Getting Started in ECommerce - Part One

Written by Heidi Richards, MS

Continued from page 1

Developing a business overrepparttar Internet requires many ofrepparttar 136317 same major activities as starting any other business. You need a business plan, something to sell such as a product or service; you need customers and you may even need financial backing to get started. In addition, you need to market products to your customers, exceptional customer service practices and many other resources just as you do with traditional bricks and mortar enterprises. They may include inventory, fulfillment, shipping banking relationships and more.

Your store will need a "merchant" account, orrepparttar 136318 ability to process your customers' credit card transactions overrepparttar 136319 Internet. This includes needing a "secure server," (security certificate such as Versign or Geotrust) so that thieves cannot gain access to your customers credit information. Your merchant processing can be as simple as accepting payments through PayPal or as complex as a custom designed shopping cart system you pay for.

Getting a Merchant Account - If you have a good relationship with your bank and they don't require a security deposit this may be your best option for setting up a merchant account. Alternatives to getting a merchant account through your bank are to go through a broker, a fulfillment house, or using third-party billing.

For more information on establishing an ecommerce presence check outrepparttar 136320 e-book entitled: Show Herrepparttar 136321 Money – The Woman’s ECommerce Handbook for Online Transactions ( If you are, or become a member of WECAI –, this resource is yours with your membership.

© 2005 - Heidi Richards

Heidi Richards is the author of The PMS Principles, Powerful Marketing Strategies to Grow Your Business and 7 other books. She is also the Founder & CEO of the Women’s ECommerce Association, International (pronounced wee-kī) – an Internet organization that “Helps Women Do Business on the WEB.” Basic Membership is FREE. Ms. Richards can be reached at or


Written by Nick James

Continued from page 1

1. A falling market - and it's nearly always falling after your first few adverts. 2. A diminishing market share due to everyone else piling-in. 3. Rising advertising rates (sometimes steeply) due torepparttar papers 'locking-on' torepparttar 136228 fact that you have a winner.

Most direct marketing successes are quick 'in and out' jobs. You know this is true, because you rarely see exactlyrepparttar 136229 same product advertised week after week, month after month and year after year. You want to be in there, and out within a few weeks. Then you can sit back and smile as everyone else piles-in and tries to emulate your success in a falling market against stiff competition. Sure, you'll lose a few orders, sure, you might have been able to milk it a little bit more before diving out, but at least you creamed offrepparttar 136230 most profitable share ofrepparttar 136231 market, and kept all of it. This is what it's all about. Don't learn these lessonsrepparttar 136232 hard way.

There is nothing more heartbreaking than making £100,000 clear profit inrepparttar 136233 first two months of a campaign, and then handing £50,000 of it back torepparttar 136234 media overrepparttar 136235 next six months of hard slog. In other words, you work hard for two months and make £100,000, then you slog for a further SIX months and LOSE £50,000. I have seen this happen time after time after time. To get rich in this business, you must develop a sense of timing. Knowing when to get in, and more importantly, knowing when to get out.

For this reason, I advise against trying to followrepparttar 136236 crowd into a product idea. Ifrepparttar 136237 papers are full of adverts for steering-wheel locks,repparttar 136238 naive player thinks: "Great. This must berepparttar 136239 thing to get into." So they rush around like crazy trying to source a product - often at too high a price because they are desperate to get intorepparttar 136240 market. They then advertise this product in a falling market which is fiercely competitive and at extortionate advertising rates (becauserepparttar 136241 papers have 'locked-on' torepparttar 136242 'success' of this product). The result is that they lose big money.

My favourite strategy for mail-order is as follows:

1. Come up with your own, unique product idea. I don't mean 'invent' a product and have it tooled and manufactured. I mean source a product which YOU believe will sell, and that you can't recall seeing in a newspaper or magazine as a mail-order item.

2. Testrepparttar 136243 product in a suitable cheap advert. If it flops, drop it.

3. If it looks good, then buy a single insertion in a big-league paper likerepparttar 136244 Mirror, orrepparttar 136245 Sun.

4. If this works, then plan a campaign which ramps up quickly over (say) three weeks, holds steady for (about) four weeks, then ramps down over (say) three weeks. Aim to be out ofrepparttar 136246 product in three months maximum.

In this strategy,repparttar 136247 'me too' brigade will only start piling-in as you are ramping down your campaign. This is perfect. If your product is 'paper and ink', then it will take much, much longer forrepparttar 136248 competition to copy you. It takes quite a while to write a book or a course. Also,repparttar 136249 general mail-order chaps aren't very keen on this type of product. They prefer plastic gizmos and 'real' products. A book or a course can have a much longer life - often years if you are subtle about it. Also, if you have a great 'back-end' product and are buying advertising at low, low rates, then you can go on for years and be untouchable. People will try and copy you (periodically, I see 'Midas' type adverts coming and going), but they soon die because they are paying twicerepparttar 136250 money you are paying, and they are not exploitingrepparttar 136251 'back-end' - where most ofrepparttar 136252 money is made.

They retire broke, puzzled and confused. They wonder at how you can possibly keep advertising when they know thatrepparttar 136253 product only takes half of advert cost. You knowrepparttar 136254 secret. You are buying distressed-rate space, and you have a great follow-up product which makes more thanrepparttar 136255 original sale ofrepparttar 136256 book.

Nick James is a UK based direct marketer and product developer. During the last 3 years Nick has sold in excess of £1 Million of products and services. Subscribe to his Free Tip Of The Week email at:

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