Electronic Commerce seems to be everywhere these days. It's nearly impossible to open a newspaper or magazine without coming across an article about how Electronic Commerce is going to change all our lives. Businesses of all sizes are bombarded with adverts that seem to imply that any company not investing in E-commerce will be left behind.

The problem for many small businesses is that while they appreciate the potential of doing business on the Net, it is difficult to determine the best way to start off. In this feature I'll highlight resources on the web that will be of use to companies, of all sizes, that are about to take their first steps in Electronic Commerce.

Essentially, doing business on the Web can be broken down into five main requirements.

On-Line Store
The obvious requirement is an on-line store, or commerce-enabled Web site where goods or services can be described and selected.

Payment Processing
While it is possible to run an on-line store without accepting on-line payments, this is cumbersome and rarely successful. Accepting on-line payments is therefore essential - and at the moment this means credit cards. You need a merchant account to accept credit card payments.

Shipping/Order Fulfillment
OK, so you've made your sale and now you've got to deliver the goods. Just package them up and ship them off. Easy - except what happens if you get dozens or hundreds of orders a day?

Customer Service
Support, Complaints, Returns - the biggest complaint about E-Commerce is the poor level of customer service in the event of problems.

The big one! Even if you do everything else right, without successful promotion your on-line business will fail

There is no right or wrong way to start up an E-business, but any business plan, even if drawn up on the back of an envelope, should address these five topics. With this in mind, here is a selection of free and low-cost sites to get you started on the right track with each of these topics.

Where to Start
There are so many Web-store and payment processing sites around that it's difficult to know where to begin looking for the software and services you need to put your business on-line.

We also create back-end web applications and can integrate your current database into your store.

We can help all the way !
Cyberteks Design can help you to launch an succesful e-commerce website. Please call 519-649-6572 or e-mail at kpeiris@cyberteks.net at any time for help.



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