What is Online Trading?

Garry Crystal

There are many major benefits to online trading. You have the ability to expand your business for a relatively low cost. Online trading has become big business, and the Internet has helped many businesses achieve a great deal of success. Internet companies such as Amazon.com and Ebay use online trading as a primary means of business and have had great success in doing so, but there have also been many businesses that have tried and failed with online trading.

Internet companies such as Ebay use online trading as a primary means of business.
Internet companies such as Ebay use online trading as a primary means of business.

The first thing to consider is whether or not your business will benefit from online trading. In recent years, there has been a tremendous amount of hype surrounding ecommerce. The hype seems to have finally calmed down, and the speculation over whether the Internet is a viable way to do business finally seems to have been established. If your business takes orders over the phone, by email or by fax, then online trading may certainly be a viable option for you.

Some people have started businesses that sell exclusively through eBay.
Some people have started businesses that sell exclusively through eBay.

If you have competitors who are trading online while you are still using more traditional methods, then you may certainly be losing business. Before you invest any money on online trading, ask yourself a few questions. Is the product you sell priced in a consistent manner? Do your products normally have a quick turnover, and do you already have a list of products in a sales list? If you can answer positively to these questions, then you may benefit from online trading.

Another aspect to consider is the volume of your business. You will need to consider whether your current sales will be enhanced by online trading. Look at competitors who currently trade online and see if there is scope to undercut them on products. If you intend to have larger volumes of sales, they will need to be offset against end solutions such as delivery costs.

One aspect of online trading that needs to be put into place at the beginning is an online credit payment facility. Orders can be taken via the Internet and then processed offline, but it will speed up the process to have an automatic checking and clearing facility in place. This system will tell you immediately whether credit cards are valid and funds are available to pay for your product.

Another system to consider is online stock management. This will tell you if you have enough stock in place to complete orders, or if more stock needs to be ordered. Both these systems incur costs, and they may not be viable if your margins are tight. Credit card orders also require security such as encryption. There are fairly cheap, reliable software packages that include all of these features on implementation.

Online trading is not something you should enter into lightly. You should weigh whether it is a viable option and look at the long-term prospects. The initial costs of implementing an Internet shop may be offset by the fact that you may now have customers from all over the world who are able to trade with you.

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