eCommerce, The Newest Business Frontier: It’s Time To Get Connected
The Internet is proving to be a significant business leveler, allowing small and medium-size companies to get connected with customers and compete with the giants on the same global playing field.
If you have not decided whether the fanfare over conducting business online is hype or reality and are holding off developing a Web site for your enterprise, you could be missing out on a powerful business tool.
Whether you are a consumer or a business-to-business resource, some of the most efficient marketing and selling tools are available via the Internet, and the potential of reaching a vast audience is open to you through the World Wide Web. Consider these facts: Forrester Research, Inc. estimates that 47.3 million North American households have online access and 43.9 percent have browsed online. Of the 43.9 percent, 65 percent have made purchases. By 2014, the research firm estimates that U.S. online retail sales will grow to $250 billion, up from $155 billion in 2009.
Time-starved consumers are becoming more comfortable using credit and bank cards to make purchases from security-backed virtual retailers. They comparison shop over the Internet for the best quality and cost and purchase a range of goods from groceries to high-tech products.
As the electronic-consumer trade continues to soar, business-to-business eCommerce will be even stronger.
Many larger corporations have already mandated the use of online transactions to their downstream vendors. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), the introduction of electronic commerce in federal contracting is moving ahead, and small business owners must adopt this new business strategy to remain fully competitive.
Until recently, developing an eCommerce Web site meant dealing with multiple companies: one to develop the Web site, one for eCommerce integration, one to host the site, and yet another provider for secure payment processing. Newer technologies, however, are making it easier for business owners to get their online sites up and running.