E-Commerce Is Changing into a Highly Targeted Form of Marketing Communications
E-commerce refers to electronic commerce or business over the Internet or electronically selling or purchasing goods over the Internet. With the growth of the Internet, a plethora of e-commerce businesses have sprouted like mushrooms all across the world. This mushrooming has led to an increase in e-commerce frauds and scams. While, it is true that there are numerous scams around, most of them are fraudulent.
The first thing to do in order to guard against scams in e-commerce is to educate oneself about the various facets of e-commerce. A basic understanding of how e-commerce works can help a retailer guard his/her business from fraudulent activities. The Internet is home to a multitude of websites that conduct business. A retailer conducts business in e-commerce only when the website he/she is using has been validated as a legitimate site by other third-party organizations. These third-party organizations include payment processors such as PayPal, Google Checkout, and Alipay.
It is impossible to conduct e-commerce successfully if the site being used has not been established and/or accepted by the shopping community. Legitimate e-commerce sites usually employ secure payment gateways to provide protection to credit card users. In addition to using secure payment gateways, a legitimate e-commerce site should also be able to provide consumers with limited consumer service. Many brick-and-mortar stores offer a wide range of consumer service such as free shipping and handling, personalized customer service, and personalized assistance.
It is imperative that consumers in e-commerce transactions have access to quick, safe, and accurate online replenishment options. Consumers who are presented with an online replenishment option have the option to purchase the item right away. For e-commerce stores that do not provide a rapid or accurate replenishment option, consumers can wait in line to purchase an item and the item will not be available until the checkout process has been completed. This frustrating wait time can easily take up to two hours, which can be a great inconvenience for consumers. In addition, for smaller businesses that lack the capital to maintain a physical store, waiting in line to purchase items can be a very long and tedious task.
Social media is another key component for e-commerce websites. E-commerce sites that have a strong social media presence can capitalize on consumer complaints and encourage them to become customer favorites. Consumer complaints often lead to improved service and a positive PR rating for e-commerce sites. When consumers feel like they can voice their complaints without being routinely harassed by business-to-business representatives, they are far more likely to participate in future business-to-business transactions on the e-commerce site.
An e-commerce site should incorporate a robust supply chain management system (CMS). A CMS will allow e-commerce sites to seamlessly share inventory, order processing, billing and payment information. A well-developed CMS will also allow e-commerce sites to easily publish product descriptions and generate sales quotes from customer data. Many e-commerce sites offer a “product search” option that directs consumers to the product’s list, complete with detailed specifications and pricing information.
With the increased prevalence of fraudulent transactions, e-commerce transactions should be conducted through secured transmission networks (SSL) to further enhance security. A variety of online shopping cart programs and software applications exist to assist businesses conduct business on the Internet. While securing e-commerce transactions is an important step to preventing fraudulent transactions, business owners should also conduct business on the Internet using secure communication channels (such as e-mail) and employ other common sense methods to avoid potential fraud.
The evolution of the Internet has created new opportunities for business-to-business e-commerce interaction. As the Internet becomes more popular, business-to-business e-commerce activities can take place between international consumers and international retailers. In fact, many e-commerce activities between buyers and sellers result in direct interactions between two or more people that are located in completely different locations. In this new environment, electronic commerce takes on a new meaning and is transforming into a highly targeted form of marketing communications.