What is iCommerce ?
All of online business, in total, is icommerce. It means Internet commerce of any or all kinds.
The Internet will become one of the most powerful economic forces, since online business will increase to vast proportions as trade leaves Main Street and moves to the web. As more and more businesses take advantage of the new trade medium, opportunities increase, new avenues open, and revenues grow. The Net allows small businesses to grow much faster than if they were brick and mortar entities, as their reach becomes nationwide instead of purely local. Large businesses can become an international force, and overseas partnerships are commonplace.
Traditional business vs icommerce
A common trading model for a local business is to establish a prominent storefront or office, marketed by local press advertising and phone book ads. A wholly-online business can be located anywhere, and markets its products or services purely online. But a frequent business model now is to combine the two, with a local base and a regional or even national marketing drive online.
The advantages of online trading are lower start-up costs, highly controllable costs, and easily targeted and measured advertising. Added to that are lower staffing and greater efficiency in many areas. ROI, return on investment, can be closely monitored - and this process often turns up new ways to go forward.
Business practice is very different online, and new methods need to be learnt. An offline business cannot normally go online and succeed, at least to their full potential, without expert advice. There are some useful principles:
- Map out your strategy and targets before you do anything else
- Take advice before building an online presence - not after
- It may be easy to build a website, but not everyone can build one right
- Apportion your budget correctly - even with a very small budget, don't spend more than 50% of start-up costs on a website
- Marketing of various kinds is crucial, because an online business is completely invisible without it
- Online marketing is very different to offline, so be prepared to use unfamiliar methods
- Take a quality view on every issue - it's the best way in the long run
The challenges are these: to do business in a new way, with new methods, and by embracing the new medium create entirely new income streams. It is difficult to transfer skills from offline trading to online as all the methodogy is different. For example, how do you know if your server is working correctly and not sabotaging you? How can you measure if your webhost is doing their job properly? What exactly do you need to target with your analytics and why? Are your IPs (intellectual properties) correctly chosen, utilised and protected?
What types of webserver applications should you use? Which are the best for your purposes - and have you really got a handle on what you should be doing with them now and especially next year?
These are not areas of expertise that highly capable offline operations or marketing directors have any knowledge of; this business format needs specialists.
Call and chat about your online business plans - it's what we're good at!