Online business or Ebusiness (electronic business) is primarily conducted through the internet that sells products, services, and advertising. It also includes providing technical or customer support online. People reach is via the internet that can be accessed by personal computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones.
The evolution of the internet has made it an essential part of everyday life. Its overwhelming influence has radically altered the way we work, play, do business and interact with each other. Ecommerce is, therefore, growing in an unprecedented manner since our geographical position no longer has any significance on our ability to converse with one another. Moreover, due to the dynamic nature of technologies, there are immense future opportunities for online business in terms of increasing sales and revenue.
The most prominent opportunity that the internet offers is it helps you start your own business with low cost. This business can be full time or part time, a small or big organization depending on your strength, scope and reach.
Examples of Online Businesses
- Social media consultant
- Web design & development
- Professional freelancer
- Affiliate marketing
- Author or online writing
- Remote technical support
- App development
- SEO consultant
- Business coaching
- Specialized retailer
- Virtual consignment store
- Handmade craft seller
- Blog/ Magazine Publishing
- Community Membership sites
- Ecommerce store
- Review sites
How to Start an Online Business
There are a number of steps to follow for successfully starting an online business:
- Find need and fill it
- Design and build websites
- Increase traffic on websites
- Establish and boost reputation of various brands
- Increase more leads using digital media
- Register and set up domain names
- Secure your website on cloud hosting
Need of Integration of Online Business
In today’s modern digital age, there is a pressing need for the integration of online business in order to update websites as well as to regularly maintain social platforms. It is important to make sure your business is matching what your competitors are doing, while so many businesses are fighting for online space. You also need an integrated online approach for pushing conversion and establishing connections with your consumers.
Here are some reasons for integrating online business
- For creating meaningful relationship with customers
- To integrate CRM and social profile for more response
- To make employees more efficient
- Understand how to be social
- To connect supply chain
- For effective content distribution
- For greater user experience
- To create cohesive campaign
- For extra marketing channels
- Inexpensive advertising
One of the most important aspects of online business integration is to synchronize eCommerce activity and ERP system. So the eCommerce integration is the coordination between your website and accounting and inventory system. The integration enables the flow of bidirectional information between these two systems, which results in increased efficiency. For example, by integrating e-commerce and ERP system, your inventory level will automatically update in two places – at the backend when a product is sold, and at the frontend when a new product gets added to the inventory.
A fully integrated system also means inventory and pricing information is available to customers and staff in real time. Secondly, even if the demand increases, the need for additional staff is no longer required. Once the integration is achieved, your key data touchpoints like order, inventory, item, customer, and shipping/tracking and effectively communicated. Finally, a fully integrated system means you can deliver a better customer satisfaction, which leads to improved customer loyalty, followed by increased order size and sales.
Another aspect of system integration in your business is to achieve readiness in case of organizational changes. Your business must quickly respond to what is going on in your industry; whether there is a new offering from a competitor or there are changes in customers’ expectations. So integrating systems allows you to adapt to a changing environment, which in turn helps you remain competitive. System integration also leads to improved data accuracy. Since data is often used to make strategic decisions, it must be accurate and consistent. If in case your different departments get different data from your systems, it will lead to confusion and may cost you heavily.
Furthermore, system integration enables employees to achieve tasks faster, while without compromising quality. They can even access data regardless of their location or time of the day, thereby making them more productive. Also, enabling all the departments to share information seamlessly, you are encouraging collaboration and communication between your employees. This will boost visibility and transparency in your work culture.
How to Integrate Online Business
An online business requires a variety of applications that are enabled by the internet. These applications are – online marketplaces, customer relationship management, supply-chain management, procurement management, portals, enterprise resource planning, websites, e-commerce, etc. All these applications should be integrated with each other to make an organization an online business.
Online business integration consists of 3 basic ways:
#1. Component Oriented Development
Limited communication between applications happens via a small set of interfaces in order to isolate applications from each other and remain stable even as applications change. Components interact with the program to program communication using interfaces in the modular development paradigm and are able to encapsulate business logic.
#2. Synchronization and Data Consistency
The main aim of data consistency is to obtain facts from multiple systems. A different mechanism is used to synchronize data between multiple systems that are divided into two parts:
Data Movement: Move data between different systems is a way of synchronization itself. Many companies use manually to transfer data between systems such as FTP and data replication technology.
Data Access: Keeping data in one place and accessing it from multiple heterogeneous applications eliminates the necessity to synchronize data while moving it between different systems.
#3. Message Oriented Development
A new generation of middleware technology is emerging as automation of business processes increases, which is based on asynchronous communication. The basic aim of messaging is to isolate information providers so that application can be dropped, changed or added without affecting another system. It enables business processes and applications to communicate from one application to other by sending a message.
A proper integration of various processes in your online business helps in cost savings, increases the bility to scale operations and improves customer experience considerably. Also, in addition to increasing sales, an effective integration will provide a better work environment to your employees.