B2B and B2C business solutions across the internet.

What is e-business?

Simple interactive web sites allow visitors to explore your product or service range, but the final transaction is handled by telephone or e-mail.

With a full e-business or e-commerce solution you enable your business partners or customers to transact on-line by debit or credit card.

Potential customers are more likely to order something at the click of a mouse than to pick up the telephone. It is very easy for a potential customer simply to reach for their credit card and tap in the number. It might be sitting on their desk next to them. e-Business encourages this — instant, impulse buying.

And once they have placed an order, the process can be made even simpler since their details (even their credit card number) can be held on file. Repeat buying might not involve entering any information at all except a password — just click the mouse and wait for delivery.

The internet opens the whole world to every potential customer. It is possible to buy something without knowing which country it is despatched from.

You should ensure that your e-business solution is able to provide information not just in the language of your expected customers, but in their currency. And you should be able to compensate for fluctuations in exchange rates.

Your system should also be intelligent enough to allow for different shipping methods, and to charge more for overseas delivery.

Security and legal issues

In order to maintain the confidence of new and existing customers the site must be absolutely secure with encryption of all personal and card details during the transaction process.

If you are providing a service such as software which can be downloaded, you need to ensure that only customers who have paid have access to the download.

Your site should also contain your full terms and conditions of purchase, just as you would for any other kind of business transaction. Specifically, you should be able to deal with returns, faulty goods, complaints, or just money-back guarantees.

Expect credit card fraud. It will happen.

ICG are experts in providing secure e-business solutions for both B2B and B2C on-line trading.

We can structure and design your site and integrate the transaction process into your stock, invoice and order processing systems.

With ICG as your e-business partner you can ensure both your data and that of your customers is kept fully secure.

Other considerations

If you are selling a standardized service or something which can be transmitted over the internet, e-business can be extremely cheap and efficient to run.

If, however, you are selling a product, you need to deliver the product to your customer. Your prime consideration then becomes shipping products by what is effectively just another kind of telephone or mail order.

If your service is not standardized but must be customised for every person that buys it, e-business becomes more complicated still.

Do you attempt to automate the process with a long series of multiple choice boxes or forms, and create a software system which will analyse the input and hopefully come up with the right solution, or do you have an employee consider each submission and e-mail or telephone back with the answer?

It is possible to create an automated e-business solution to ask all the questions and analyse the results, but the system will never be 100% foolproof, and it is in nobody's interest to quote the wrong price.

You should also ensure that whenever your products or services change, your website is kept up-to-date, especially if there is a price change.

For further information, please call ICG on 0870 871 2606 or email sales@icguk.biz.