People today have more access to information and a broader range of products and services online. By having a web presence means your business won’t be left behind. It can help you increase your engagement, grow your customer base, and provide you with a competitive edge.

Using e-commerce


Buying and selling online is known as e-commerce (electronic commerce), online trading or online shopping. Sometimes e-commerce can also involve a good or service being traded for another good or service. As a business, you could offer e-commerce on websites, social media and mobile apps (often known as 'in-app' purchasing).

Benefits of e-commerce


Having an online presence can provide a range of new opportunities and benefits for your business.

E-commerce can:

  • allow your business to be open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • allow your customers to be able access your products or services  anywhere, anytime
  • help you market your products and services
  • increase customer engagement

It’s important that businesses do their research before creating an online presence to ensure they choose an option that is useful and targeted to their business product.

Options for taking your business online


Some of the options for going online are:

  • creating a website for your business
  • opening up an online shop or store, or trading in an online marketplace
  • blogging
  • using social media to reach and communicate with your customers
  • using digital media channels, such as video hosting sites

It’s important you do your research before creating your online presence to ensure you choose an option that is useful and targeted to your product or service. Each online option has pros and cons. Consider the goals of your business, your business model and what you sell, before you decide which approach is best for you.

Directories

Online directories may suit your business if you just want to list your business’s contact details online. It also allows you to promote your business in an online space where your potential customers already are.

Social Networking Sites

Social media can be an important part of your online presence if one of your key requirements is to promote your brand and business. The different channels can help you engage with your customers, generate conversation and may improve your chances of building customer loyalty.

eMarketplaces

E-commerce platforms provide a way for you to sell your products online and can have a range of features like inventory management and analytics.

If your goal is to sell products online, joining an online marketplace may meet that requirement without the need to create your own ecommerce website.

Websites

A website can be a useful way your business can be discovered. Websites come in different types, each serving different functions. If you want to sell products or services online, an e-commerce platform may work for you. If you want a website to inform your customers where you’re located and what products or services you supply then a brochure website might be the right fit.

Checklist for business e-commerce


If your business offers products or services online, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do consumers need specialised software or hardware to trade with you?
  • Are contract terms for purchases clear, accurate and easily accessible by consumers?
  • Have you taken appropriate steps to protect consumers' privacy?
  • Have you provided consumers with payment mechanisms that are easy to use and offer appropriate security?
  • Are consumers informed about any specific laws or jurisdiction applicable to transactions with your business?

Marketing your products


Marketing strategies are a common part of many business plans. However, marketing your product or service over the web can be quite different. Even if you're experienced in business, it's important to do further research into successful online marketing techniques.

To help you promote your business online, you may want to visit our information on: