Friday, November 10, 2006

Your Home-Based Business and E-Commerce Capability

Your Home-Based Business and E-Commerce Capability
Copyright © Monique Hawkins

One crucial facet of having a successful Internet home business selling a wholesale or retail product or products is e-commerce capability. While you might focus on local customers, perhaps through your local newspaper site or a pure play classified site such as Craigslist or a local auction vendor, most of those advertisers are still going to want to complete the transaction online. Your Internet business must allow them to do that.

There are a number of e-commerce vendors that can help do that, and, in fact, small and new entrepreneurs - especially those with an Internet home business - may find that the easiest way, and the most affordable way to offer the opportunity to purchase their product or products online is by advertising it through the local newspaper. There the e-commerce vendor and merchant account has already partnered with the newspaper and the advertiser / merchant can take advantage of that relationship that’s already in place simply by placing an ad with the paper.

As an example, let’s look at the Tampa Tribune. This paper’s site has partnered with the vendor AdPay, to offer e-commerce components to both private parties and companies. Internet home business entrepreneurs and others can post their ads to the Tribune’s site, upload photos of the product or products their selling along with a description and the asking price (if they wish to include it.) Users and potential buyers can view all the ads, check off the ones they want added to their list of possible buys, can ask for more information of the seller, can make an offer to buy it, or can complete a Click N Buy transaction.

Clicking on the more information / make an offer link would display the zoomed in photo of the item along with several ways to communicate with the seller, whether it’s an Internet home business, a big company, or a private party. The information options are to ask the advertiser a question by e-mail, and to do a keyword search for other products or information by this advertiser. If the seller is Joan’s Jewelry, an Internet home business, for example, keyword searching Joan’s Jewelry could bring up all the other products Joan has for sale, but could also display last week’s article about her store opening, or her jewelry blog.

Other actions available to the buyer with this e-commerce service include an opportunity to find similar listings with one click (from any advertiser on the site, whether Internet home business, large business or private individual.); to add the item to the user’s watch list; to send the ad to a friend by e-mail; and to report the ad as inappropriate.

The small Internet home business entrepreneur, depending on the particular newspaper, would pay per click, or a percentage of the sale of the ad to the paper, or may just pay a preset ad rate. Whichever way the Internet home business pays the newspaper for the opportunity to add e-commerce to her or his business, it’s nearly always considerably less costly up front and less time consuming and learning intense than trying to set up an Internet home business merchant account and e-commerce capability on its own site.

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