The Internet Levels the Playing Field for Small Businesses

Small businesses on the Internet are quickly gaining ground on large multi-national corporations and giving them quite a scare. On the Internet a small business can compete with, and even surpass, large firms. But can all businesses profit online? The best selling products online appeal to the technology savvy or a wide geographic audience. They are computer related items, specialty items difficult to locate elsewhere, or items that can be purchased less expensively over the Internet.

E-Commerce Lowers Operating Costs
A business on the Internet does not require bricks and mortar or staff around the world, just a Web site and perhaps one central warehouse, garage or the like. An e-commerce (electronic commerce) Web site costs can vary greatly but are generally between $20 and $1000. Because business transactions are primarily handled electronically, there is no need for a large sales staff. The internet storefront also minimizes theft, damage, or breakage of the inventory.

E-Commerce Is Available Anywhere, Anytime
The audience on the Internet is global. Consumers all over the world are shopping online. When it is 1:00 am here, a customer in France, where it is the morning, can make a purchase. A business on-line is open seven days a week, 24 hours a day. Customers can shop at their convenience. The cash register is open all day and night, even while the business owner is sleeping.

E-Commerce Reinforces Customer Service
A Web site allows a business track customer's buying trends so the business owner can market accordingly. A website automatically tracks every order placed and can be used to find out what items are good sellers, what needs to be reordered and more.

E-Commerce Develops Customer Loyalty
How often do you learn all about a business upon entering a store? How often do you walk away with a free sample? A Web site allows businesses the opportunity to give customers information about their company while offering something of value. For example a company selling t-shirt printing could provide articles on how to design a t-shirt log, a company selling kitchenware could provide free recipes, or a company selling software could provide a free trial or limited version. By reading about the history and background of a company, the customer feels they have chatted with the owner. Personalizing a company creates customer loyalty. A Web site is soft sell. It gives the business an opportunity to market itself while gently leading the audience to purchase its products.

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