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Online Marketing

If you want to use the Internet to widen your market without spending a fortune, read our guide on planning for e-commerce. It provides advice on how best to identify opportunities for e-commerce within your business and the solutions available. To make the most of digital technologies, build relationships with customers and persuade them to return, read our guide on how to develop an e-marketing plan.



E-commerce plays an increasingly important role in the way in which products and services are purchased.


E-commerce systems such as your website can be used to market and sell to customers, and to provide after-sales support. E-commerce can also be an important part of strengthening relationships and improving the efficiency of your dealings with suppliers and other key trading partners.

There are several different ways you might use e-commerce in your business.

Direct sales

Many businesses use e-commerce for the direct selling of goods or services online. For some businesses such as those selling software or music, the actual sale and delivery of goods can be made online. However, for most the supply of goods will continue to require a physical delivery.

If you plan to sell online, you may need to rethink many of your business activities. This is because you will fundamentally change the way in which you interact with your customers - for example, if customers place orders online instead of talking to a salesperson. You will also need to work out how every aspect of a transaction is handled - including order confirmation, invoicing and payment, and deliveries and returns.


You can use your website for pre-sales activities - exploiting the widespread use of the Internet to generate sales leads. At its most basic this can be through the use of an electronic brochure - having an online version of your promotional materials on your site. Other options include email campaigns or online advertising to attract visitors to your own website where you can promote your products.

Post-sales support

You can also use the Internet to automate aspects of your customer support to reduce the number of routine customer service calls. This can be achieved by using your site to answer the most frequently asked questions, or by putting technical information online.




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