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E-Commerce: Doing Business on the Internet - page 35 / 47

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Implementing an E-commerce Site

There are three general ways to implement the site with all sorts of variations in between. The three general ways are:

Enterprise computing

Virtual hosting services

Simplified e-commerce

Enterprise computing means that you purchase hardware and software and hire a staff of developers to create your e-commerce web site. Amazon, Dell and all of the other big players participate in e-commerce at the enterprise level. To consider enterprise computing solutions an organisations will be aiming to satify the following:

Virtual hosting services give you some of the flexibility of enterprise computing, but what you get depends on the vendor. In general the vendor maintains the equipment and software and sells them in standardised packages. Part of the package includes security, and almost always a merchant account is also an option. Database access is sometimes a part of the package. You provide the web designers and developers to create and maintain your site. An example of a virtual hosting service is the type of package available at Bargain Host.

Simplified e-commerce is what most small businesses and individuals are using to get into e-commerce. In this option the vendor provides a simplified system for creating your store. The system usually involves a set of forms that you fill out online. The vendor's software then generates all of the web pages for the store for you. A good examples of this sort of offering is ebay.

These are in order of decreasing flexibility and increasing simplicity.

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