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Are You Really Ready For E-Commerce? 
whatUseek Weekly Contents
1) Article: Are You Really Ready For E-Commerce? 
2) Article: Write For Publicity - Great Source For More Traffic
3) Contest: Enter To Win - Your Ad In 3 Issues ($108 Value!)
4) Weekly Marketplace: Exceptional Products and Services
5) Article: It's Hard To Find A Good Granola Bar (lesson in marketing)
If you have an informative article that you would like us to feature, please email your article to If we use your article, a link to your web site will be featured as well.
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Editor's note: I found this article very interesting, as the author plays Devil's Advocate and asks questions that I'm sure not everyone asked themselves before opening up shop on the Web.
Have You Covered ALL the Bases?
After watching and hearing all those stories about Internet successes, you have decided to try your luck at e-commerce, too. After all, you have a product that seems to be unique and should appeal to a broad range of global consumers.
Rather than making the mistake of rushing into this venture, you have taken your time to do your homework and research on the elements crucial to a successful site.
Methodically and carefully, you have read and followed the many published suggestions. The wording on your site is clear and concise. You have established privacy and return policies along with full information about who you are and where you are. Merchant accounts are in place so you can accept on-line credit card orders as well as mail-in orders. Your home page is simple and uncluttered; your site loads quickly and is easy to navigate. All pages are tested and retested to ensure there are no problems. Even color selection and logo shape has been given careful consideration. Your site is registered with every possible search engine, your URL is simple and easy to remember, and you are actively trading links with other sites for added promotion. You have plenty of your products on hand ready to ship along with quick, easy access to more as needed. 
Your site is set up according to all the rules and you are ready to be successful, right?
In a word, NO!
Shipping a physical product involves so much more than does one sent over the Internet. Tangible items versus intangible or service items have their own unique problems. These problems are negligible when shipping locally or within one's own country, however global shipping can create a paper blizzard of nightmarish proportions. 
Before you have disgruntled customers or, worse, refused and returned products, you need to do more homework. 
If you only intend on shipping your product to specific areas, have you made that clear on your site?
What kind of delays will international customers experience in receiving their purchase?
Who is responsible for the customs charges, import and excise taxes at destination points? If you are, have you made an allowance for that expense? If the customer is, have you clearly stated that on your order form? No one likes expensive "surprises"!
Do these extra costs make your product too expensive for consumers?
Another kicker may be that your product might not even be allowed into some countries! If it is, there may be restrictions in terms of how it is packaged or how the packaging is worded. This could translate into multiple versions of packaging to accommodate the variety of requirements and, again, add huge costs that you may be unprepared for.
Are you aware of, and have access to, the correct forms needed for international shipping? Are you able to complete all the required forms or do you need a broker to handle this phase?
What about packaging materials? Have you allowed for the added costs and do the materials meet shipping standards? Will your product arrive intact? 
Is your product time sensitive? This will determine whether you can use the more economical postal route as opposed to the courier services. In some cases, certain international courier services are limited, or do not meet the high standards you are accustomed to receiving on a local or national level. Again, have you made cost allowances for these costs or will this price your product right out of market contention?
Are your international customers aware of currency exchange rates? It may be of benefit to have a direct link to a site that displays constantly updated currency values rather than relying on the "guess" theory. This way your international customers can quickly relate to your product's price in terms of their own currency.

Are these questions intended to scare you off or make you believe that you really don't have a good idea?
Not at all! 
At first glance the international scenario appears too daunting to challenge, however as you continue your research, you will find the answers that readily work for your situation. 
In an ideal situation, it would be wonderful if all the answers could be included here and now but, depending on where you live, requirements may differ and what works for one country may not in another. 
It is important though, that you are aware of possible and probable pitfalls so that you can avoid them and conduct your business smoothly. The last thing anyone needs is a mini version of an international "incident"... and pleading ignorance seldom works.
*********** About The Author *************
Adventure Book Publishers

