Below post is a summary of a 4-page article from entrepreneur.com:
As with any business move or expansion, considering an online presence can raise a sometimes dizzying list of questions for an entrepreneur. Exactly what must be put in place to make it happen? How does an online presence change the market for the business? What are competitors doing? How will people shop? What kind of security is required? How will customers pay online? We put together this guide, a primer of sorts, to help answer those questions.
Small businesses that have little or no e-commerce capabilities on their websites will learn about taking the next step in converting their marketing sites into selling locations that extend their customer bases, images and sales in entirely new ways. Those entrepreneurs not yet online will discover how the Internet is likely to transform their businesses and introduce them to markets far beyond those which are currently in reach.
Why Go Online?
The most amazing aspect of e-commerce is its ability to impact sales and marketing efforts immediately. By going online, suddenly a neighborhood bakery or a homebased consulting service expands its reach to a national, or even international base of potential customers. Web-based sales know no international boundaries.
Not only is the internet increasing the number of potential customers that a company can reach, but it’s also driving profitability, according to research from IPSOS, commissioned by PayPal.
When entrepreneurs move online, they establish themselves on a level playing field with larger competitors. On the internet, even the smallest online retailer can be as attractive and as functional as the largest big box store–without the need to have a physical presence on every street corner. Often, small shops project a “boutique” feel that attracts shoppers, who perceive smaller businesses as more distinctive than larger stores.
Moving a business online doesn’t have to be an arduous process. To set up an online business, entrepreneurs should apply their passion and positive thinking to three key areas:
- The planning process. Everything an entrepreneur needs to know, consider and decide before starting an
- Developing a marketing strategy. Determining how to get the word out and how to maintain good relationships with customers.
- Understanding technology needs. The tricks and tools that make it all happen.
In summary, 10 Steps to Move a Business Online
- Competitor landscape review. Look at competitors online and decide how you will differentiate yourself from them.
- URL. Register a domain name.
- Web development. Hire a web site developer or buy web development software, then determine site design and navigation.
- Technology. Buy a server or find an outsourced Internet service provider.
- Payment. Find a secure online order solution, including shopping cart and payment service.
- Protection. Fight viruses and protect the site and computers with anti-virus software.
- Marketing. Develop a marketing plan, which includes determining and publishing customer service policies.
- Contracts. Establish alliances with crucial partners, such as product suppliers, search engine optimizers, fulfillment services, shippers, web technicians, marketing or public relations firms.
- Product. Create an online catalog or listings.
- Maintenance. Keep inventory, catalogs and listings up to date for your customers.
Read the full article here:
source: entrepreneur.com, photo from masternewmedia.org