[thelist] does anybody make any money with e-commerce?

Steve Cook steve.cook at evitbe.com
Thu Mar 14 06:27:01 CST 2002

My first reaction to this question is "what do you call e-commerce"?

If you mean the straightforward selling of goods by mail-order via a
website, then I think that you are talking about a small subset of what is
actually e-commerce. For me e-commerce encompasses more than just selling

>From the examples you have given, I find it hard to believe that the paypal
vendors you have looked at are anything more than hobby businesses. The
majority of companies that I would expect to make money from selling good
online probably already have a thriving business, understand their market
and are looking to expand. In that respect, one can look at their
web-presence as a mail-order catalogue, or a virtual store. You should
perhaps be advising your clients that if they expect to make money from
selling goods on the internet, they must be prepared to invest not just in a
simple shopping-cart application, but also in promotion, marketing and
placement, exactly the same as they would opening a store on the

It all comes down to management of expectations. Are they prepared to invest
time and money in spreading their reputation? How much of their business are
they expecting to convert to e-commerce? What existing competition do they
have on the internet? How well does their product line convert to an
electronic medium for display purposes?

After analysing the individual company's business, their expectations and
goals it should then be possible to make a judgement of whether they should
have an online salespoint or whether the web is best used as a pointer to
their physical store.

Hope this helps.


   WapWarp - http://wapwarp.com
 Wap-Dev - http://www.wap-dev.net
 Cookstour - http://cookstour.org

> Are any small businesses actually making a profit from e-commerce?
> I feel as developer I am better off advising small businesses
> not to invest
> in e-commerce, but to provide information, and free additions to their
> products on the web, and to regard it as
> customer-relations/advertising not
> as a profitable set-up in itself.
> Richard.

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