Payment Solution Resources
Major American organisations like the Direct Marketing Association (www.the-dma.org) and the American Marketing Association (www.marketingpower.com) are good ports of call for payment solution resources and general marketing information. The former contains industry news and article archives, helpful marketing information and details on marketing and e-commerce webcasts, seminars and events, while the latter includes free guides and web seminars, as well as training workshops and expert input. The two sites also have business directory lists that are handy if you are searching for an e-commerce consultant for your payment solution.
Further help for your payment solution can be obtained from the Small Business Resource Centre (www.startupinternetmarketing.com), which has a number of tips and guides to marketing and e-commerce and useful and downloadable e-books that will suit those starting to consider e-commerce for their business.
The e-commerce ezine E-commerce Resources (http://ecommerce-resources.org) contains marketing and web tools, plus free and low costs software downloads and a member's area. Webmaster World magazine (www.webmasterworld.com) and Zdnet (www.zdnet.com) are both useful sources for software reviews and rankings, while Business Week (www.businessweek.com) is a useful read for information on financial market news, trends and technologies.
Of the books written on the subject of e-commerce , E-Commerce for Dummies (Don Jones) provides and easy-to-follow introduction to the topic; Janice Reynolds' The Complete E-Commerce Book: Design, Build and Maintain a Successful Web-Based Business has been praised for its comprehensive coverage on all aspects of e-commerce, and is pitched at both newcomers to, and more advanced users of, e-commerce.
Another valuable source of information is input from your own customers, suppliers and staff. Use questionnaires to find out what they think of your product or service, and give multiple choice response options to quantify your results. If necessary, set yourself SMART targets (Targets that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time conscious) that can be worked into your e-commerce marketing strategy.
More research can be gathered by spying on your competitors: you might not be able to gain easy access to their business plans or detailed statistics, but you should be able to easily find out about their goods, prices, choice, delivery times, and shipping prices. Also sign up to their newsletters (pose as an interested customer) - you'll soon find out their marketing strategies and sales promotions.