Business tools

With so many tools available, it can be difficult to find what works for your business. In this section, we break down some helpful tools so you can find the one most compatible with your business.

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Despite the array of automated tools, more than 80% of small business owners use manual processes in their day-to-day operations.

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Ecommerce, or electronic commerce, is the internet marketplace where goods and services are bought and sold online. 

While it came about before the 1990s, it became increasingly popular in the late ‘90s and early 2000s as the internet grew. Since then, e-commerce has continued to grow. And many experts believe the e-commerce industry will continue to gain steam as more and more sales occur online and as more people gain access to the internet.

The six main types of e-commerce:

Business to consumer (B2C)

This is the most common e-commerce type and occurs when a business sells a product to a consumer.

Business to business (B2B)

A business sells a product to another business, like when a manufacturer sells parts to another business that uses those parts to produce another product.

Consumer to consumer (C2C)

This is when you buy from other consumers. eBay, for example, is a C2C site.

Consumer to business (C2B)

This is when businesses buy products or services from consumers. For example, iStockPhoto, where businesses can buy images from photographers is a C2B.

Business to administration (B2A)

This is when an entity, like the government, buys from a business. This could be a software company selling services or products for public works, licensing, asset management, and more.

Consumer to administration (C2A)

In this case, consumers sell products and services to administrations. This can include consulting, education services, and more.

Different ways to sell online

White label

White labeling, or private labeling, is when a business places its own logo and branding on a product that it didn’t produce. This is widely used in many industries. However, with this strategy, there are some legal issues to be aware of, so consult a lawyer.

Start your own brand

You can create your own product and sell it under your brand. There are pros and cons to this, but it’s a great way to have control over what you sell and how you brand your company.

Sell your merchandise directly

However you decide to obtain a product, you’ll have to decide if you want to handle the merchandise yourself or not. Depending on your operation size and the type of product you sell, this could be a great option or it could become overwhelming.

Sell through a fulfillment service

If you don’t want to manage the merchandise yourself, then you may want to consider using a fulfillment service. A fulfillment service receives your merchandise and processes orders for you. This eliminates the hassle but also takes some control away from you.

Popular fulfillment services are Amazon, Shopify, FedEx, and Printful, among others.

Setting up a fulfillment service means thorough research of fulfillment centers, cost, requirements, services provided, and rules and regulations.

Essentials for a successful e-commerce

Creating an online presence

In order to sell your product or service, you will need customers. So it’s essential that you’re building a customer base thoughtfully.

Social Media

Social media is an important aspect of e-commerce because it helps attract customers and also target ideal clients.

Sales and marketing strategy

A strong marketing and sales strategy can help you get in front of customers and launch successful brand marketing campaigns.

Communication

Many e-commerce businesses learn to master the art and science of communicating with past and future customers. In addition to social media, they do this through marketing, email funnels, and newsletters.

Website

Your business website will be an essential and central piece of your e-commerce operation. Hosting services with built-in e-commerce integration can help simplify the process.

A valuable e-commerce integration tool will allow you to easily showcase your products, accept payments, track inventory, run marketing campaigns, track analytics, and more.

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