There are a number of ways an e-commerce website can be exploited by a business.
Direct Online Sales
The most common use of online e-commerce is for advertising, and direct marketing of goods or services online, the order and payment process being handled by your shopping cart software.
The final part of that process is you will need to pack, and arrange delivery of goods to the customer via surface mail or carrier.
Some businesses make one-off or bespoke items which because of variations in individuality could make it difficult to sell directly from a web site, you can use your e-commerce website in 'showroom' mode to advertise 'representative' images and descriptions of your products, and from there take enquiries and sales leads by email or telephone. A surprising amount of business can be generated by promoting goods or bespoke services from a web site.
Product & Sales Enquiries
Whilst the greater proportion of sales will be generated directly through an e-commerce web site without you ever talking directly with the customer, you are likely to get a number of enquiries and leads by email or telephone, prompt and efficient replies will usually result in making additional sales.
Post Sales Support
You can also use the internet to automate aspects of your customer support and reduce the number of routine customer service calls. This can be achieved by using your web site to answer the most frequently asked questions by having a FAQ system, or by putting detailed technical information about your products online.
Properly set up, an e-commerce website can be of great benefit, and generate a substantial amount of income.
Yes, running an e-commerce stopre will undoubtedly increase your workload, but the benefit of having one can far outweigh the extra work it creates.
More than a Shopping Cart! - Alternative Uses
With a bit of lateral thinking and ingenuity Zen Cart can be used for a variety of purposes other than a shopping cart..
The CMS part of Zen Cart can be used on it's own without a shopping cart to build a small website..
e.g. Poplar Farm Norfolk