Electronic business, or e-business, is the application of information and communication technologies in support of all the activities of business. Commerce constitutes the exchange of products and services between businesses, groups and individuals and can be seen as one of the essential activities of any business today.
Electronic commerce focuses on enabling the external activities and relationships of the business with individuals, groups and other businesses or e business refers to business with help of internet i.e. doing business with the help of internet network. The term “e-business” was coined by IBM’s marketing and Internet team in 1996. E-commerce (short for “electronic commerce”) is trading in products or services using computer networks, such as the Internet. Electronic commerce draws on technologies such as mobile commerce, electronic funds transfer, supply chain management, Internet marketing, online transaction processing, electronic data interchange (EDI), inventory management systems, and automated data collection. Modern electronic commerce typically uses the World Wide Web for at least one part of the transaction’s life cycle, although it may also use other technologies such as e-mail.
Now – the distinct difference is that e-business is ALL business online as a kind of blanket subject where as e-commerce is the buying and selling specifically of goods and services. Most businesses today have some kind of e-business section to their operation due to the demand of such features by consumers and customers and market trends. So, for example, an information website houses information for customers whilst they may also have a physical store or traditional bricks and mortar business. My business is coaching and writing so all of what I do surrounds that and I house and promote all virtual or information products and services. But – you can also run a type of store selling either digital products or physical products. If you take e-bay or amazon they are typical examples of e-commerce stores. So they sell physical products and one can buy online from them.
Whether you are starting a coaching business, a bricks and mortar shop or an e-bay business or Amazon business you still have to know a few things about e-business to get started on the right foot. I began my ebay business many years ago and once I had built it I learned to scale it up and create an ecommerce store and it is very popular now to do so.
Let’s just break it down so you can see a few business models:
1) Digital selling, Coaching, writing business, blogging = All virtual business and online transactions (may include over the phone transactions)
2) e-bay, Amazon, ETSY, store = e-store selling physical products online either wholesale or dropshipping
3) Bricks and Mortar business i.e shop or van = selling physical products offline and/or online You can look at starting a Bricks and Mortar SHOP HERE
My advice is always start with looking at the various business models to see which might suit you the most. But this comes after looking at what you may wish to sell. Look at your passions, skills, experiences, where others complain, what other say you are great at etc. For me it was about finding my passions and working from that point. If you wish to sell on ebay and/or amazon or ETSY to get used to selling this may be a great place to begin if you wish to sell physical goods. This way you can get used to the business model and how transactions work. Then you can decide where you would like to take your business. This is so that you can gain invaluable experience selling and understanding how selling works on these platforms.
This will give you the edge and the knowledge and ability to succeed way faster with an online store.
As a small business coach who has a diploma in Online Business Growth I help people to create sustainable business models whether it is online or offline incorporating e-business into the system which is exactly what I have talked about here. Today there are literally many business models out there which stem from this idea so, no matter what your passions, skills, experiences, talents and interests are you can find and create a business to suit you and your lifestyle.
There are business models such as…
An INFO DEALS WEBSiTE – such as ‘Go Compare’
An Ecommmerce website – such as E-bay or Amazon Store and using Shopify or Big commerce to set up your own store
Selling online courses – such as Tony Robbins or other entrepreneurs sell
Coaching, training, consulting – such as I do
Writing – such as I do
Offline business with e-commerce list building and online prescence – such as almost all stores today
Whatever business you intend to look at deeper you must also look at list building. I won’t get into that here and now but jst know that ALL business will grow much healthier with a list building presence. Just subscribe to some lists to get an idea of what they offer you so you can see how they operate.
The key is to start by establishing where you wish to focus.
The great thing about this is that you can sculpt something around what you love to do the most. With the e-bay business model you can literally start right now by selling things around the home and build up your experience so that you know what you are doing and as you are building your ebay business you can start researching niche markets that you may wish to work in. Some markets are saturated these days so it takes some work to understand how to be a dominant seller in a popular area OR branch off into a sub-niche maybe. This all comes with taking action and learning.
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READ THIS ARTICLE ABOUT WORDPRESS VERSUS SHOPIFY If you are thinking of starting an online shop
ebay, Amazon and ecommerce are simply ways of having a business online in the form of a shop or store. Now, you can either use a drop shipping system whereby you would sell goods that you do not stock. You get a percentage of the sale price but the product owner sends it for you. OR you can use a wholesale model whereby you buy stock ‘wholesale’ or in bulk for a good price either in the UK, USA or Asia and you then ‘mark up’ the price of the stock as you sell it. But it all starts with ebay – So it is really a matter of getting familiar with this platform its processes and systems initially.
You have to know ‘what to sell’ and what your repeat custom is going to be. For example, if you sell consumable goods then you will want customers coming back to you time after time as they like you and trust you. If you sell digital goods, you have to bear in mind that things can go wrong so you have ensure that you are covered and you are prepared for returns and how to deal with them. The profit margin with consumables will be alot less than a digital item for example but, there are good points with both of these areas. There are many other areas but generally I wanted to show you examples of the two major types of selling online.
Of course you can sell ANYTHING ONLINE that you sell OFFLINE! I have sold a great variety of things online and offline but today I spend time teaching and coaching my clients how to find profitable niches and markets.
SIMPLY GET TO KNOW YOUR MARKET!
Recently I had a dictaphone by Panasonic and I nearly threw it away. As it turned out it was a VERY RARE ITEM. It was worth around £1000. Most of these items are usually around £20-£50. Was I shocked? YEAH OF COURSE! What I am saying is it pays to know what you can make money with and what the WORTH OF ITEMS ARE. YOU MUST KNOW what your items are WORTH and you can then start looking at volume versus value. You could sell in volume so many items to create good margins OR you could sell more rare or exclusive items and sell less for the same margins.
