What Is Ecommerce and How Does It Affect You?

What is ecommerce? Ecommerce which stands for electronic commerce, is a form of conducting business over the Internet by using online transactions to buy and sell either products or services. The creation and development of electronic commerce is directly a result of the evolution and spread of the Internet. Over the years e-commerce has seen explosive growth and an even brighter future.

Initially, the lack of central authority to define rules and sanctions left some fearing that the Internet is unsafe for the development of commercial activities. Using the Internet for commercial purposes has long been rejected on these grounds. The goal of the major players involved with the development of the Internet in the 80s and 90s was to have free and open sharing of information. Widespread access to the Internet has completely changed all of that.

Over the years, the Internet has turned into a major platform for businesses to reach customers from all over the world and build upon their brand. As online security slowly began to improve, more and more people feel comfortable shopping online. Now the trend is so widespread that it’s hard to imagine anyone with access to the Internet not visiting and buying from an ecommerce website.

For a business, what is ecommerce?

In the beginning, only major businesses with huge budgets were able to develop ecommerce websites, because hiring a web designer costs a lot of money. Currently all of the major offline retailers have a presence online. Fortunately in recent years more and more small businesses are starting online stores as well, because the barrier to entry decreased dramatically due to the development of all-in-one ecommerce solutions. Now retail businesses both big and small are able to expose their products to millions of people on the Internet, which if marketed properly could dramatically increase profits for the business.

For a consumer, what is ecommerce?

In this new age of the Internet, nothing beats the convenience that e-commerce has brought people all over the world. Not only are they able to find just about anything their hearts desire online, they can also compare online retailers to find the best deal on the same product. Consumers are no longer limited to what’s available outside their doorstep, they have access to things halfway across the world. There is also no need to make a trip to a store, ecommerce allows consumers to buy anything they want 24 hours a day no matter where they are.

eCommerce and Its Advantages

eCommerce is the purchase of goods and services online. Increasingly, people have been buying things online because of its speed and convenience. Nothing can beat Internet speed in the purchase of these goods over large distances, except perhaps bad weather. There are many other advantages of eCommerce both for the consumer and the online vendor.

Consumer Advantage

Online shopping saves time, money and the trouble of long lines. People never thought online shopping would thrive ever since CompuServe created the first Electronic Mall during the 1980’s. However, now it has almost become a way of life.

Buying online offers a greater selection. It gives you the power of choosing your most preferred goods in the comfort of your own home. It gives the consumer less hassle and less waste of resources. For instance, many people needed travel agents to tell them which airline offered the best flights for the most affordable prices. It’s like you had to pay double then, both for the ticket price and the travel agent. Nowadays though, with the airline’s websites, one can just browse through the best travel bargains and the click of a button does it all. There are also websites now that tell you the best bargains and help you compare rates from different airlines. Such are Travelocity and Expedia.

Another advantage of the Internet is for the consumer is that it is open all day everyday. No longer do consumers have to wait for stores to open, or hurry to catch a closing shop. One can shop for shoes anytime, even when they are at home or at work. Finally, the Internet offers a wide variety of selection that no supermall can offer. This is because it provides the consumers access to online shops from areas outside their own. This definitely provides diversity and variety of choices, again all in the comfort of your own home.

Vendor Advantages

The online businessmen too find a lot of advantages in eCommerce.

First, it saves them a lot of cost on hiring employees. What perhaps 50 salesmen can pitch, can be done by one well designed and informative website. It saves up on what was supposed to be the salary of the employees. Moreover, the Internet is not only the salesperson; it’s the delivery guy as well. With digital downloads, profit can be obtained automatically without deploying a middleman. The customer can directly purchase from the online vendor and payment transactions can just be arranged. This is rampant in music downloading sites like iTunes or online shops like Amazon.com or eBay. Profit will then double, or might even triple.

eCommerce also levels out the playing field for both big and small businesses. A small home-based company can reach as much a market as the global ones. Businesses don’t have to set up different branches in other places. A good website and good advertising technique will do it. If the vendor does his job right, that is, putting all the information needed in a compelling way, his online business will sure thrive.

Strategic Planning For Website Promotion and Internet Marketing

Search Engine Optimization is the need for every website or online business. To increase number of visitors or to multiply revenue earnings, people need to promote their website. Website promotion doesn’t mean spending lot of money on buying links or banner space on other websites. You need to develop a strategic website optimization and promotion plan to get maximum benefits. The best thing is that, it will not cost you a fortune.

A perfect website promotion campaign works on four basic levels:

Internal Optimization of Website
For instant boost in search engine rankings of website, it has to be well optimized on structural level. If a website is not designed and developed in search engine friendly manner, it will not get indexed by search engines easily. There are several constraints from Search Engine Optimization point of view which should be taken care at the time of designing and development of website. Some don’ts for Search Engines Friendly websites are as follows:

1. Heavy web pages with graphics and videos (it takes time in loading)
2. Use of Frames (Search Engine Spiders cannot crawl through Frame pages)
3. Images without ALT tag (it reduces the chance of getting indexed for required keywords)
4. Flash Content (Flash is unreadable for Search Engine Crawlers, so contents inside a flash movie will not be readable by search Engine)
5. Pages without META Tags (Meta Tags are essential for Search Engine spiders)

Creation of Relevant Keyword Rich Contents for Website
Content based indexing is an essential phenomenon of every search engines. Keyword rich contents on website always help in easy and regular indexing of web pages. Therefore, in order to get listed on top ranks in major search engines a website need relevant keyword rich content.

Contents with perfect saturation of keywords can drastically push up your ranking in all major search engines. However, in order to sustain in top ranking of search engine a website need to update its contents regularly.

Website’s Placement in Search Engines
Once a search engine friendly website equipped with keyword rich contents is ready, we can start its promotion. Initial promotion includes submission of website to all popular search engines and web directories.

Usually all search engine maintains a directory of website in specific niche, they crawl through all the web directories for this task. So, if your website is listed in prestigious high PR web directories like DMOZ, your chances of getting indexed are more.

Creating Awareness about Website’s Existence
You need to create awareness in order to attract visitors and customers to your website. The perfect way to create awareness about your newly launched website or recently introduced products is blogging and participating in forums. Yes, it really helps. A blog can be the best supporting element for website. You can post latest news and information about products and services offered by your website. It will also act as a platform to interact with your existing or potential customers.

One most important technique of creating awareness is submitting keyword rich articles supporting your niche. It will create supporting links as well as contents for your website, adding more prospects for top ranking of your websites.

Nowadays, the demand for SEO and Internet Marketing services has increased. There are several companies offering best SEO and SEM services. It can be the best way, if you are new in Internet Marketing or just ventured here to reap the enormous benefits of Ecommerce and not aware with the techniques and tools of SEO and Internet Marketing.