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Plan Your Way to Web-based Business Success

Aug 17, 2007
One of the most popular Internet myths claim that building a web based business is easy: all the customer has to do is point, click, and buy. But in reality, successful e-commerce is far more complex and unlike any other web site project you have tackled in the past.

Before that first cyber buck finds its way into your bank account, you need to do considerable research and planning. To get started you can begin thinking about all the issues that need to be addressed before you can even put together a successful online business plan.

Planning ahead will not only save you redevelopment time down the road, but it will also help you make educated decisions as you choose the right e-business solution for your company. Before your can even select the right setup for your e-business, you must determine exactly what you need to be competitive online.

Most likely you will need some software to help you manage your products, your promotions, your customers, and their orders. You may also need some additional programs to handle the tax, shipping, and payment processing of your orders.

A number of off the shelf solutions have grown over the past few years that give you these core features and allow you to plug-in other software modules to handle the complexities of taxation, the varieties of shipping options, and all the popular forms of payment. Just pick a design and fill in your products and you are ready for business.

As soon as you are building your plans you should construct a requirements document. At this point it is a good time to get the attention of all the corporate departments involved. That way everyone's input is in at the beginning, instead of too late. All ideas and potential conflicts are confronted early.

It is hard to know which technology solution is good for you, until you have a detailed list of requirements that you can compare the solutions against. Therefore, you can choose an e-commerce platform that will deliver your goals to the online customers. You should also take the chance to plan for where the company is going to be in 2, 5, and 10 years. If you set your solution up correctly now, when your company grows and expands its range for service, you can simply add to the original foundation and not throw out your work.

More specifically your plan should answer the questions of how the products will be presented. The organization of how you would expect your customers to shop online, pretty cautiously when looking to order an automobile. The cars may be searched for through keywords or features.

You will need a tool that can make changes to the product you offer in real time. At this point the Internet is not reliable enough to take this high of priced orders safely so consumers will only be able to compare features and make requests online.

Orders that arrive on the server need to be relayed to the fulfillment center quickly so that you can pick, pack and ship the product before the fed ex truck leaves the dock at 5:00pm. Also let customers know the status of their orders so they don't need to call the company. A third party host may be a wise choice, as you don't want to stay with the orders around the clock. All these factors and many other make up a successful web based business.
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