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E-Commerce - The Wave of the Future – Simple… LOL

Selling online can be a really profitable business. We have all heard the stories. The online market is growing at a level that far surpasses the retail market.

Mar 07, 2006

By Greg Richburg, Netricks™, Inc.

Selling online can be a really profitable business. We have all heard the stories. The online market is growing at a level that far surpasses the retail market. Although the overall percentage of E-Commerce sales in comparison to the total retail market sales may still seem small, the acceleration rate is indeed enormous.

The facts do not lie:
The Census Bureau announced in February that the estimate of U.S. retail e-commerce sales for the fourth quarter of 2005 was $22.9 billion, an increase of 3.3 percent from the third quarter of 2005. Total retail sales for the fourth quarter of 2005 were estimated at $960.3 billion, an increase of only 0.3 percent from the third quarter of 2005.

Here’s the kicker. The fourth quarter 2005 e-commerce estimate increased 23.0 percent from the fourth quarter of 2004 while total retail sales increased a mere 6.0 percent in the same period.
Now as a seller of online goods myself, I understand the difficulties and hardships associated with starting an online system. So let me be the first to tell you if you haven’t already heard it, that just because you have an online store, doesn’t mean you are going to make a nickel. It is a very cutthroat world out there.

Yes the numbers look good, more and more people are indeed shopping online. But with that, so goes the competition. I got into the online business sort of by default. My company designs and develops websites. We have setup lots of e-commerce systems for clients of all sorts. And well, I just sort of decided one day that I should start selling product online as well.

I quickly learned that just because a store exists, doesn’t mean that the people will come. I remember going to the opening day at She She, the woman’s boutique in The Riverview Shopping Center. With all the hoopla of a new center and a new women’s clothing store selling cool high end goods, there were tons of people right there waiting to spend. Opening day was fantastic.
Well the opening day of an online store can bring about a little disconcerted emotional weather forecast if you know what I mean. More tears will be hitting that cash drawer then nickels for sure.

I often use this analogy with my customers, “having an online shop is like opening a store in a really dark alley without a sign.” It gets really lonely. The bottom line is that you need to either create a conventional marketing campaign, or develop a thorough online plan. And online plans do not mature over night.

The MyShopGirl.com system of websites just reached 200 sales since its concoction one year ago. 75 of those sales came this past month. That is my number one site of close to 30 that are dedicated towards selling beachwear and swimwear online. We planed and implemented an obtuse marketing program that has developed and matured over the past year and a half. Today I can say that without any conventional marketing what so ever, we can make an online e-commerce system work.

But not without a cost.

The estimate of U.S. retail e-commerce sales for the fourth quarter of 2005 totaled $26.5 billion, an increase of 27.5 percent from the third quarter of 2005. What does it take to get a piece of that pie?

A good marketing campaign takes a well thought out plan. Anyone can build a website. That really is the easy part. But not everyone can design and develop an e-commerce system that will become successful.

Do your homework.

All past articles written by Greg Richburg are available at http://www.netricks.com/news. Please address article suggestions to: info@netricks.com. And don’t forget to shop at My Shop Girl - Women's Swimwear and Bikini Store.

Greg Richburg a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer and the owner of Netricks, Inc. a network consulting, web design and hosting company located in Fresno, CA. Visit Netricks at http://www.netricks.com/. 559-222-2500.

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