There are different categories of e-commerce, which include “virtual storefronts” (like amazon.com); the gathering and exchange of demographic data; data exchange, such as email, between businesses for the use of reaching perspective clients and establishing customers; and buying and selling between businesses (B2B) over the internet.
Both already existing retail businesses and new ventures operating solely online are using the “virtual storefront” as a method of selling their products. Ordering items and having them shipped through the mail was available long before the internet, but using the internet for this method of buying and selling has many benefits.
These benefits include lower transaction costs, especially in the areas of ordering and customer service; the ability to offer more information about a purchase, such as where the item is in the shipping process; a larger inventory to choose from (no one wants to read a 1000 page magazine, but it’s convenient to use a search toolbar to find the item you want); and improved interaction with customers through mediums such as email.
Although there are many benefits to building a “virtual storefront” for your business, there are certain hoops you have to jump through to make it a success. These include building an effective website, the cost of shipping (the price of postage has gone up since the good ole’ days), and accepting online payments.
As with any start-up business, a good business-law attorney can help you strategically place your business in the online landscape.
* Photo courtesy of Stockfreeimages.com
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