. Small and medium sized companies can offer online products and services to customers in a way to rival the largest of corporations. Many such companies are exploiting this opportunity and the latest figures suggest that 4.1 million small businesses will be online by 2001.
Rapidly expanding market
The e-Commerce market is expanding at a rapid rate. A survey in 1999 found that ninety percent of Internet users anticipated making at least one online purchase that year. Current predictions suggest that e-Commerce revenues will be £130 billion for 2001, rising to between £350 and £600 billion in 2002. People today like to shop at their own convenience, that means shopping from their own home at a time that suits them. “Brick and Mortar” stores will find it increasingly difficult to compete with the flexible Internet companies that can provide cheaper products and convenient shopping, 24hours a day, seven days a week. Cheap (even free) access to the Internet, together with the general public’s acceptance of technology and the ease and convenience of Internet shopping is fueling this increase.
Many businesses are finding the Internet by far the most cost-effective sales channel available. e-Commerce retailers are not bound by the same physical constraints as “real world” retailers. There is no requirement for a physical retail store or physical shop assistants, and the physical location of your company in relation to your clients is irrelevant. As a result, the ongoing running costs of an e-commerce store are significantly cheaper than for “real world” stores. In-fact, once the e-commerce site has been developed and deployed the cost of an Internet sale is minimal. At the e-commerce store each sale is handled completely by the e-commerce website. No staff is required to interact with customers in the online world, so the cost of dealing with one or one hundred customers simultaneously is the same.
Wherever your target customers are located the Internet can be used cost effectively to reach them. Whether you are a small company with only local clients, or a new company looking at selling products nationally or even internationally the Internet removes the physical barriers that constrain “Bricks and Mortar” businesses, allowing you to compete in a market place as large or small as your business requires.
Future proofing your business
The point in time will be hear shortly where an e-commerce presence is no longer a luxury, it will be an essential sales channel, without which your company will fail. Companies trying to exploit the Internet after this time will find it difficult to compete with well-established e-commerce companies with loyal customers. The time to embrace e-Commerce is now, allowing your company to establish a strong foothold in this essential marketplace before your competitors do!