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How to survive eCommerce

Written by Becky Butcher on 12 September 2012

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So, you have an online business. But, how can you guarantee success? This article aims to help you ensure your website visitors feel confident enough to become your regular clients.

What is e-commerce?

Electronic commerce, often referred to as e-commerce or simply e-comm, is the sales aspect of any e-business. Essentially, it is the buying and/or selling of products or services over electronic systems, be they computer networks or the internet. Modern e-commerce usually involves the use of the World Wide Web, with buying and selling taking place via the internet. But e-commerce often also encompasses other modern technologies, such as email, mobile devices and telephones.

Why engage in e-commerce?

In the modern era, as technology becomes clever and ever more available, e-commerce has become increasingly popular - in 2012 in the US alone, e-commerce and online retail sales were projected to reach $226 billion, an increase of 12% over 2011. So, it seems it is becoming ever more popular to shop online, and with the rise of e-commerce giants such as Amazon and eBay in 1994 and 1995 respectively, this is hardly surprising.

The main pulling power for e-commerce seems to come from its ability to make shopping easier and more convenient for the consumer, increasing their ability to gather information about products and prices, and to freely make comparisons.

Risks involved with e-commerce

Undoubtedly, e-commerce has been a major development in the modern era, but it does not come without its fair share of dangerous side-effects. The ability to hide your identity behind a computer screen creates the incentive to defraud. Some of the risks include:

Risks to buyers:

- Sellers may take your money and not send the product you purchased.

- Sellers may send inferior or broken goods.

- Due to the easy availability of fake online feedback and testimonials, unsuspecting customers may falsely assume a seller is legitimate.

Risks to sellers:

- Customers may use fake or stolen credit cards to purchase products.

- Customers may lie about the quality of the delivered product and attempt to claim an unjust refund.

- Customers may claim non-delivery and claim an unjust refund.

Risks to buyers and sellers:

- If an e-commerce website gets hacked there is the possibility that both the sellers and the buyers details may be stolen, leaving them both in a vulnerable situation.

Some tips for successful e-commerce:

- Give a clear and honest description of the product or service you are offering.

- Provide all the relevant information for the customer in a manner that will be easy for them to understand.

- Provide clear information about your company or business.

- Provide the relevant telephone number and contact details, price and costs information, any guarantees offered, and your returns policy.

- Ensure your website is easily accessible and easy to navigate: the easier it is for potential customers to find and browse your website, the more successful your online business will be.

- Protect your site from online hackers by installing a firewall on the system or the network - a firewall will monitor the software and hardware that block network traffic coming to and leaving a system, and will permit only what has been authorised

- Comply with consumer, internet and e-commerce law.

For further information on eCommerce law, please contact Izaz Ali on izaz.ali@lawdit.co.uk

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