Internet Related Articles
From time to time I write articles on various Internet related topics, some for just general release and others for specific organisations such as Business Link Kent.
A selection of old articles are listed below.
All the definitions you need to know.
Alongside the technology and the opportunity, there are a number of important issues that anyone planning to use the Internet should take into account.
Article written for Business Link Kent.
Some important pointers to designing a user friendly site.
The Internet (or Net) is a global network of computers with millions of users. It consists of many thousands of permanently linked powerful computers (called hosts). Anyone with a computer and modem can join this network by using a standard phone.
E-mail has revolutionised the way we communicate with employees, customers and suppliers. In just a short time, it's become indispensable for fast and efficient working.
The ease with which users can contact and talk to one another has led to the development of Usenet groups or Newsgroups - computerised discussion areas, in which anyone can take part.
Attracting customers is one thing; keeping them is another. Use your web site and e-mail to improve before, during and after sales customer service.
E-commerce can be defined in many ways, but the gist of the term is the exchange of information across electronic networks.
Selling successfully to people who browse on the Internet has many of the elements of ordinary sales and marketing, but there are some subtle differences. For a start, the demographics of people who shop on the Web can be quite different from those who stick to bricks and mortar retailing, unless you happen to be selling hi-tech equipment or gadgets.
According to an Office for National Statistics survey of businesses with 10 or more employees, nearly Â£40 billion of sales were made over the Internet in 2007, almost double those made in 2002. And people are getting more and more used to the idea that Net shopping is convenient, safe and often cheaper.
Creating an online site for selling on the Web is not enough on its own - that would be like getting a new telephone number and waiting for it to ring. To attract visitors to your web site and convert them to customers, you have to market the site. Here are some pointers on how you can persuade your prospects to visit and buy your products.
Customers put products into carts for many reasons. They may be competitors checking out your site, consumers comparing prices or finding out your trading policies or novice shoppers who find your site too difficult to use. Some customers may use your site and then place the order by telephone. Abandoned shopping carts aren't necessarily negative. Browsing your site is just like browsing a store.
If you want to get rich from the growth of the Internet at minimum risk, then invest in a reliable carrier company. People who buy in a hurry expect the goods to be delivered in a hurry too. This is great for products like music and software, where delivery can be made electronically. It's harder when you have physical goods to be shipped to the customer.
Getting no orders would be a disaster. But, believe it or not, getting more orders than you can handle can be just as bad. For every order you can't fulfil, there's an unhappy customer who won't come back. And criticism travels further and faster than recommendation.
Selling online is very similar in business terms to selling by any remote route. When a customer sends a cheque in response to a mail-order advertisement in a newspaper, they are extending the same trust as any buyer on your web site. It's a risky business for them, so you need to provide a service that makes them confident about you.
Scare stories abound and you need to be able to reassure your customers that the Web is a safe place to shop.