E-commerce For Jamaican Businesses
Last Friday, Internet Income Jamaica had a session teaching people how to utilize e-commerce sites to launch their products and services. The event was well received by a captive audience in our Kingston office and was supported by the Development Bank of Jamaica and the Scotiabank Chair in Entrepreneurship and Development.
CEO of Internet Income Jamaica, Alicia Lyttle, showed how during the week her company is a marketing company but on the weekend workshops were done teaching people how to earn money online. She commented that, “today we are going to be teaching about e-commerce and what you can do to take advantage of the global marketplace.”
Afterwards, Ms. Lyttle asked each member of the audience their name and business and what aspect of it was already online. Of the persons assembled, some had websites while others had done some form of social media advertising.
Lyttle would remark how one of her clients in the travel and tourism sector received 95% of his business from persons who searched for travel guides in Jamaica in Google or through social media and was funneled to his website.
She spoke of the fact that, “the basics of e-commerce is having a website with products that you sell online. We love to sell products on Amazon because it’s so convenient.” Then an example was given of Walkerswood who sold their jerk sauces through Amazon. However they did none of the shipping themselves. They just set-up the Amazon page and sent a set of products to Amazon warehouses. When a person purchases a product online then that product is shipped back to the customer from Amazon warehouses.
It was shown that with your own website, you have to drive traffic there yourself. However, using Amazon, you don’t necessarily need to do much because it is already a largely trafficked website on the web. You can take advantage of this giant web-store and get your business going or improved.
“One of the things we want to stress today is to get your business going global and getting your products out there and Amazon is the best way to do that.” remarked Ms. Lyttle.
For example the tour guide company promoted his service on Amazon using an e-book which points to his website. Of note, Amazon owns a site called CreateSpace, which prints books for people that published through Amazon and produces the books on demand.
Some of the companies assembled included persons who sold honey-bee products, a parts manufacturer and a tour guide. They were encouraged to go through their workbooks and look for the various countries where Amazon was made available.
Additionally, the attendees were shown that the same products sold on Amazon could also be sold on E bay. E bay doesn’t get as much traffic as Amazon but there are some die-hard users who will compare the prices on both sites to see which is better.
Internet Income Jamaica offers much information in our sessions about creating services using known and acquired skills online. Attendees were encouraged to consider what courses and consultations they could offer aside from their main products and services. With the wide world of the internet they could offer freelance services, do affiliate marketing or profit through information marketing (For example via providing e-books or online courses).
Tutor Kemar Harris gave a talk on the cautions to go through with in the process of selling products and services online. He spoke of being careful of internet scams, get rich quick schemes, fake freelancing sites, the possibility of identity theft, and websites that requested too much personal information
“You want to have an antivirus software that is always up-to date,” stated Mr. Harris. “ (Additionally) Whenever you are entering credit card details don’t do it on a public computer and share all details about yourself.” He stressed that you should read the fine prints when purchasing things online.
Tutor Michael Rainford then went through the process one had to take to set-up a website. This is important for business owners to get their own real estate on the web, promote their online presence and eventually venture into e-commerce. Mr. Harris then spoke of the ways to transfer money on the web and set-up payment for e-commerce.
Trainer Sue-tanya McHorgh gave a short talk about mobile phone internet usage and how you could schedule updates for twitter. Later on, Ms. Lyttle dealt with the usage of social media marketing to build the business brand. With the number of Jamaicans on Facebook who were 13 years or older totalling about 910,000 and with a high daily usage of the social media site, she stated it was imperative that businesses utilize this outlet for marketing.
“I’ve found the best (way) to do advertising is by using Facebook to do marketing for the companies that I service,” stated Ms. Lyttle.
After talking about the advantages of retargeting ads, Lyttle then showed the other popular social sites that businesses should utilize including Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and Google Plus. Attendants of the seminar were then taken through a session teaching how to schedule updates for Facebook and increase engagement on their posts.
Mr. Harris returned to speak on the benefits of search engine optimization before Lecturer Tomlin Ellis presented on the pros and cons of the new world of online media.
Ellis compared the formality of the social site LinkedIn with the more fun features of the other social media sites. Then he looked at the world of blogging and that you could not only write but also show images and post videos. He let the attendees know that they shouldn’t be afraid to make mistakes with new media but be prepared to try and learn and progress in their businesses.
The ScotiaBank Chair in Entrepreneurship and Development, Professor Rosalea Hamilton ended the day’s proceedings by getting a feedback from the audience on what they were able to learn. She then thanked the attendees by stating, “You’ll hear more about where we want to take you on the internet.”