Smart Ideas

Internet Commerce

Selling on the Web has its challenges and limitations. Yet entrepreneurs involved in Internet commerce, and particularly those with existing businesses who are using the Web to supplement revenues, are finding it significantly spurs sales.

"One of the biggest benefits of [Internet commerce] for small companies is that time and space go away," says Barry Parr, director of e-commerce strategies for International Data Corp. (IDC), an IT research firm in Framingham, Massachusetts. "You can be available to people 24 hours a day and reach new customers around the world."

Books, music, computer hardware and software, and travel products and services are the hottest sellers online. But if you think adding commerce capabilities to your existing Web site is good enough, think again. "You have to heavily market and promote your [Internet commerce capabilities]," insists Parr.

If you're willing to make the necessary commitment, all indications look good: The number of people with PCs, the percentage of people on the Net, and the amount of money they're spending online all continue to swell. According to IDC, 34 percent of consumers purchased something online in 1998-and that number is expected to jump to a whopping 47 percent by 2002.

Contact Sources

FBK Enterprises, (401) 433-5811,

Jupiter Communications, (212) 780-6060,

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This article was originally published in the January 1999 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Smart Ideas.

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