Designing a great website is only the first step towards creating a successful web presence. In order to succeed, you must develop a steady stream of traffic to your site. The first and most important step is getting your website listed in the search engines. Keeping your website ranked in the top 30 positions is a never ending battle and shouldn't be solely relied upon for developing traffic. 
If you've been on the Internet for a while you've probably subscribed to a few ezines (newsletters). Most ezines will include a feature article written by the editor or a guest author. If you've ever read an article written by a guest author then you've probably noticed, at the end of the article, a few lines of text about the author, referred to as "bylines" or "resource box." 
The writer gives the publisher permission to publish their article free of charge in exchange for the publisher including the author's bylines. The bylines are basically just an advertisement for the writer. They usually contain a couple of lines about the author and a web address.
By writing articles and allowing them to be published free of charge, your articles will have the potential to be viewed by millions of Internet users. They may be published by several ezines with subscriber bases of a few hundred to several thousand. In addition, they may be displayed in ezine archives or on high traffic websites. 
Most ezine publishers prefer short articles between 500 and 750 words. Short "tip" articles of just a couple of paragraphs are also very popular. Articles should be formatted to 65 characters per line or less including spaces and written in short paragraph sections. 
When you begin writing your article, avoid using your standard word processing programs, as they do not allow for proper formatting. Instead, use a text editor such as NotePad. It should already be installed on your desktop. 
When you begin typing your article, use a hard carriage return (hit enter) when your text reaches 65 characters, including spaces, and leave a space between your paragraphs. This will enable the publisher to easily copy and paste your article into their publication and significantly increase your chances of being published.
Most publishers receive many article submissions each week and only select a few to be published. Here are some basic guidelines to help you increase your chances of being published:
- Your article must be properly formatted. Publishers won't take the time to format your article, they'll simply use another article that is properly formatted
- Keep your bylines down to 6 lines or less
- Select a descriptive title to intrigue your readers
- Use proper grammar and spelling
- Avoid articles that are nothing more than a sales pitch, as your chances of being published will be minimal 
- Avoid referring readers to an affiliate URL as this will make your article appear to be biased and untrustworthy 
- Write your articles with a sincere desire to teach and inform. Talk to your readers and share your expertise

Once you've written your article, you'll need to develop a list of publishers that may be interested in publishing it. Visit the following site to help you locate ezine publishers:
Search through the database for publications that may be interested in the type of article you've written. Contact the publisher and ask them if they accept article submissions. 
Here are some additional promotional resources to help you get published: 
Writing and distributing free articles on the Internet will be one of the best promotional decisions you'll ever make. Not only will it provide you with free publicity, but if your articles are good, you'll become a trusted professional in your area of expertise.
*********** About The Author *************
Shelley Lowery is the Webmaster of - A complete resource portal for the Internet entrepreneur. The site assists the entrepreneur in developing a serious Web presence by providing a wealth of free information, resources, tools and content.
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5) IT'S HARD TO FIND A GOOD GRANOLA BAR (A lesson in marketing)
My standard breakfast is a granola bar and a cup of coffee. This may not make me an expert on granola bars, but I do know what I like. In my (humble) opinion, the Little Debbie company makes the best tasting granola bars, PERIOD. In particular, their Fudge Dipped Chocolate Chip granola bar is fantastic.
The problem is they're extremely hard to find.
This gets to our real subject. MARKETING.
I stopped for gas at a mini market this week while out of town on business. In search of breakfast, I browsed to see if it was one of the rare markets where Little Debbie products are sold. Lo and behold, not only did they carry Little Debbie products, they even had Fudge Dipped Chocolate Chip granola bars. As I pulled out of the lot savoring my favorite breakfast treat, I thought to myself, "I would happily pay 89 for this." You see, someone at the Little Debbie company has the idea that they can't charge more than 25 each for their products.
Therein lies the problem. At 25 each, nobody can make any real profit on the product. The mini market can't make much. There is not much room for the route salesman that stocks the racks to make any commission either. Even the Little Debbie Company can't make much profit on a 25 sale. I am convinced that is the reason so few stores carry them. If look at all the other granola bars, you will see prices from 69 to 89 or more and they aren't as good as my favorite (not even close).
What does all this mean to a bunch of Internet business folks?
1) Make a good granola bar. In other words have a quality product.
2) If you have a great product, don't under price it.
The important thing to realize is that once you have a quality product, be sure you charge a quality price. Like the granola bar, you have to charge enough that you and your affiliates can make a good profit. If you have the best granola bar, people don't mind paying a reasonable price to get it.
Low price = low profit = not many affiliates = low sales volume = not enough money in your pocket at the end of the month.
The point to remember is this:
It is so very hard to find a good granola bar. Why?
Because they just don't charge enough for ANYBODY to make any money.
*********** About The Author *************
Gary Rudder has been working as a computer network consultant for over 10 years. For time saving hints and tips for Windows 95 and 98, visit his web site
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Go to today to reserve a space for your classified ad today! Direct questions to
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