The Internet offers amazing opportunities to reach new customers, expand your market reach and grow your business cost-effectively. So, has your business considered the move towards eCommerce as the next step in your business plan?
eCommerce facilitates the immediate exchange of goods and services online, with the internet now a viable and established sales channel for businesses of all shapes and sizes. By removing the traditional geographic and time barriers of “bricks-and-mortar” businesses, eCommerce enables the consumer to buy almost anything they want at any time of the day.
The July 2006 Sensis e-Business Report, recorded a staggering 53% of small to medium-sized businesses are now receiving payments through the Internet. So with such a competitive retail market, it begs the question: Why should this online market exclude your enterprise?
“We have noticed a substantial segment of new web entrepreneurs are stay-at-home mums and dads or people in their spare time looking for a flexible means to boost their income,” said Larry Bloch, CEO of NetRegistry. “Ironically it seems these “hobby” businesses are so profitable they have become full-time commercial enterprises”.
One such example of this is Simple Savings. Within two months of establishing the business in 2003, the company achieved its first years’ financial projections. Matt and Fiona Lippey’s “hobby” business had quickly turned into a profitable venture. Whist raising their two young children, the Lippey’s recently launched localised versions in New Zealand and the UK, with the US scheduled for an April release.
When asked to discuss the most challenging aspect of their business, Mrs Lippey said, “Remembering family comes first. When operating a business from home, the hardest part is drawing a boundary between the business and your family. I am a professional mother who happens to run a business, which is our sole income”. Her husband, Matt, manages all the programming and accounts, making it a perfect team.
Approximately three years ago Simple Savings integrated eCommerce facilities into their website. Ninety percent of their sales are now conducted through this online payment-processing channel, which also dramatically reduced the required manual processing hours of staff. According to Lippey, “eCommerce is a very profitable way to work”, however she advises other businesses to “grow only as you can afford to grow”. Their Australian site, simplesavings.com.au, now receives over 8 million hits per month.
When asked to provide advice for other women starting up an online business, Lippey states “For an Internet business to succeed you have to help people, isolate a common problem many people have and provide a solution.”
For each success there are also many failures and, according to Bloch, the biggest challenge for people looking to set up an eCommerce website is good advice. “There is a complex array of software tools and online services out there and most people just don’t know where to start.”
“People are daunted by the technology and the perceived expense of setting up an online store”, says Bloch. “But the truth of the matter is that improvements to shopping cart technology over the past few years mean it’s now incredibly easy to build a presentable store from scratch for as little as $39.95 a month.”
“No matter the size of your business or your budget, there is a range of tools, services and products that will enhance your businesses performance and ensure you remain competitive. eCommerce is driving a new breed of successful entrepreneur – who are working smarter, taking advantage of the efficiencies of doing business on the web and achieving growth as well as sustainability quicker and cheaper than ever before”, states Bloch.
To help start-ups grow their business online, NetRegistry offers an affordable eCommerce hosting package. “The first six months are often the hardest for any business. By providing people with the right tools and removing some of the initial set-up costs, we hope more budding start-ups will take the plunge into eCommerce.”
Call a NetRegistry consultant on 1800 78 80 82 and discuss how eCommerce can enhance your business or visit their website www.netregistry.com.au