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To better understand what E-Commerce is all about, think about it... Want to buy a CD for your girl-friend? Send a greeting card and flowers? A car perhaps? Buy a theatre ticket or better yet, an airline ticket to Paris, reserve a hotel room, or do business with your suppliers? Then go online. Itâ€™s that simple! Itâ€™s all about doing business online â€™ the E-Commerce way.
Appropriately named, electronic commerce is the synthesis of traditional business practices with information and communication technologies. Telephony and non-networked technologies such as CD-ROM media may integrate into operations, but the core of E-Commerce is network technologies and especially open networks such as the Internet.
Simply put, E-Commerce is the online transaction of business, featuring linked computer systems of the vendor, host, and buyer. Electronic transactions involve the transfer of ownership or rights to use a good or service. The amount of trade conducted electronically has grown dramatically since the wide introduction of the Internet. A wide variety of commerce is conducted in this way, including things such as electronic funds transfer, supply chain management, e-marketing, online marketing, online transaction processing, electronic data interchange, automated inventory management systems, and automated data collection systems.
In many cases, an E-Commerce company will survive not only based on its product, but by having a competent management team, good post-sales services, well-organized business structure, network infrastructure and a secured, well-designed website.
E-Commerce is not an entirely new type of commerce. It first emerged in the 1960\'s on private networks, as typically large organizations developed electronic data interchange installations and banks implemented electronic funds transfer. Today, however, the open network Internet and particularly the World Wide Web not only present new commercial potential for large organizations, but also provide a viable entry point for small and medium-sized enterprises into E-Commerce opportunities.
E-commerce can be divided into: B2B (business-to-business), B2G (business-to-government), B2C (business-to-consumer), C2C (consumer-to-consumer), G2B (government-to-business). Most people are familiar with business-to-consumer electronic business (B2C). Common illustrations include Amazon.com, llbean.com, travelocity.com, etc.
A company that wants to succeed will have to perform technical and organizational aspects and also be customer-oriented. A successful E-Commerce organization must provide an enjoyable and rewarding experience to its customers. Many factors go into making this possible, such as providing an incentive for customers to buy and to return. The company should own the customer\'s total experience, let them help themselves and do their job of consuming. Customers should feel personal attention and enjoy a sense of community.
By virtue of its similarities, the scope of operations for E-Commerce is nearly as broad as for traditional commerce. E-Commerce includes both traditional activities (traditional marketing research) and new activities (e.g. conducting online retail in virtual malls, publishing digital information). Some of the common operations that define E-Commerce are specific business-to-business and business-to-customer interactions, such as: information exchange, goods or services trading, sales promotion and advertising, online digital content delivery, electronic funds transfers and transaction processing, electronic share trading, electronic bills of lading processing, collaborative work interaction, manufacturing management, online sourcing, direct consumer marketing, inventory management, post-sales service, etc.
E-Commerce differs from typical commercial activity in that it is influenced by the unique characteristics of the medium itself. In contrast to person-to-person commerce, E-Commerce allows for a controlled interaction between vendor and potential purchaser, where the vendor may strategically direct the customer through a series of options and processes. In e-commerce, media and tools are digital (e.g. FAQs, online forms and catalogues, electronic data interchange, electronic cash, digital payment methods). E-Commerce also differs from traditional commerce by its boundless relation to time and space. Interaction is not restricted to normal working hours or geopolitical borders.
Certain products or services appear more suitable for online sales; others remain more suitable for traditional sales. Many successful purely virtual companies deal with digital products, music, movies, education, communication, software, photography, and financial transactions. Examples of this type of company include Google, eBay and Paypal. Products less suitable for E-Commerce include products that have a low value-to-weight ratio, products that have a smell, taste, or touch component, products that need trial fittings â€™ most notably clothing â€™ and products where colour integrity appears important. Nonetheless, clothing sold through the internet is big business in the U.S.
Many experts say that as E-Commerce matures and more traditional businesses enter the electronic marketplace, it will become difficult to distinguish the E-Commerce merchant from traditional merchant. Although some firms operate exclusively as E-Commerce merchants, it appears that the greatest opportunities are for established firms that venture into E-Commerce as a means to refine existing business processes and gain new customers.
In short, E-Commerce allows to save money, stay online 24 hours-a-day, 7 days-a-week, no traffic jams, shopping crowds, carrying overloaded heavy shopping bags etc. Just more business, the easy way.
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