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Ecommerce is not about selling

by Claudie Clot, CEO of advancis.com


2. So, what is ecommerce? [2 of 2]

Eventually, managers will realize that a site designed to sell products is different from one designed to achieve complete customer satisfaction. How so? First of all, not everything is for sale. Information is offered to educate the consumer or customer as well as ensure that he or she is making the right decision. But more importantly, the site is designed around customer's needs. On certain occasions, a prospect will come to your site because she needs to buy your product to solve her problem. On other occasions, a prospect might come to your site to learn how to solve his problem. Your site will deliver exactly what each type of prospect needs. Sometimes it is a solution; sometimes it is advice, sometimes it might be a recommendation to look for another solution that better meets their needs. The content is different, the web site structure is different, the way a company organizes its Internet resources is different.

Take for instance, Eyewire.com. Eyewire sells royalty-free photo CDs, fonts, clip arts and other resources targeted at the desktop and Web designers' markets. The company uses a customer-driven ecommerce strategy. Consequently, the site's content and structure is largely determined by the audience's needs. Consider how the company describes its site: "More than a hard sell. At Eyewire, we understand the creative process. It's more than simply finding and purchasing the right image. It's also about inspiration and learning new ways to achieve the look you want. The Eyewire web site is filled with extras to help you get from concept to completed project. Application tips and tricks, columns on design issues, free downloads, and more. You might even find a few distractions along the way." (Source: Eyewire Single image guide). Contrast this approach with a site whose pages feature descriptions and thumbnails of photo CDs next to an "ADD TO SHOPPING CART" button.

And because achieving customer satisfaction varies from industry to industry and from business to business, so will the structure and design of web sites. Remember there are no web site templates; web page templates maybe, but no site templates.


1. Poor e-business practices
2. So, what is ecommerce?
3. A giant step towards profitability



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