All You Need to Know about e-Commerce

E-Commerce or Electronic Commerce (EC) is the practice of buying and selling various good and services on the World Wide Web (Internet). e-Commerce in its basic sense means the same as traditional trading where buyers and sellers come together for doing business. The difference is that e-Commerce happens over wired communication lines connected throughout the globe where the World Wide Web serves as the central medium for all trading transactions.

With this, you have to simply hit the service provider’s website, search for what you need or setup what you want to provide and instantly get the business done. If you are making purchases online for virtual products and services, most of the time you will get them at the instance of your payment acknowledgment.

Monetary transactions happen over secure gateways and encrypted channels, so we can term e-commerce to be a reliable trading environment. Payments can be made with the use of credit cards, e-Checks, payment gateways or even through traditional payment systems.

Types of e-Commerce

Business to Business (B2B)
Business-to-Business e-commerce has been around for some time. Over 90% of all e-commerce transactions on the Internet are B2B. B2B enables automating transactions between trading partners for business efficiency. B2B is also known to be Electronic Data Interchange (EDI).

Business to Consumer (B2C)
Business-to-Consumer is considered to be one of the best things to happen for e-commerce and the Internet. It continues to grow by leaps and bounds with every passing day. Popular websites such as Amazon have cashed in over the rise of purchases that happen over the Internet. B2C involves direct selling to the consumer over the Internet. The service or product that is being sold does not necessarily be virtual or intangible, but as a matter of fact most transactions that happen are related to tangible goods.

Consumer to Business (C2B)
Consumer-to-Business model is a complete reversal of Business-to-Consumer model. In this case, a consumer offers goods or services to companies and the companies pay for them. We can see examples of C2B in forms of affiliate marketing, answering online polls for companies, being a free lance developer, etc.

Business to Employee (B2E)
In a Business-to-Employee set up, companies offer products or services to their employees in an intranet environment. B2E typically is used for automating employee-related work processes. Examples of B2E applications can be seen in online insurance policy management for employees, offers and rewards program for employees, etc.

Consumer to Consumer (C2C)
In Consumer-to-Consumer e-commerce a third party builds a transaction bridge between two or more consumers involved. Online auctioning can be considered to be a good form of Consumer to Consumer e-commerce model where consumers set up sale of goods and services for others to bid and win the specific item or service. The third party which connects consumers charges a nominal fee for their services. They are in no way related to the goods and services being sold or bought and they are not responsible for quality and other such factors.

Advantages of e-Commerce

100% Business Uptime
E-Commerce systems are available for people for 24/7. They never take a break or close down for the day or take public holidays.

Global Access
e-Commerce systems can be accessible by any one using the Internet.

Quick Response Time
Transactions can be handled over the Internet instantaneously without high response times, most of the time much faster than offline systems. Messages are delivered to the end of the globe at the snap of a finger, enabling quick transactions.

Cost-efficiency
e-Commerce is very cost-efficient and economical. General costs of running a business otherwise are far higher than those operated with the help of technology and e-Commerce. Staffing, middlemen, overhead costs, etc., can be reduced drastically making business handling and administration much easier. Most of the transaction procedures can be automated without any human intervention.

Disadvantages of e-Commerce

Delivery Time
Physical goods take some time to reach your home when you buy them online whereas if you go to the local store, you can get them instantly. Delivery times may range anywhere from a day to even a month. Moreover, perishable goods cannot be considered to be shipped for such long delivery times as they tend to get spoiled during transit.

Hesitancy
Most customers and businesses are hesitant to do transactions online. This is due to the fact that if a person wants to physically inspect the service or goods he is paying for, he is unable to do so. Moreover, some people are accustomed to shop with family and friends and hang out to malls and big outlets.

Online Safety
Online safety is a critical factor that most people consider before even thinking of performing commercial transactions. Customers and businesses should be assured of privacy implications, confidentiality, and security. An amount of trust has to be developed before starting or involving into transactions.