So, What Would Your Ideal E-Commerce Store Look Like?
What can you imagine yourself selling? WHY?
Ask yourself questions such as:
1) WHAT WILL MY ROI or RETURN ON INVESTMENT FOR EACH ITEM?
2) IS THAT ITEM IN A HIGHLY COMPETITIVE MARKET? TOO COMPETITIVE?
3) WHAT NICHE IS MY PASSION, SKILLS, INTERESTS ETC?
4) WHERE WILL I SOURCE THE STOCK FROM? UK OR ASIA OR BOTH?
5) WHAT HAPPENS IF I NEED TO RETURN ITEMS?
6) DO I DROPSHIP OR HOLD STOCK – Dropshipping is a great way to get started with little costs as you will receive a percentage of what you sell without holding stock
7) IS WHAT I SELL IN TREND/ SEASONAL/ DOES IT MATTER?
8) DO I HAVE MY OWN PRODUCTS?
9) COULD I CREATE THINGS TO SELL?
You have to consider many things and I suggest that go to E-bay first of all to start an account and begin selling things around your home.
With ebay – On average – most people have around £3000 of stuff in their home ‘that they don’t need’ So GET RID of some stuff and build up a great rating to start with. You also really want to get 100% record from buyers/reviewers on your site to build trust and to associate you with trust and quality. Customer service is VITAL AND KEY TO YOUR FUTURE SUCCESS in all business. Always be sure to refund people and keep them happy so that you keep a clean record. I cannot tell you how important it is to start off with a 100% record in your ebay business. With all areas of ebusiness you will have people complain and this is a part of life, but you can learn from this and seek to improve. So, it really pays to learn how to improve as it can help you to work with the customer.
Now I mentioned that you begin to either CREATE YOUR OWN PRODUCTS or outsource items from drop shippers and from other wholesale places and sources and so my advice would be to research others who are doing this now. Connect with those who are creative and see what they are doing. You may even be able to find products on e-bay or Amazon and sell them for more profit elsewhere or ‘flip’ them meaning that you buy them and re-sell them for more. Your goal is to create your own store or at least a great e-bay and/or Amazon site that it trusted and respected and of course where you earn a monthly income to replace your job.
REMEMBER: ON AVERAGE WE HAVE AROUND £3000 OF STUFF IN OUR HOME. ISN’T THAT COOL! THAT’S A GREAT WAY TO START AN E-COMMERCE BUSINESS. BEGIN WITH SIMPLICITY.
WHAT TO DO NOW ABOUT E-Commerce?
1) First off start the eBay Business BUILD IT UP AND HAVE INTEGRITY WITH YOUR SERVICE
2) Then Research Items on a daily basis to get clear on what you could be the AUTHORITY IN!
3) Explore other sellers and see what they are doing and look at Great shopify Sites for Your E-Commerce Store
4) GET HELP! IF YOU NEED BUSINESS COACHING ON E-Commerce THEN FIND AN EXPERT.
5) CHECK OUT EBAYs CATEGORIES AND LOOK AT WHAT’S HOT. FIND A NICHE THAT YOU CAN DOMINATE
6) MAYBE MOST IMPORTANT! TAKE ACTION TODAY! NOTHING HAPPENS BY READING ALONE GET STARTED
SALEHOO WILL HELP YOU SOURCE PRODUCTS TO SELL
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USE E-BAY AS THE TRAFFIC AS IT IS A WELL KNOWN BRAND. THINK ABOUT IT, ALL YOU NEED TO DO (to start with) IS PRESENT YOURSELF AND YOUR GOODS. BUT, E-BAY MAY NOT BE HERE IN ONE YEAR or so, therefore IT IS ALSO IMPORTANT TO HAVE YOUR OWN STORE in the end.
That’s all you need for now but I do teach niche marketing training and setting up an ebay store as a part of my coaching, so if you are considering a new career online then I can help. In The MEANTIME GOOD LUCK WITH YOUR NEW e-commerce VENTURE.
Lastly: DON’T THINK THAT YOU ALWAYS NEED TO LOOK OUTSIDE OF YOURSELF to build a hugely profitable e-commerce store. YOU MAY A GREAT IDEA FOR SELLING AND CREATING YOUR OWN PRODUCTS. IF YOU ARE CREATIVE AND CAN PUT TOGETHER PRODUCTS TO SELL THEN DO IT. THIS WAY YOUR NICHE IS YOUR NICHE. IT IS COMPLETELY UNIQUE AND THEREFORE YOU WILL BUILD A GREAT FOLLOWING IF THE PRODUCT IS SOUGHT AFTER. This is where research comes in.
GREAT E-commerce RESOURCES:
TRY ALIBABA.COM FOR A HUGE VARIETY OF GOODS TO SELL
> STUDY EXPERTS IN SELLING e-COMMERCE GOODS
> LOOK AT THE WHOLESALE FORUM FOR TIPS AND TRICKS
> LOOK UP TERAPEAK AN EXPERT IN SOURCING POPULAR PRODUCTS
> STUDY AMANDA O’BRIEN AN E-BAY AND AMAZON EXPERT
> LOOK AT SALEHOO FOR SOURCING PRODUCTS
> Start a FREE SHOPIFY OR BIG COMMERCE ACCOUNT
Remember also that you can find these sources at my site and at Google.
Hopefully now you have some better awareness of which kind of area or business model you may wish to look at deeper. If you need some help with all of this then consider getting my help as I have already helped thousands of clients from all over the world to create sustainable and fast growing online businesses and scale them up fast with minimal costs.
FOR 1ON1 Small Business e-business or e-commerce COACHING WITH GREG DE TISI CLICK HERE