Why choose this course?

Develop an ability to manage commercial transactions electronically, particularly via the internet. While the course is concerned with marketing, management and processing; the primary concern is marketing. E commerce is short for "electronic commerce". It is anything concerned with doing business electronically. E-commerce includes commerce conducted over the internet, but also other forms of electronic commerce such as telephone banking, using a fax, or generating and managing accounting systems on a computer (without use of the internet). This course focuses on the internet; but covers other aspects of e commerce as well.


Is this course right for me?

This course is excellent for managers and marketing people who are good with general marketing but are not very sure about marketing on the web.

Open Learning Course -Learn E commerce by Distance Education

  • Learn to Run a Successful Business on the Internet and other E commerce tools
  • Optimise web sites
  • Optimise social media
  • Improve sales
  • Learn e commerce from qualified professionals who practice it's use every day.

E commerce obviously includes commerce conducted over the internet, but it can include other forms of electronic commerce such as mobile phones, telephone banking, using a fax, video conferencing, electronic data interchange or generating and managing accounting systems on a computer (without use of the internet).



There are eight lessons in this module as follows:

1. Introduction

  • What is e-commerce, scope of e commerce.
  • E commerce problems & advantages, security, using the internet, contract law,
  • How different electronic payment systems work (eg. credit card, bank transfer etc)

2. Success & Failure

  • What makes a web site commercially successful? Relaxing with technology, what can go wrong, site visibility, interactivity of a site, etc

3. Promotional Strategies

  • Internet differences; Internet code of conduct, marketing management, target marketing, categories of URL's (search engines, ffa’s, directories etc)

4. Optimizing Web Site Potential

  • Monitoring visitors, Ground rules keep changing, Metatags, Evaluation services, Submission services, etc

5. Increasing Web Site Exposure

  • Developing a marketing plan,
  • Promoting a site, Forms of advertising,
  • Types of Marketing
  • Affiliate marketing;
  • Free Content Marketing;
  • Drive in Marketing,
  • Buzz Marketing 
  • User Group Marketing.

6. Automating Supply of Goods, Services and Cash flow

  • Ways to process payment;
  • Ways to supply goods or services.

7. Managing Constant Change

  • Ways to keep information up to date,
  • Resource Planning,
  • Information Currency vs Cash Currency, etc.

8. Dealing with E Commerce Problems

  • Learning from mistakes (others and yours)


Examples of What You May Do in This Course

These are typical tasks you may be undertaking, with guidance and support from an experienced tutor/mentor.

  • Spend 1 hour surfing the net for Demographic information in your locality, state or country; that may be relevant in profiling a particular market sector (You are free to select any market sector that is relevant, or of interest to yourself
  • Investigate how credit cards work for a business. As a business operator, how do you process a payment; how do you get paid, and what costs are involved. How does an Eftpos machine work, and why would a business use this rather than other methods of processing credit cards?
  • In what ways would an e marketing strategy for selling motor cars need to be different to an e marketing strategy for selling books?
  • Present a plan for marketing a service or product using e commerce
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of using a PR firm to promote a web site rather than doing it yourself?
  • Investigate how to decide on the value of listings on different Search Engines and Directories?
  • Surf the net for sites, investigating different marketing types of sites such as:
    Affiliate marketing; Free Content Marketing; Buzz Marketing and User Group Marketing. Compare these 4 different sites, and make notes about how well you feel each is marketing itself and why.
  • Develop a Marketing plan for a web site that includes both on line and off line promotions.
  • Investigate how a potential buyer can determine whether it is safe to use their credit card number over the internet?
  • Develop a response to a potential customer in another country says they want to purchase from you; but insists they pay you in their countries currency; and not yours?
  • Determine the fastest way of getting a payment made by a customer to appear in your own bank account?
  • Determine different on-line services being offered by banks today.
  • Compare three different products offered electronically. Name them and then explain how you would arrange delivery of these products. Give reasons why you chose those particular modes of delivery.


Scope of E Commerce

E commerce relies heavily upon electronic transactions. Money is transferred between the buyer and seller by using a credit card, or perhaps bank to bank transfer.

There are three problems associated with this:

  1. Financial details may be illegally captured by a third party. This is illegal; but nevertheless, does happen from time to time. It has the same amount of risk involved of third parties illegally capturing financial details in a traditional transfer.
  2. Unscrupulous businesses can take payments and not deliver the goods or services.
    It is easier for a trader to commit a crime of this type; and more difficult for a customer to prevent a crime of this type.
  3. Some people lack confidence in carrying out transactions over the internet
    Even if the business is legitimate, there can be a reluctance to do business due to prejudices or preconceptions which a potential customer holds.