5 Best Ways to Sell and Promote Your Stuff Online

So now you feel the most traditional way of selling your product is in trouble and now you want to look for other avenues to sell your product online. With each passing day the online sellers are finding the web to be increasingly more competitive and with the management and rule changes at different levels the business men are more inclined to exploring different ways and alternatives to sell their products online. The market is very lucrative and deems to be most important for any business owner to explore, if success is what he is looking to attain. Here is a scoop to how you can manage to sell and promote your stuff online in the most possible hassle free ways:

Fixed Price Marketplaces

One thing many sellers are doing and must continue doing is to stay connected with eBay and Amazon. These are the places where you can sell just about anything. But you will find the best luck only if you list rare items in these online retail sites that have a niche market. Even the classics and vintages stored somewhere in your attic can also find a good place to be sold in eBay and Amazon. For an idea of the similar items you can obviously look around the options sold under “Advanced Search”.

Social Websites

Social Websites like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest gives us one of the most effective ways to sell your products online. The popular social websites are the best places to share news, connect with your fans, throw competition, persuade them and inform them about the range of products you have and their corresponding utilities. These indeed are the best place for getting your products in front of the right eyes. This can be a more time consuming matter but you have to keep updating your posts and information on social websites so as to get appropriate exposure for your product, brand and business.

Google Shopping Results

If you are actively into selling your product online then one of the greatest ways to promote your product online is by getting them listed to display on the Google Shopping results. These results are most often displayed in the Google Search Result as well. They come as answers to various queries. This can be the most definite way to gain more businesses and send more traffic to your website. You can earn more especially when your products are cheaper than that of your competitors.

Classifieds

Craigslist has been often accused for single handedly sinking the entire newspaper by doing classifieds. The local event for Craigslist commences as a local event of email lists for San Francisco in 1995 and later it grew up to become an online classified powerhouse serving more than 500 cities spread over 50 countries across the globe. Craigslist has almost 40 million visitors each month generating more than 10 billion page views. Therefore it is of no wonder that an ad on Craigslist can be extremely effective to generate sales, especially in the large local markets.

Your Own Store Front

If you are a seller and you have an adventurous spirit then it is very predictable that you would select a personal storefront to showcase your products and sell them online. There are a number of free and open source projects like that of osCommerce that can be aptly used to power your online storefront. There also all inclusive small business hosting solutions such as the Yahoo! Merchant Solutions, that can definitely get the sellers up running with their webstores a lot easier. Again there is Shopify which is all in one hosted ecommerce suite that has become one of the most popular places to be if you wish to sell your products online.

How to Sell Used Electronic Items Online

In this age of rapidly evolving technology, electronic items like cell phones, mp3 players, computers and laptops tend to get replaced fast, as newer and better products come up in the market every month. A consequence of this phenomenon is piling up of used electronics products every year, that find no takers and end up being toxic trash dumped in junk yards. Not only is it bad economics to throw away an electronic product which could be still useful if repaired, but it’s damaging to the environment. In this Buzzle article, I provide you with some suggestions on how to sell used electronics online, which not only provides you with some ready cash, but also contributes to the global effort aimed at cleaning up technological waste.

With the rising rate of electronics waste, many tech entrepreneurs saw an opportunity to create an online market place, where used electronic items could be bought, repaired and sold as refurbished items or their parts be salvaged for cash. With this philosophy, many websites have sprung on the Internet, that buy such items from you, get them shipped for free and pay you an appropriate price for it. They earn money through resale of the item after repair, sale of spare parts or recycling. In the following lines, I provide you with information on such websites where you can trade your used smart phone, laptop, iPod or any other such item for cash.

How to Sell Used Electronics Online For Cash?

The online marketplace has been teeming with buyers who are ready to purchase all kinds of used electronics goods. Here are some suggestions on where you could sell your used phone, desktop computer, music system, speakers or any other such items.

Sell Them to Gazelle
A website accredited by Better Business Bureau, Gazelle is one of the premier web companies specializing in the purchase of electronic goods. They buy everything from calculators, e-readers, digital cameras, external hard drives, gaming consoles, GPS devices to LCD monitors. The selling procedure is also quite simple. You find the right category to which a product belongs, provide your mailing address, get your item shipped and appraised, after which you are mailed a check of appropriate value. It’s as simple as that! Oh yes and the shipping is absolutely free. Check out Gazelle website for more details.

