Manage your online business
One of the biggest reasons for many of the original dot-com bombs was bad e-commerce interactions between potential buyers and e-commerce sites and software. E-commerce culture today still bears the scars of those bad interactions in that people are still wary of doing e-commerce. Studies (as of 2005) show that only 5% of people who go to shopping sites actually buy anything. This is partly because its much easier to be a tire kicker online, too. And yet, online retail sales are expected to top $100 billion per year in 2007.
Investing in e-commerce software is no small decision, whether you're a newbie or a veteran of e-commerce. There are a number of recommendations, though. EBay remains one of the best ways to set up an online store: not only do you get to use their name and all of the traffic that is already in place you can also take advantage of considerable expertise and robust vending technology.
Be sure you do your homework before setting up ecommerce. Currently, just under 5% of all shopping occurs online; most of this is done through the major online shopping portals eBay, Amazon, Yahoo Shopping, etc. Historically, low-ticket items will bomb out if you try to sell them online, but if you can offer higher end materials that undercut brick and mortar pricing, you might have a market online.
Another part of the reason for so many e-tailing bombs is that its too easy to set up. There are no bank loans needed. In an afternoon, with a limited understanding of software, you can set up an e-commerce business. Just don't expect people to come clicking. Begin with eBay, be sure that you advertise in all the right ways and, before you go independent, be sure that you have the right e-commerce software in place.
In independent e-commerce software, a number of top-line packages have survived the storm.
Actinic has a full line of e-commerce products that target everyone from entry level to advanced users. Actinic Business is built for large sites and can be integrated with Intuit QuickBooks as well as UPS Online Tools. The software has multiple features including the ability to download MPs and other files to educate your customers. Possible negative: Actinic is a UK company.
Apple Pie focuses on creating visibility for online customers. It has fairly basic features such as a template builder and Windows-style interface. This might be well suited for an e-commerce company just starting out.
DotNetCart is a full-featured web server commerce package that is inexpensive. It works with a wide variety of account providers including Moneris and PayPal(and others), and it also comes with integrated currency conversion.
The package is criticized for difficulties in implementation unless you're a Visual Studio developer. The administration interface is problematic, and there are difficulties in calculations. On top of all that, support was elusive and there were a number of problems.
Sequoia is an Open Source ERP, free to download and use as long as you follow the rules of the Open Source Symposium. Sequoia is compatible with all major databases, including MySQL, Oracle and even Microsoft SQL Server and can be used by Windows, Linux and UNIX.
You can browse more e-commerce software products by searching our resources for e commerce software.