Throughout the ages of our civilization, merchants have been limited to how many customers they could get to shop in their stores. Only within the past century has an organized postal service been able to expand a companies customer base through mail order catalogs and advertising. Then at the end of the twentieth century the internet and the world wide web have made it possible to offer your wares to the just about everyone in the world.
With the advent of increased security for online money transfer, the online market has become a prime selling place for just about everything imaginable. Secure Socket Layering to protect sensitive credit card data has increased the use of internet shopping by an astronomical rate. According to "Business Week" magazine, over 44% of people who use the internet do their banking online as well.
The latest innovation to increase the security of online transactions is the prepaid debit card. This new concept takes away the potential danger of having your bank account data being intercepted. You can purchase a card for the amount of your online purchase and then use its data to complete the transaction.
It has never been so inexpensive to get your product before so many potential customers before. Compared to print advertisements a company website is not only more affordable but offers a greater ability to show the user just why they would want to purchase an item. A savvy internet marketer will make the best use of the media. Since there are still many people on slow dialup connections, a business website should not
use too many flashy bandwidth intensive features on their sales pages but design them to be clean and informative.
It is not just the traditional retail merchant that has prospered from the global spread of internet marketing. The music and entertainment industry has changed its look now that so many people are willing to pay to download a music album or movie directly off the internet. Flea markets are slowly dwindling as more people use auction sites like eBay to sell their wares. With the global competition this brings, the more profitable dealers can now run their sales from their homes rather than drag their merchandise back and forth every week.
Other outlets that have grown in popularity with the expansion of the internet is in the "name your price" style websites like PriceLine.com and the HotWire.com "find the best price" models. E-mail advertising has become extremely popular. With its ability to send an advertising letter to thousands of people at no extra cost it has gained immensely over traditional postal mailings. Recent reports indicate that over 90% of all e-mails sent are advertising some product or service and has grown into a multi billion dollar industry in itself.
But with success come other inevitable concerns. With business being done all over the world, state governments especially in the United States are increasing their pursuit of the sales tax money they feel are owed to them from your online sales. While government has yet to find a reliable way to monitor and enforce their tax laws onto the internet marketplace yet, remember that even the global internet store is still a commercial venture.