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9 November 2010

Marketing

eCommerce: Have You Done Your Homework

Are you thinking about setting up an eCommerce website? Do you know what it will really entail? Have you got the budget to make it look highly professional while making an immediate commercial impact in seconds?

Electronic commerce consists of trade via the internet, and it has grown extraordinarily in recent years. FDC is regularly contacted by an abundance of organisations across the UK wanting to set up eCommerce websites, without having really done their homework first. Before you take the plunge there are many questions that you must consider before an eCommerce project should take place.

How does eCommerce currently fit into your business? Are you able to provide collateral against your credit accounts with merchants to actually supply goods? Have you got terms and conditions in place with lawyers? Are you going to seek marketing plans in the future? Are you fitting in with Mastercard and Visa's PCI DSS requirements? Have you got a merchant account? Are you credit worthy as a company to get a merchant account? Then once you've launched, how are you going to market your product online?

Dale Moreton, Managing Director at FDC, says: "The age-old problem that we always find as an organisation with e-commerce sites is, number one: it's ok building the latest or greatest most amazing e-commerce platform, but if you aren't doing search engine optimisation, if you don't currently have a client base or you haven't got a mechanism - even if you're a small shop or pharmacy collecting email addresses of the people that are walking through the door - it's very, very ineffective to have an eCommerce site because there are one million other people doing it on the internet."

First off, you should evaluate the necessary marketing, transactional and legal requirement options. If you don't get it right from the start you won't have an efficient eCommerce website. Aspects such as charge backs, refunds, returns, ongoing marketing, referral marketing, below the line marketing and search engine optimisation are important factors to take into account too.

"You know if everybody could set up a successful eCommerce shop they would do," Dale says. "It's about: what's your commercial edge and how do people find you? And then all those things like legals and commercials. FDC can help and assist with the legal work, the merchant account, PayPal, we can help and assist with the whole thing but the realistic value to make a very highly professional eCommerce site is £3-5,000 for an SME. Which is really comparable for a 24-hour, 7-day-a-week open shop to the world."

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