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What exactly is E-Commerce?

E-Commerce, or Electronic Commerce, is a general term for any type of business, or commercial transaction, that involves the transfer of information across the Internet. This covers a range of different types of businesses, from consumer-based retail sites like Amazon.com, through auction and music sites like eBay or MP3.com, to business exchanges trading goods or services between corporations. Electronic Commerce has expanded rapidly over the past five years and this growth is forecasted to continue or even accelerate. It is likely that in the future the boundaries between "conventional" and "electronic" commerce will become increasingly blurred as more and more businesses move parts of their operation onto the Internet.

What do I Need to Start an E-Commerce Site?

First of all, you obviously need a product or service to sell. Then you need a Web site. This can either be an existing Website to which you can add E-Commerce capabilities, or you can build the site from scratch.

Next you need some way of accepting on-line payments. This normally means credit cards, although there are other options for very small or low-volume sites.

Lastly, but most importantly, you need to have a strategy for marketing your site and attracting customers. This might be harder than you might think.

Can I do it by myself?

Yes of course you can, especially if your requirements are straightforward or you are on a limited budget. However, if you are planning a large site or have no previous experience, hiring a professional may well save you a lot of time and money. If you do build the site yourself, the trick is to know your limitations, keep things simple and concentrate on the priorities i.e. keeping the site easy to use, secure and reliable.

Where do I start?

The links below contain some good web-based articles to get you started. Additionally, feel free to call or email us with any questions you may have. Thank you.

E-Commerce Guidebook

E-Commerce Info Center
Web Monkey E-Commerce Tutorial

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