E-commerce also offers distinct advantages for both the buyer and the seller:

• The seller has lower costs
• Quicker and easier communication
• The seller can change electronic details easier than details printed on paper (eg. if the cost of a service needs to be changed; you can do it easily and immediately on a web site: but cannot on a printed brochure)
• The seller can reach the whole world as a market, through the internet
• Immediate payment can be achieved at a distance electronically (with credit card or direct bank transfer, etc)
• The buyer has greater bargaining power to purchase at a better price.
• It becomes viable for smaller businesses to enter the market place; and that can result in some services or products becoming available, which might not normally be available through, for example, a traditional shop front.
• The buyer can access a greater variety of suppliers easier
• The buyer has the convenience of shopping from home 24/7
• The buyer can shop around to get the best bargain in a fraction of the time than in the traditional way of shopping.
• There is less stress involved in shopping online because there is no traffic to beat, no parking problems.
• Online shopping offers a whole new world of shopping for people with disabilities, elderly and people with less mobility.
• Establishing an e commerce business requires a fraction of investment in comparison to a traditional brick and mortar business therefore enables many more individuals to establish their own business.



When undertaking any form of electronic transaction, it is important to ensure that confidential details (eg. password, pin number, credit card details, etc.) remain confidential. This can be done by encoding (or encrypting) details. Before sending your information off, it is transferred into a code that is difficult to break into and read. If the information does end up somewhere you do not intend it to go to; it is useless unless the other end has the information required to break the code.

Some people will still take the risk and send unencrypted details electronically (eg. fax or email without encoding). This is of course a greater risk; however, no more of a risk than allowing people to see your credit card details in any retail shop. When you think about it, a credit card imprint that is recorded in any retail store, may be read and copied by just about anyone who works in that store (and that type of credit card fraud requires far less sophistication than breaking into an internet transmission. Some credit card companies also have the added ability to stop payment if the consumers details have not been authorised. This places extra responsibility on the web site owner to make sure they check and even authorise credit card payments before shipping goods or supplying services.
The buyer should always look for the little padlock sign which is displayed at the bottom right hand corner of the browser before starting to give their credit card details or any other personal information. The padlock sign indicates that the website is encrypted and more secure.

The good news for the buyer is that in many cases if any credit card fraud occurs the bank takes the responsibility and pays back the money which was stolen from the credit cards.


How to protect your business

• Antivirus software — software which detects and removes known computer viruses.
• Firewall software — software which acts as an intelligent gateway between your computer and the rest of the Internet. It monitors the traffic flowing in and out of your system and checks if it’s authorised to do so.
• Online banking security features — features that banks include in their online banking service offerings to protect their customers, and themselves, during online banking transactions.
• Online transaction (buying and selling) security features — features such as encryption used on websites to protect customer details during transactions. These are often part of the Internet Service Provider package, so ask your ISP.


Tips for Optimising Social Media from our Principal

We are often being asked for tips on how to improve “traffic” flow to websites and social media such as Facebook and Twitter. We have been working for years on improving the flow to our websites. Here are some useful pointers -

Key Points:

1. You must do everything suggested –the relative importance of different factors is constantly changing, and unless you attend to all factors, you will not achieve a consistent improvement.

2. Do not rely on web sites too much or too little for your marketing. Few companies succeed without other marketing initiatives. Few companies succeed without a good web site.

3. Social Media is becoming increasingly important for business success. If you ignore it, or use it in the wrong way; your competitors will capture business from you.


Things You Must Do

1. Understand what you need to achieve.
• Rankings –sites normally need to be ranking between 1 and 2 million before they are getting consistent sales (but there are exceptions. Strong businesses need sites to rank around 0.5 million or better
• Duration of Visit – people need to be staying on the site for at least 2 minutes; but longer is better.
• Drawing Attention to the right place –people need to be noticing the things that bring business before the things that are less important (eg. “Click to buy” is far more important than “click to see how great we are”)
• Make it very obvious, fast and easy for people to find the most important things –Try to avoid more than 2 clicks from the main page to a place where action can be taken (such as buying).

Use this test:
Close your eyes & open them fast. Notice what you see first on a page. This should be the thing you want your visitor to see first …. Consider colour, contrast, position on page, and size of text or image. All these things make something appear more (or less obvious).

2. Understand the process you are trying to achieve:
1st… You must get people to come to your page. To do this, you need to be ranked in the top 10 in searches, or be advertising on google ad words or directories like Study Now and Hot Courses.

2nd … Once they come, you need to keep them there and funnel them quickly through to the part of your site that will convince them to buy, contact you or do something else.
You generally only have about 2 seconds before interest starts to wane, so each page must be “in their face” and enable them to see the relevance to them in a flash. Don’t worry about losing some; but remember; if you are attracting the right demographic to the page; you should be able to communicate very fast “This is what you were looking for”

3rd …. Hook them, cause them to stay and cause them to actually take action. Once you have funnelled them to the right page; a well presented statement and cleverly designed page can do this.


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Phone: (UK) 01384 442752, (International) +44 (0) 1384 442752