eCommerce now and then
Just about everything one can think of is for sale over the Internet, with the possible exception of hair cuts, even most services can be contracted via the net.
It is without much doubt that ecommerce is a new and accepted media to facilitate the sales of products and services.
In order to get a perspective of ecommerce a bit of its history should be discussed. The shopping cart systems began in the early 1980’s with server side engines, that used a database to inventory and present images with descriptions and price. These early carts were riddled with problems of how to handle abandoned carts, how to keep multiple shoppers separate, and shipping pricing was a pain to configure, to name just a few of the problems.
Bandwidth was very limited and the general public was very skeptical of buying over the Internet. Time and a lot of programming improvements have solved most of the problems. Customer confidence has increased and is increasing at an unprecedented level since broadband service has become the standard.
The debate is over as to whether a business should have an Internet ecommerce presence. Merchants have discovered it is a tremendous advertising tool and the only advertising tool that can consummate an order for goods and services, with payment received at the speed of light.
No other media can do this. TV, is the greatest sales media ever, it can make a sales presentation in the living room when customers are viewing the screen.
The Internet does the same and it can with the click of a mouse button actually complete the sale. If you would have told a business owner in the early 70’s that you could put their products on a video screen and present them world wide, to customers who have sought them out using a search system, then the customer could read all about them, see a demo, and then close the deal with instant payment, at a cost to the business of less than one 2 x 4 b/w text ad on the classified page of one local newspaper per month, you would have been laughed out of the place and branded as a future freak dreamer.
This year online holiday sales (excluding travel) will total $32.1 billion, up 10.1% over 2007. The growth of Internet sales will continue to grow and become the best way for a merchant to increase their sales area, ability to compete with large and small competitors, open 24/7 for customer convenience.
The proof is there and the cost of an Internet store is so low that any business that doesn’t take advantage of the net will just be giving sales away to those that do. The ease of setting up and maintaining a site is no longer complicated and can be integrated into almost all backend office accounting systems. The negative that people would not use the net to purchase is no longer true. Cost of shopping, gas, time, parking, has made online shopping a standard tool for millions of families.
Online Stores and SEO
At Global eComm, LLC we create online stores mostly for clients who already have a brick and mortal storefront. Occasionally an Ebay trader will require an online store for himself to add credibility and increase his visibility as well.
A store owner is usually very excited about taking his business online and should be. Online stores are a neccesary marketing tool and in todays world every small business that sells products should have one.
Now we all know that stores or products will never sell themselves, no matter how good they are. Just ask the makers of Rolls Royce, Maybach or Ferrari if they think it would be wise to eliminate all salesmen positions.
Online stores will also not sell products for you in the middle of the night while you are sleeping, unless you put the neccesary work into it. We all dream of waking up in the morning, checking our admin tools and seeing orders from other parts of the world. This will not happen without SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Odds are that you probably purchased something over the internet in the past few months. Odds are also that you started your search on google and ended up entering your credit card info on a site that was listed in the top pages.
This is why SEO is so important. To attract traffic to your site you have to be visible for the millions and millions of internet users. Therefore it is vital for the store owner to market their website through whatever means they already use for their store (print, email newsletter, phone calls, signs, etc.). On top of that you need to write your website search engine friendly, become active in online communities and promote your site, start working with Google Adwords, setup b2b partnerships and work as hard as you did when starting your brick and mortar store (or even harder).
The benefits are obvious. Reduced Overhead! No more $5000.00 rent charge or light bill to worry about.
With all this hard work and professional help from experts (like Global eComm) your online business can thrive and become the success story you had in mind.
The Real Estate Market
It has been my experience that niche markets are the best to work because you learn about their business and what they need and make yourself part of their industry instead of some outside geek that just knows computer speak.
“People always buy for their reasons not for yours”, no matter how good you think you are, they buy for their reasons.
The real estate market is going through difficult times and is ripe for a new offer of Internet presence.
Almost all of them have a site and almost all of them are paying way too much for it. They were purchased in the day when sales were booming.
Global eComm has a solution for the Real Estate Agent that is compatible with the new MLS format RETS (real estate transfer system), this means all MLS listings around the country can be added to their new site with a click of a button.
MLS is the life blood of most real estate agents. Remember, two things Realtors do. They sell property and they list properties, i.e. listing finds people that want to sell and then get them to sign an agreement that the listor will be the realtor to do the selling or share it with another MLS realtor.
So some are good at just selling, some are good at listing, the rare few are good at both. The seller makes a commission and the lister makes a smaller commission.
In a good market both can earn a living. In bad times each agent must do a lot of both in order to keep above water.
A new site, with good SEO, new graphics, RETS compatible, and at a lower cost will be a very marketable item. In this market, sellers want Agents that do a lot more than just list their property on MLS , and put a 2 inch ad in the Sun Sentinel.
They want to see their home put on the world market with a professional video/walk through. One is free with each website.
A home selling for a half a million dollars needs its own site with rich graphic content.
Most agents don’t have two nickels to rub together these days, so our prices are as low as they ever were. Z57.com says they have 16,000 real estate sites….check them out…we beat their deal…they charge about 1000.00 for initial set up 70.00 monthly for hosting, 39.00 monthly for a newsletter…and claim to drive sellers to their sites…they just balloon the hit counter and certainly do not find real prospects for agents…if they had 16,000 valid prospects per month for real estate they wouldn’t need to sell websites.
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