While e-commerce is anticipated to continue growing over the following several years and trending toward wide adoption to sell products and services online, there are many challenges that ought to be considered before implementing a web selling system for your company.
One major concern among consumers is that of security and privacy of personal information. Consumers want to be assured that the personal information they supply on a company’s site won’t be sold to other companies for marketing purposes. Others are wary about technology that tracks personal information like internet sites visited and items purchased by customers. a serious barrier for consumers who still don’t purchase products online is that the fear that an internet site isn’t secure which their mastercard number or other personal information will be accessed by hackers.
Another reason many consumers choose to not purchase online is because of viruses. While within the past viruses were often spread by opening an infected e-mail, nowadays simply surfing the net is enough to be susceptible to getting a scourge. System downtime is another problem related to e-commerce sites. Whether the downtime is a results of system maintenance, server issues, hackers, or poor system administration, it can have a negative impact on sales. If customers are unable to get from your site thanks to technical problems, they may become dissatisfied and visit the online site of your competitor instead.
Although there are several challenges related to e-commerce, there are many advantages to selling products online for companies and customers. One advantage for companies is cost savings through lower inventory management, customer service, administration, and communication costs, order tracking, and integration with the company’s accounting system. Web orders are often sent on to the warehouse, which allows customer service representatives to concentrate on larger customer orders, while smaller orders may be handled more efficiently online. Detailed purchase history reports on each customer allow companies to design customized online purchase deals for purchasers who have not purchased from their sites in several months or reminder notices to order specific products for purchasers who purchase specific products on a daily basis. Current online inventory reports can aid in projecting inventory depletion and assist with product restocking information.
Manufacturers of products have the advantage of having the ability to sell on to customers by bypassing the intermediary if they sell online and are able to pass along a number of the savings to their customers.
Another advantage to companies is that sending e-mails to customers is an efficient low-cost way of sending customized messages about upcoming products, special online purchase offers, or shipping and order confirmations. Additionally, specific customer information is stored for repeat customers, making it easier to investigate customer groups. Benefits to consumers include 24-hour shopping, convenience, lower prices, special online promotions, comparative shopping, and proactive feedback from the corporate regarding stock-outs or delays in shipping.