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Locating The Right E-Commerce Provider - Articles Surfing

E-commerce refers to the buying and selling of goods and services on the internet. The term is interchangeably used with e-business and refers to all forms of business activities such as e-tailing, B2B commerce, intranets and extranets, online advertising or an online presence in any form that is used for some type of communication such as customer service.

As a business owner, you need an e-commerce provider to enable you to do business online. There are a zillion companies out there which provide e-commerce solutions such as web designing and hosting services. Quite likely, all of them will claim to be the best at their jobs!

This piece is intended to help entrepreneurs like you who have a problem choosing the right e-commerce provider. Using the following guidelines will help you make a better decision.

Seek professional services: Don*t depend on Do-IT-Yourself tools, as you risk wasting time and money, and the results are not guaranteed. At present, there are so many professional service providers that you are sure to find one to suit your needs and budget.

Choose a 2 in 1 provider: You might get stuck in a situation where your website requirements need hosting services support. Hence, the company you choose should be able to design your site and host it as well. Selecting such a firm will save you time and frustration and might possibly work out cheaper. You can even benefit from some design firms that offer discounts on hosting packages.

Look for models: Have a look at some of the previous sites designed and hosted by the company you are talking to. If the company has worked on websites for your type of business or industry, chances are that they will be able to work on your project with relative ease.

Assess capabilities: Sometimes your e-commerce provider may not be able to provide support for everything you want to accomplish through your website. For example, they may be unable to provide a payment gateway or a merchant account to your shopping cart. Or they may not have equipped your online store to accept credit cards. In such cases you might be forced to take help from another company, which is not an optimal situation.

Ask key questions: If you*re satisfied with the technical capabilities of several vendors, consider the following questions before deciding on the e-commerce provider:

- Is the company reliable?

- Do I get satisfactory answers to my business questions?

- Do they actually pay attention to what I*m trying to do online?

- Can they add real value by providing guidance and suggestions for improvement?

- Can we sustain a relationship over the long term?

If at least one of the vendors fares well on the above questions, then you*re on the right track; else step away and try other companies until you get what you need.

The internet is helping businesses with marketable products reach a much larger audience at lower cost, and you can*t afford to be left behind. Getting the required support from your e-commerce provider is therefore vital to your online strategy. Remember to choose yours wisely.

Submitted by:

Akhil Shahani

Hi, I'm Akhil Shahani, a serial entrepreneur who wants to help you succeed. If you like to work smart, check out http://www.smartentrepreneur.net. It's full of articles and resources to help you start and grow your business successfully.



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