Internet Marketing 
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Internet Marketing Diploma

E-Commerce and Your Company:
E-commerce is the wave of the future, and any company can capitalize on it. However, to be successful at it, you need to understand both the implications of e-commerce, as well as the technology behind it. This course introduces you to e-commerce. You will learn how to plan a strategy for converting your current business to an e-business, as well as learn how to build an e-business from scratch. In this unit, you will learn how you can capitalize on e-commerce. You will also learn how communications technology affects e-business.

Finally, you will learn that you need innovation and a firm understanding of e-commerce in order to start an e-business. This course provides information about e-commerce and e-businesses. While we believe that the information is valid and accurate at the time of writing, changes can occur after that date and rules and information may apply differently in various situations. The information is provided with the understanding that the producer of this course is not engaged in rendering legal, investment or other professional services. If you have specific legal or financial questions, or if legal or other expert assistance is required, you should seek the services of a competent professional adviser.

*Re-Centralizing
Organizations rapidly realized that they could again capture significant savings by re-centralizing their operations to gain advantage in areas such as data storage, call centers, hub distribution, and centralized management. The results were a more efficient use of resources and stronger overall profitability.

*Ineffective Marketing
With re-centralized operations, communications and delivery became problematic. Without decentralized sales and distribution outlets, there was no way to effectively market or communicate with the end customer. When the Internet became a tool used by the average household, the opportunity for manufacturers to talk directly to the customer opened a world of opportunity.

*Internet Marketing
Through the Internet, customers can get information about products and have these products shipped directly to their home or office. Service returns can be reduced by providing better descriptions online, thereby increasing customer satisfaction. Distribution can be outsourced to courier companies that deliver products faster and cheaper than the manufacturers' own distribution network.

*Online Services
Service organizations have also learned to capitalize on the Internet by providing online services, such as virtual brokerages that sell stock, information and news services, and integrated help services, such as the major search engines. We have passed from the technological age, where data storage and management became common, into the age of rapid, global communications.

*Greater Potential
How will this new age of communication affect your business? It depends on your company and your understanding of e-commerce. You may find that selling to customers directly through the Internet is more profitable and has a greater growth potential than a distributor network.

*Know E-Commerce
If you choose to set up an e-business, it is important that you do not rush to set up a sales Web site without understanding e-commerce concepts first. Such action may result in your company being relegated to act only as suppliers to your competitor's Web site.

*Technology and Concepts
Information providers who successfully use the Internet may find themselves out of business if they hoard or try to sell information that is freely distributed through other Web sites. So, it is vital not only to understand the technology, but also the concepts of e-commerce in order to remain competitive and strong.

*Start from Scratch
Structuring your current operations so that they are e-commerce enabled is much easier if your operations are brand new. Companies that start with a blank sheet of paper have the best chance of building operations that take full advantage of the current e-commerce environment.

*Design and Redesign
If you have ever custom built a house you know that after the first few months, there are things that could be better. The same concept applies to building or reengineering e-commerce applications. Often, the most successful new organizations are those that are designed by individuals with a variety of talent and experience that start with a blank sheet of paper.

One company that has successfully moved to Internet retailing is Sears. Sears opened an e-commerce retail presence, and also incorporated its own payment technologies (using Sears credit cards) and delivery methods through partner distribution points. They also have a Spanish Web site.

*Innovation
Sometimes you need to break rules to maintain innovative thinking. Try to avoid saying, "it can't be done" or "that's not the way it's currently done." Be prepared to choose the best ideas, regardless of their origin or history. Every problem has a solution. Determine whether a solution is feasible based on the ultimate benefit it provides to the company. *E-Commerce Applications Enabling your existing operations requires an extensive understanding of e-commerce applications. You need to understand the functionality of any new technology and how these functions will directly impact your current corporate procedures.

*Proxy Servers
For example, many organizations install proxy servers on their networks that allow multiple users to share modem pools or a router connection to the Internet. Companies understood that access to the information contained on the Web was vital to creating innovative operations. However, it did not occur to them that employees spend an excessive amount of time surfing the Web at the expense of company productivity.

*Internet Video
A second example of the application of technology is the use of Internet video to conduct online meetings. Many companies feel that video technology promotes employee communication. Unfortunately, it also uses most of the bandwidth on the corporate networks and causes them to grind to a halt. You have to estimate the impact of a new technology on your resources and decide which will be greater, the benefit or the expense.

Summary
Many investors see e-commerce as the future of business. While you can convert your company to an e-business, you need to understand both the implications of e-commerce, as well as the technology behind it. In this unit, you learned that in order to capitalize on e-commerce you need to understand e-commerce technology and communications.You also learned that we are moving into a new age of communications and that it can greatly affect an e-business. Finally, you learned that in order to start an e-commerce-enabled operation, you need innovation and a solid understanding of e-commerce.

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