If you want a symbol of how technology is transforming the way we conduct business worldwide, look no further than e-commerce, which refers to buying and selling on the Internet. It’s easy to forget that as short as fifteen years ago, buying books or shoes online seemed novel. Not anymore. The new digital reality is upon us. Is there anything you can’t buy online almost anywhere? The driving force behind e-commerce growth is the proliferation of tablets and smart phones, technology improvements, greater convenience, competitive prices, global choices, and bountiful product information.
Welcome to the future of transcendent selling, where there will be an obliteration of lines between the traditional old-world way of commerce and e-commerce. Soon they will merge into one seamless function, be treated the same way, and simply be called digital business. In-store retail shopping will never fully go away, but in the future there will be less of it. How will you set up your business to react? Will you be prepared? More people are spending an inordinate amount of their time surfing the Internet—sometimes not even thinking about why. That’s why harnessing these people and their buying power worldwide is the key to success for small business owners.
The problem is that many small business owners don’t have the technical know-how or capital to set up their own e-commerce platform. My book, “Exporting,” prepares you for the e-commerce revolution and how—astonishingly—you don’t have to go broke or be a technical wizard to become part of it! The end result is that you will easily and affordably export by selling online. In the 1990s, Dell became the e-commerce leader by hitting a milestone of $1 million in Web site sales per day. What the company didn’t anticipate was that its e-commerce business would grow to be one of its largest revenue-producing sources. That could be you. All the more reason to get e-commerce right from the start.
In chapter 8, I look at the growing scope of e-commerce, discuss why it is important to your business (think of the power of China’s Tmall and Taobao), and help you target your market. In addition, I give some pointers on finding a manufacturer for a product you may want to export and a primer on the ten thousand-pound gorilla: your international supply chain and how best to manage it.
Then I review an array of e-commerce platforms for your business from which to choose, while assessing what makes e-commerce sites reliable and secure for business transactions. Last, I look at how to measure e-commerce success. Depending on the stage of your business’s growth, some of these topics may not apply, so feel free – assuming you have the book! – to jump in anywhere that applies to what you are looking for. The intent of chapter 8 in “Exporting“ is to keep you focused on learning, growing, and pushing boundaries with your business.
This article is an excerpt from Laurel’s latest book, “Exporting: The Definitive Guide to Selling Abroad Profitably” published December 2013 by Apress.
Photo Credit: lyzadanger