The Complete E-Commerce Book

The Complete E-Commerce Book
Design, Build, & Maintain a Successful Web-based Business, 2nd Edition

by Janice Reynolds 

CMP Books - 2004

Showing how to build a successful e-commerce operation from the ground up, this text explores important considerations including customer experience, effective website design, cutting-edge programming, robust server configuration, and much more.

Make your e-commerce vision a success with this comprehensive, step-by-step handbook. Whether your company is a startup or well-established, you’ll learn how to plan, implement and operate a successful e-commerce site—from selecting the right software through fulfilling orders. The expanded and updated second edition addresses e-commerce opportunities with online auctions, peer-to-peer file sharing, and weblogs, as well as security issues and search engine marketing. Using this book as a tutorial and reference, you’ll learn how to:

  • Create a custom business model for success.
  • Select the software, hardware and hosting service that will best meet your needs.
  • Master outsourcing, building traffic, order processing, and fulfillment.
  • Choose the type of site that will fit your needs, with real-world examples of what to do—and what not to do.
  • Choose the right vendors and consultants to get he job done—and learn how to manage their work effectively.
  • Build a web site that stands out from the rest.
  • Keep your customers happy with easy access, prompt delivery, good customer service, and continuous enhancement of site quality and content.

Janice Reynolds is a writer, editor, speaker and consultant in information technology and the Internet/Intranet. Prior to starting her own consulting firm in 1995, Ms. Reynolds was the litigation manager of a large New York City law firm. She is the author of a number of books including Going Wi-Fi, Logistics & Fulfillment for E-Business, A Practical Guide to CRM and A Practical Guide to DSL. She has edited numerous technical books and led several e-commerce development teams. She also consults with established companies concerning their technical needs.

Chapter 1: The E-Commerce Phenomenon

Despite the spectacular dot-com bust of a few years ago, the Internet has markedly changed the way we do business, whether it’s finding new streams of revenue, acquiring new customers, or managing a business’s supply chain. E-commerce is mainstream — enabling businesses to sell products and services to consumers on a global basis. As such, e-commerce is the platform upon which new methods to sell and to distribute innovative products and services electronically are tested.

The Web’s influence on the world’s economy is truly astonishing. The business world knows that the Web is one of the best ways for business such as manufacturers to sell their products directly to the public, brick-and-mortar retailers to expand their stores into unlimited geographical locations, and for entrepreneurs to establish a new business inexpensively.

Thus, it is important that the executive in the 21st Century know 1) where technology stands in the business processes of his or her company, 2) how technology relates to the company’s strategies, 3) how rapidly technology changes and evolves, and 4) how the company and its business partners will respond to the changing technology.

In the high flying 1990s, many people jumped on the e-commerce bandwagon after reading the many highly publicized dot-com “success” stories. Admittedly, most were written to raise the entrepreneurial blood pressure. What many forgot, though, was the old adage: If it looks too good to be true, it probably is. They didn’t use their innate intelligence and failed to proceed with caution.

Nonetheless, the ascendancy of e-commerce has expanded the business environment so that even a small start-up can compete with well-established business names and product brands. Yet, when you consider joining the e-commerce commerce community, keep in mind that selling products and services on the Web presents a unique set of challenges. This book will help you take on those challenges.

U.S. Department of Commerce reports show that U.S. online retail sales totaled $14.33 billion during the fourth quarter of 2002. The reports further show that this amount represents an increase of 28.2% over the same period in 2001.