Seven Pillars of eCommerce

The Seven Pillars of eCommerce Defined

A study released by research firm "Gartner Group" predicts 75% of all e-business projects will fail due to poor planning and unrealistic expectations of technology. In order for any company to conduct successful business on the Internet, a process of evaluation must be utilized. One framework to which companies often compare their business is "The Seven Pillars of E-business equation".

Pillars of eCommerce

Pillar
1) Online Marketing has been in existence since around 1994, when the first wave of mainstream companies jumped onto the web displaying their rudimentary html pages containing product information. Still today, some companies do little more than place their information on the Internet using a pleasing layout; in hopes that someone will stumble upon their site and buy the product. Many companies have not yet reached pillar one. According to the Yankee Group, only 31% of small business and 51% of medium-sized businesses in the United States have a website.

Pillar
2) Online Ordering is the process of allowing a customer to submit order information through a company website.



Online Ordering is quite easy to set up through an online web-form created in static html. When the customer clicks on "submit", the information is forwarded to a company email address. Customer follow-up and billing occurs offline through traditional business channels. Many tourism companies are at this level, receiving a request forma and even a credit card number. They think that they are now in the online business. However, all of the information has to be processed by the vendor. In reality, this is another form of fax ordering.

Pillar
3) Online Selling takes the Online Ordering process one step further whereby the customer's transaction is actually conducted online. For the ease of the customer, credit card information is recorded and through traditional business channels, the company provides goods or services to the customer. Credit card information is authenticated directly online and customers are supplied with proof of payment. The vendor receives payment direct to its Merchant Bank.

The third pillar is a stage most companies cannot seem to master. It requires sophisticated database-driven websites, intensive strategic planning, a large programming and insurance budget, and a bank that allows online credit card merchant accounts.

This is where www.TravellersMall.com and its services becomes the enabler. We provide all of this capability without the individual problems that the vendor would encounter, at a very low cost.

Pillar
4) Online fulfillment happens after the customer has been marketed to, placed an order, and the financial transaction has occurred. This step is divided into two categories:

a) physical products that cannot be distributed over the internet;
b) non-tangible products and services that can be delivered to the customer online.

Pillar
5) Online consumption is possible with only a few types of companies. It is not synonymous with travel. The closest use would be a virtual tour of the experience and the use of travel articles to satisfy the consumer's interest for information on destinations, activities, etc.

Those selling information can actually have customers consume purchases online.

Pillar
6) Online Support can be offered regardless of whether the product or service is fulfilled and consumed by the customer online. Many companies have an online support process in place. Customers can email or visit a special section of the company website for support. More sophisticated database-driven company websites will allow users to track orders online and receive support information through the use of a password or other form of identification code.

Pillar
7) Online direct one-on-one marketing. Once companies have got to this level of use of the Internet, they should be using their customer database and market data to continuously communicate and market their services to their customers. This requires planning and marketing management. An example of this would be an online last minute club targeting specific customers on seasonal or regional specials.

The power of being able to deliver direct marketing programs at the press of a key has enormous cost saving implications versus the more traditional mail or general advertising mediums. It makes the necessary analysis of the return on investment of these types of programs much more favorable.

As you can see, there are several important steps in the equation to selling online. When planning an e-business strategy, it is necessary to take these seven pillars of ecommerce (e-business) into consideration. Ask yourself these questions:

How far do we want to take the e-business equation?

How far will our business model and the nature of our product offerings and services allow us to take the e-business equation?

www.Banff.com - The Canadian Rockies Internet Guide features the e-business solutions provided by www.TravellersMall.com Visit us to streamline your e-commerce solutions today!

About the Author


Seven Pillars of eCommerce
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Stuart Martin
stuartm@banff.com
www.banff.com
403-609-7092
Banff, Alberta, Canada
"Where every day seems like a Holiday!"

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