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The Road to E-Tailing

If you're thinking about expanding your sales, consider selling your products online, or "e-tailing."

E-tailing, when carefully planned and well implemented, has allowed many retailers to reach new markets, cross-sell, spot new trends, serve evolving customer demands, sell 24/7, and reduce store set-up costs. Some retailers find that their web site is the perfect place to liquidate surplus goods quicker and at higher margins than in their "brick-and-mortar" stores. Other retailers want to meet larger U.S. competitors head-on due to eroding market share.

So, you're aware of some of the benefits. It must be incredibly expensive and difficult to set up, right? Not necessarily.

Consider an "Application Service Provider" (ASP) or participating in a "cybermall." An ASP basically allows retailers to outsource the e-commerce technology and focus on selling. Setting up shop in a cybermall, like, may also present a great way to test out the market, benefit from existing site traffic, and open your "doors" much more quickly.

Like all aspects of your business, the "trick" is to plan and make informed decisions before you leap. Is there a market for your product online? Are your financial projections realistic? Are you aware of all the costs? How will your customers find you? Have you conveyed what makes your store unique? Will you be able to fulfill international orders? How will you handle security and privacy issues? Are you ready to export? Is your site easy to use? Careful planning will help you achieve the benefits that this new retailing approach may bring.

To help you in your planning, take advantage of the wealth of
e-business information and resources at The Business Link's
E-Future Centre. The E-Future Centre was established to help Alberta businesses understand e-business and its role in their organization. Contact The Business Link at 1-800-272-9675 or visit

The Business Link is a not-for-profit organization supported by the Government of Canada and the Government of Alberta, providing information and services to Alberta's small business community.

RMA and The Business Link are working together to provide services for the benefit of their members and clients.

Prepared by Trevor Poapst, E-Future Centre Coordinator,
The Business Link


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