Electronic commerce or e-commerce refers to any form of business, or commercial transaction, that is conducted across the internet. It covers a range of different types of businesses, from goods to services.
But one common question today is: "Why aren't I making any money from my e-commerce business site?". The main reason for this lack of success is that there are too many hobby sites rather than real business sites on the internet.
Your website is a hobby business when:
- Your webpage is full of sophisticated animation and graphics taking forever to load;
- You do not have your own product - instead you have links to many affiliate or network marketing programs. You have never bought the products or services and have no knowledge of their quality or suitability;
- You respond to email inquiries as and when you feel like it rather than promptly;
- You don't provide sufficient contact details on your page so that people can contact you easily;
- You have a hit counter that keeps on being inflated by you visiting your own site to see how many hits you have generated;
- You're advertising and promotion is non-existent or is inconsistent and poorly focused;
- Your web site does not lead your customer through a sales process; and,
- You expect that having a website is all you need to do to make money on the net.
Business success on the internet demands a "real business" approach that is professional and focused on the customer or client. To have a real business requires that you have your own "sales funnel" that will usually involve having your own product or service.
In simple terms, a sales funnel is an approach to the sales process that works very successful for those who implement it properly. At the top of the funnel are your prospects. You qualify your prospects through offering something for free that is directly related to your product or service. In many cases this is a free newsletter or ezine that will allow you to demonstrate your expertise and stay in front of your prospects so that you can eventually convert them into customers.
As prospects move through the funnel, they are offered a product or service at a low price point. For example, an electronic book for $30 could be sold to your prospects. Once they buy this product they have become one of your customers. You have qualified their interest in or need for the products and services that you offer.
Moving into the lower part of the funnel, you offer your customers your higher priced products or services. As these people have already bought from you, trust and credibility have been established and they will buy the higher priced items more readily than if you offered them to your prospects directly. This is usually the area where you will make most of your profits.
While the above is a rough example of the sales funnel concept, it illustrates a sales approach that is characteristic of a real business. Additional products and services, including affiliate programs that you recommend can be offered to your customers with greater potential for profit.
Real businesses know the profile of their likely customers and have a marketing plan for how to reach them in the most cost-effective manner. They are consistent in their advertising and promotion activities. They track the results of all activities so that they know what is working and what isn't. Decisions can be made on facts rather than guesses.
Full contact details are provided on a real businesses website so that customers and potential customers can easily contact them. They are customer service oriented and answer e-mails promptly. They also provide a full guarantee that they honor without question.
As they know their potential customers, they ensure their website is easy to navigate, quick loading, and provides the information their potential customer needs to decide to make the purchase.
A real business is conducted in a professional manner. Real businesses will make real money on the internet today. Don't operate your website with a hobby mentality, be professional and follow business success principles and you will be able to build the business of your dreams.