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Lesson Two -
Ecommerce Fast-Track Strategies

Lesson Goals

         Deal with Information Overload

         Use Search Engines to Find New Ecommerce Resources

         Start with Online Auctions as The Easiest First Ecommerce Experience

         Find Local and Global Ecommerce Success Stories

Strategies for Dealing with Information Overload

With the world changing so rapidly, you need to find a way to keep track of new trends in order to know what's working for others and what's coming next. Because there's so much that's changing, finding ways to deal with information overload is a priority. Take advantage of available resources that have already summarized what you didn't know you needed to know. By using the very best online resources, you will find you can quickly be on top of major trends and opportunities.

Lifelong learning is important to stay current in a changing world. Learning to learn online can help you stay current with the convenience and efficiency of anywhere, anytime learning. As a strategy, plan to get comfortable with online learning as an essential skill.

One-fourth of all US business-to-business purchasing is done online and over 63 percent of Americans are surfing the web. Already, 86 percent of all businesses have a web presence. Currently, there are over 67 million online shoppers. Expectations are the number will double to 132 million over the next four years. Globally, there are over six billion potential shoppers who will be coming online over the next few decades.

Learning what's already working for others makes sense as the safest and smartest place to start. While risk-taking can create a first-to-market opportunity, your money is generally safer replicating proven successes. The Internet makes it easy to learn what's working for others and to follow new and emerging trends and opportunities. As a strategy, focus on what's already working for others.

There are many web tools and services available including Ecommerce sites where you won't be charged a fee. As a strategy, plan on becoming aware of the best existing free web tools and services.

As people become more comfortable using the Internet, their readiness for more and more services will grow. Anticipating what people will soon be ready for can be identified by looking at new emerging businesses and tracking their degree of acceptance and success. Women and seniors are the two fastest growing groups of new Internet users. Pioneering entrepreneurs are always exploring new emerging markets. As a strategy, become better aware of new opportunities and watch for emerging new markets!

It is easy to find market projections on the web regarding predictions about what's coming in the resources presented in this course. In short, business-to-business sales (b2b) are projected to be ten times greater than business-to-consumer (b2c) sales. Hence, there's a big rush of b2b start-ups. There are many new terms to learn related to Ecommerce. In the hands-on activities for this lesson you will learn how to find glossaries of terms, resources with overviews of key trends and insight as to what's most important.

Finding Local and Global Ecommerce Success Stories

eBay is one of the easiest ways to become familiar with simple buying and selling on the Internet. Many people who started with eBay then learned to create their own web sites so they wouldn't have to pay commissions to eBay. (eBay will also help you create your own web site on eBay!) They also learned that e-marketing is necessary for people to find your web site. The more you learn about how others found their way forward, the better you'll understand what has proven to work and what mistakes to avoid. Despite the millions of eBay users, eBay has only tapped 4 percent of the potential market so you can still enjoy major opportunities! You'll find many eBay success stories that will inspire you at the eBay site.

Just as Wal*Mart offers better selection, convenience, and prices, and caused many existing businesses to fail, so may the Internet also change the dynamics for other local businesses. While you might not sell many handmade quilts locally, posting your quilts on a web page could create a viable fulltime job regardless of your rural location. You now have advertising access to a global market that you didn't have before. The web permits tapping into specialty niche markets never accessible prior to the Internet. Numerous examples of global niche marketing success stories can be found with a little effort. Your economic strategy should be to find success stories similar to what you'd like to achieve and to learn from these successes.

Used cars are an example of a local product. Posting pictures of available used cars on the web can provide convenient local advertising. Used car databases are now available which allow any used car dealer to market cars nationally, even internationally. Using the web to sell locally, one has to take into consideration that the Internet allows everyone unlimited comparison shopping. There are a rapidly growing number of national directories showing all local flower shops, hotels, fly-fishing outfitters, and more.

Using Search Engines to Find New Ecommerce Resources

We've become a hunting and gathering society looking for the highest quality information.  In the hands-on activities for this lesson you will have the opportunity to learn to use search engines to collect your own great resources. Extensive listings of quality resources already exist on nearly any topic you can name. Knowing how to find these listings can save you countless hours of time. Creating your own high quality collections of specific resources can save valuable time for others as either a community service or as a for-profit service or product.

Search engines are everywhere. They exist in nearly every software program. Select the HELP button of the program you're using and explore how you can search for help tips on any aspect of that software program. Most web sites have their own search engine, which allows you to search for specific resources, but only within that particular web site. There are many different types of specialty search engines on the Internet. Learning a few simple basics about using search engines is one of the smartest investments in your future that you can make.

Learn to use bookmarks. Your browser allows you to bookmark all web pages you'd like to return to later. To learn how to use bookmarks, click on the HELP button on the menu bar of your browser (if you're using the Netscape browser) and find the tips on "Bookmarks" or "Using Bookmarks." (The Internet Explorer browser calls these "favorites.")

Hands-on Activities

1.      Go to http://lone-eagles.com/montpelier-story.htm and read about Montpelier, Idaho, which has local Ecommerce success stories and in particular read the section on the outstanding story regarding http://batsbatsbats.com/ - a business that started with using eBay.


2.      Review more success stories at http://lone-eagles.com/idaho-E-successes.htm


3.      Test your searching skills -Go to http://google.com/ and type in the following exact keywords in Google's search engine and hit return to see what comes up. Then, experiment with keywords and key-phrases of your own. Explore their help tips. A searching trick is to put specific phrases in quotes so only resources with that specific phrase will appear.  For example, "Ecommerce success stories."

Experiment to see what you'll find by searching for (don't forget to use quotes!)  "Ecommerce lessons," "Ecommerce tutorials," "Ecommerce courses," "free Ecommerce web pages," and e-marketing. To find Internet glossaries of terms, search for "Internet glossaries," or "Internet terms."

To Complete This Lesson

1.      Send an email to your instructor stating what strategies you are planning to adopt.

2.      Send an email to the listserv (send to isu-ecommerce@mm.isu.edu ) with the web address for at least one interesting new eBay or Ecommerce success story or resource.

Optional Skill-Builders

1.      Read the articles once without clicking on the included supporting web addresses. Then return to explore those links that interest you.

       Articles on Benefiting From Online Auctions
Read what's on the first page to appreciate what's available to learn.

2.      Review the Suggested Hands-on Learning Opportunities at

      Level One - Searching and Browsing Skills (The Power of a Self-directed Learner)
Successive hands-on experiences are presented to build the basic self-directed Internet learning skills for web browsing, cut-and-paste, and using search engines to learn anything from anywhere at any time.

3.      Explore eBay at http://eBay.com/

o        Review the Site Map for tutorials on using eBay. Find and review the tutorial on uploading an image.

o        Research prices for something you might buy, or similar to what you might want to sell.

o        Select "My eBay" to create your own eBay page for keeping track of items you've bid for, or are selling. Do this to see what you can learn in the process.

o        Buy something from eBay or Amazon.com (Amazon offers free Ecommerce web sites called Z Stores, which you should locate and explore.)

o        Self-assess how you handle frustration when exploring a new web site. Are you patient with yourself? You should make a point to take breaks when stuck or frustrated and return when refreshed to continue "noodling around." You'll find your skills for discovering things will continually improve if you spend the time exploring.

o        As a strategy, ask people in your area who already have experience with eBay to show you how they use it. Whenever you can learn from others locally, do so.

o        Note: The book "eBay for Dummies" is available at http://amazon.com/.