What to be aware of when selling over the web

E-commerce is booming - the potential for online sales is simply too large for any small business to ignore.

E-commerce is booming - the potential for online sales is simply too large for any small business to ignore.

The low-cost move for your business

Setting up shop online can be a relatively low-cost business move, as e-commerce sites have become more affordable. The Internet offers many benefits to small businesses, including:

  • Using the web to sell to your domestic market.
  • Unique opportunities to market your company abroad.
  • Global reach – to anyone with access to a web browser and an Internet connection.

There are a few concerns you should be aware of before diving headfirst into the world of universal sales via the Internet. Some we’ve outlined below.

Test the market

Selling online can be an inexpensive way to test your offering’s viability in another market. See how consumers respond to your sales pitch before moving full-scale into the country, and tailor your product or service to the target market based on actual experience.

Think of it as a trial run before you commit to a full-blown international venture.

Avoid currency hassles

One of the first stumbling blocks when doing business in other countries is dealing with different currencies. In recent years a number of online payment solutions have emerged that help resolve this problem.

One example is the online payment processing solutions of Chase Paymentech that can exchange currencies for you. You can therefore offer your services to any country in the world and receive payment in Canadian or US dollars.

Legal issues

Even when selling from a website, you may be subject to the laws of the country where your goods or services are being purchased. This is especially true of physical goods.

While the Internet can make reaching foreign markets much easier, you still need to understand the legal requirements that come along with doing business in other countries. Speak to a professional advisor with experience in this area.

Storing card data

When selling globally over the Internet, the easiest way customers can pay for your goods or services is by credit or debit card. The question for your business is: do you need to store customers’ card information?

It’s a valid question, particularly for those businesses that have regular customers – some of whom may get annoyed if they have to repeatedly input their card information for each purchase.

Liability

If you decide that your business needs to store customers’ data, there’ll be some regulations you’ll have to comply with – including being able to maintain a server and network that will keep this information safe.

Remember, if customers’ data gets into the hands of an unwarranted third party, your business could be liable.

A wider audience on tap

Selling online isn’t a magic bullet by any means. To succeed, you still need to offer a quality product and effectively present it to your customers. However, e-commerce lets companies market their products and services to a much wider audience, and allows entrepreneurs to dip their toes in global waters before diving in.

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