The internet has become an essential part of our everyday lives. Very few people can live without the internet and most people are afraid to even imagine what it will be like without it. It allows people to do many things from looking up information, communicating with friends to buying and selling products and services. The volume of ecommerce sales has been growing at double digit rate over the last decade and will likely to continue to do so in the foreseeable future as more and more people get online, online transaction technology becomes more advanced and more businesses embrace this new way of doing business.
The main appeal of doing business online is its low cost and unlimited potential reach. Online shops do not have expensive rents, utilities and staff costs to worry about and can serve thousands or even millions of shoppers simultaneously. They can be accessed by potential customers from anywhere in the world. Once a business has decided to go online, there is more than one way to generate online sales.
The first step to setting up an online business is to build your own official website, where customers can find information about your company, your terms and conditions and buy your products. It is important that you set up an online shopping cart and payment gateway so customers can actually pay for their purchase and complete a transaction. Many websites created in the early days of the internet do not have online transaction functionalities. This significantly diminishes the value and purpose of having your own website.
Once you have your own website, where customers can buy from you directly, you can further extend your reach by setting up online shops on ecommerce platforms such as amazon and ebay just to name a couple. The advantage of these ecommerce platforms is that they have a large pool of potential customers. It is similar to opening up a store in a busy mall, where the mall attracts a lot of shoppers and you will generate more sales. The cost of using such ecommerce platforms is that you will need to pay a commission on every sale. The commission rate is usually between 10 – 20%. Although it could vary depending on the type of product you sell and your sales volume.
It is highly recommended that in addition to setting up your own website, you also join as many ecommerce platforms as possible to maximize your reach and scale up your sales.