Small Business E-commerce Technology Company Introduces Features Designed To Reach Markets Beyond eBay

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New Web 2.0 e-commerce technology company FastCommerce.com announces the introduction of Google Products as a part of a larger strategy of giving on-line businesses access to a growing number of new marketplaces beyond eBay. While eBay offers small business entrepreneurs access to an immense market for on-line sales, it also presents continual challenges to small companies running on razor-thin margins. Recent changes in policy at the on-line auction site highlight the risks of running an on-line business with only one marketplace strategy.

Today's small business e-commerce systems must also power the merchant's marketing. It is publish or perish, to search engines, shopping comparison sites, or retail search sites. On-line sellers do not have the skills or the time to do this themselves. They have to have an enterprise platform that connects all the dots for them.

New Web 2.0 technologies offer access to a growing number of marketplaces for those on-line sellers who have traditionally relied on one large marketplace vendor to drive sales. For FastCommerce.com, the introduction of Google Products is just the first step in powering merchant access to these new and growing opportunities.

eBay has proved to be a large marketplace for selling on-line, but it continues to present challenges, even disruptions, to the small business entrepreneur looking to succeed in on-line sales. There are upfront fees for listing products, an expense regardless of whether the item is sold. eBay sellers also go up against a large number of direct competitors, which drives down profit margins for the majority of sales. Low margins compete with incremental expenses and changes in policy to make it more difficult for many small companies to build a profitable on-line business.

Moreover, eBay is only one marketplace at a time when the number of successful market venues continues to proliferate. The introduction of Google Products as well as Google Check-out highlights the need for moving beyond a single market strategy for increasing sales. The challenge and the opportunity for on-line sellers is to have access to an inexpensive single-system e-commerce application that can power both market reach and on-line sales.

E-commerce technologies that are market neutral enable the small business entrepreneur to compete in an array of marketing venues. FastCommerce.com automatically publishes its merchants' product catalogs to Google products. Or again, FastCommerce.com offers both Google Check-out and PayPal. With FastCommerce.com on-line merchants are not fettered by the strategy of a dominant industry player.

For example, David Pogue of the New York Times, in a review of Microsoft's revamped Office Live, points out that its integrated ad-word campaign tool is limited to only two search engines. As he writes, "You can place ads on Microsoft's search sites and Ask.com, which together represent less than 8 percent of search engine popularity. If you are going to advertise, you'd almost certainly prefer the exposure of the Big Two- Yahoo and Google- but they are not available through Office Live."

Small business entrepreneurs need access to inexpensive, single-system ecommerce applications that are easy and quick to set up, easy to use, and which let their users grow their business without growing their costs. For a low fixed monthly fee, FastCommerce.com allows a merchant to sell 2,000 product without transaction or user fees: small business entrepreneurs can grow their business at a fixed price with no hidden or incremental charges.

Finally, new Web 2.0 e-commerce technologies like FastCommerce.com offer an array of features that can power the whole of their on-line business. Gone are the days when a simple, cheap "shopping cart" can take small businesses to the next level. According to FastCommerce.com CEO Charles Han, today's small business e-commerce applications have to encompass all aspects of running a business, including detailed reports and analytics, order and customer management systems, and more. As he states, "It has to be enterprise in scope but with a small business price."

No less important, Han argues, "Today's small business e-commerce systems must also power the merchant's marketing. It is publish or perish, to search engines, shopping comparison sites, or retail search sites. On-line sellers do not have the skills or the time to do this themselves. They have to have an enterprise platform that connects all the dots for them."

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Gregory Peterson
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