“E-commerce”

A word pervading our society, making headlines around the

world, and causing the stock market to rise and fall with

startling ease.

It seems every business news story centers on some

technology company’s “DOT-com” or “DOT-bomb”!

With all the positive and negative hoopla, business owners

of any size company can throw up their hands and feel the

“E” world has left them behind.

Every business owner, salesperson, or professional asked one

of two questions in the past year, either “Am I using e-

commerce correctly?” or “How do I effectively get involved

in e-commerce?”

You can buy hundreds of books and pay thousands in

consulting fees to analyze and debate the answer to the

first question.

To answer to the second question just follow these 12 steps.

Step 1 – Buy a domain name (your own DOT-com). Go to

http://www.NetworkSolutions.com and research names. Can a customer

easily spell and remember it?

Step 2 – Write down your online goals and prepare a time and

money budget.

How soon do you want your e-commerce site up and running?

How much will you spend?

How many hours will you devote to the site and when?

Step 3 – Surf the web to find other sites you like and

dislike. Learn from others’ successes and mistakes by taking

the best of what their sites offer and adapting it for your

own use.

Step 4 – Design your site on paper. Define elements, look,

feel, colors etc.

Step 5 – Hire a professional to set up the graphics and

navigation, but with the intention of you or your staff

maintaining the site’s day to day operations, communication

and updates.

Step 6 – Invest in a digital camera and web publishing

software such as Microsoft Front Page or Adobe Acrobat to

keep up with the site’s maintenance.

Step 7 – Maintain, change, and update your site at least

once a month. (The one exception to this rule are those one-

page, sales letter websites. Once you have one of those that

performs well and makes sales, don’t change it!!)

Step 8 – Promote your site at every opportunity. Tell people

about it. Put your web address on your business cards and in

all your ads. Some companies even advertise their web

address when they put you on hold on the telephone.

Step 9 – Give people a self-serving reason to visit your

site. Coupon savings, discounts, special incentives, free

information, and free newsletters represent excellent

enticements for attracting visitors to your site.

Step 10 – Concentrate on obtaining an email address from

every customer and potential customer.

Obtain permission to send periodic, value-added malings to

your database.

Use a list server to organize and maintain your mailing

list.

Step 11 – Always look for and use the simplest solution or

option.

Whether adding a shopping cart, database or other option to

your e-commerce operation, seek out and use the simplest

answer for your needs.

Step 12 – Become educated and stay current in the world of

e-commerce.

Learn the marketing and sales techniques of the online

world.