Book Excerpt

E-business demands a new wave of respect from today's brick-and-mortar entrepreneur

the electronic brochure stage demands a shift in mindset and strategy. Rather than feeling satisfied with merely having a Website, he or she focuses on creating additional value for clients through a full-scale Internet presence. The company’s eCRM (Electronic Customer Relationship Management) growth strategy might include adding electronic order tracking, live help for sales or customer service via chat rooms or return phone calls, making purchase suggestions via e-mail based on previous orders, and maintaining a server-based profile and wish list for regular Website visitors.

The key to mastering eCRM is personalization. In addition to creating an engaging and safe environment, an entrepreneur must constantly analyze the customer and his or her transactions to further develop the company’s marketing and Internet strategies. While it’s important to fully understand a company’s target audience, technology now allows even the smallest business to pinpoint the preferences of an individual customer. A successful e-business manager realizes that not all site visitors view the company’s Website for the same reasons. Previously, sophisticated CRM technology tools were typically reserved for larger companies with big budgets. Thanks to Web audience measurement systems and the proliferation of application service providers (ASPs) targeting small business, smaller companies now have access to information and programs that help convert Website traffic into revenue and simplify marketing decisions.

MINIMIZING INTERNET USER SECURITY CONCERNS
Past issues of BLACK ENTERPRISE have addressed ways to protect business information that is stored at your business or maintained on your company’s computers. Information that is transferred over the Internet has an entirely different set of problems. Customers’ greatest apprehension about doing business online is the fear of having their contact and financial information stolen or misused.

Due to the proliferation of spam, hacking, and Internet fraud, Website visitors are demanding to know how their information is being protected and used. To help e-business managers build online consumer trust and to protect consumer privacy, a number of privacy seal programs, like TRUSTe (www.truste.com), have been created. TRUSTe is a nonprofit organization that offers a licensing program that allows approved businesses to carry the TRUSTe seal–or “trustmark”–on their Websites, adding credibility to the sites and sending a message to visitors that the company has taken measures to protect visitor and client data. To carry the seal, a Website owner must complete a license agreement and self-assessment form, create and post a privacy policy on their Website, adhere to TRUSTe’s Program Principles, and pay an annual fee. In addition to providing its seal, TRUSTe also assists licensees with consumer privacy complaints. Other privacy seal programs include PriceWaterhouseCoopers’ BetterWeb Program (www.pwcbetterweb.com) and the Better Business Bureau’s Online Privacy Program (www.bbb online.org/privacy).

If your Website uses cookies or collects Website visitor information (e.g., name, contact, or financial information) via registration or contact forms, it is important to add a clearly written privacy policy that explains why this information is being collected and how it will be used. For more information about privacy policies and protecting customer data, check any of the aforementioned privacy seal program sites,

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