Make Money Selling Electronic Items on Amazon
Amazon is probably the largest online retailer of electronic goods and it also buys used electronic items. They charge you a commission for advertising and selling your product. Amazon provides you with exposure to one of the biggest consumer bases in the world. You will have to create an account with Amazon to start selling products. Visit the website to know the complete details.

Sell them to BuyMyTronics or YouRenew
Two more options for selling electronic items for cash are BuyMyTronics and YouRenew. Both these sites will buy all kinds of electronics gadgets, repair and sell them as refurbished items or get them recycled. Check out both websites for more information.

Trade Used Electronic Items on eBay
Another option for selling electronic goods is good old eBay. With one of the largest user bases, this site makes for a great selling platform. You can list your product, advertise it and sell it at a fixed price or through auctioning to earn a decent amount of cash. Try out eBay if you think that your used electronics product could fetch good value.

Sell them Via Craigslist
The online classifieds website – Craigslist has been operating for years now to bring together buyers and sellers online. You can advertise the sale of your used iPod, desktop, camcorder or any other gadget and find customers who are willing to pay for it.

Collect and list out all the items you could trade. Contact any of the above suggested websites like Gazelle, ship over your electronics item, get it valued and earn cash directly. All you have to do is get your product mailed to the right address and the website management team will take care of the rest. Even if the used phone or any other gadget does not earn much cash, you can at least have the satisfaction of not contributing to the rising pile of technological junk!

Planning a Successful eCommerce Site

So you want to sell stuff on the Internet, and eBay and Craigslist just aren’t doing it for you anymore. It’s time for a real, live, grownup website of your own. But God, there’s so much to think about. An eCommerce website is much more involved than a static website – it’s always changing, it must have search capabilities, and you absolutely have to be able to accept payment securely.

First, calm down. There’s a process for this. If you have the money, you can actually hire someone to take care of the whole thing for you – but smaller companies aren’t left out of the game. You absolutely can do this yourself, but you have to commit to seeing it through.

Location, Location, Location

If you don’t already have a website (why not?), you must first register your domain name and pay for hosting (unless you have your own server). A basic website is pretty easy to design using a basic web editor and templates. If you already have a site, plan how the shopping section will fit in with your existing pages.

Shopping Cart

You will need to choose a shopping cart software – some are simply plugins that work with pre-existing website templates, while others are entirely separate customizable things that require a much deeper level of involvement. Choose one that suits your business and your product. Look for things like search capabilities and display – the closer it is to what you want, the less work you have to do before you can just plug in your stuff and go.

The shopping cart software is what allows you to take orders, calculate tax/handling/shipping, process returns, send receipts and notifications – in short, it’s your virtual sales clerk. There’s no reason to blow your entire budget, but don’t go cheaper than you have to.

Money

You have to have the ability to accept payment online, and the customers must feel secure in the fact that their information is going only to you, not some phisher in a dark basement somewhere. A secure server is the first step, but you also need a safe way to process credit card information.

First, set up an Internet merchant account with your bank to allow the money to flow from the customer to your account. Then you need a payment gateway account, which acts as an intermediary to facilitate the transaction. Your shopping cart software may come with this capability, so double-check before spending money on another service.

In lieu of all that, you could also just enable PayPal on your site. People trust it, and it’s secure. They don’t charge a monthly fee, but they do take about 3% of every transaction, so that’s something to think about. In fact, even if you do have separate payment processing, it’s still a good idea to offer customers the PayPal option because many people won’t trust any other form of online payment. This is especially true for smaller businesses that do not have a national reputation. PayPal also offers basic shopping cart software for a low price if you don’t need any super-customized functionality.

Final Checks

Once you think your site is ready to go, run a few checks to make sure everything is working properly. Pictures should load quickly, pages should scroll smoothly, and the site as a whole should function quickly and properly. Send a few transactions through to make sure payment goes through right, shipping costs are in line, and auto-mail like receipts and shipping notifications are sent as scheduled.