Electronic Commerce, or E-commerce for short, is buying and selling products or services over the internet. If you’re thinking about starting an online business, or taking your current business online but don’t know how to get started, I’m here to help you start your E-commerce business. Whether you already have a store and are looking to add online sales, or you’re starting from scratch, together we’re going to go step by step to create your own online business. With a projected $204 billion in retail sales online for 2009, it’s a great time to start selling online. It’s profitable, it’s fun, and nothing beats telling people you own your own business.

Brief introduction:
To create a successful online shopping store is not a simple task. First you need to set up a website, which involves hardware installation (computer, hard disk, networking, etc), software development and installation (shopping cart, etc), and web page design to make your website attractive to your customers. After that, you get into a cycle of the following tasks:

1. Data processing
2. Collecting product data from the suppliers.
3. Updating the product data in your database, including adding new products, removing obsolete products.
4. Computing a competitive price that maximizes your profit.

1. Uploading product data (i.e., web feeds) to leading Comparison Shopping Engines (CSEs) such as Yahoo! Shopping, Google Product Search, and Amazon.com.
2. Adding information to your web pages for search engine optimization (SEO). The easier your products are searched by search engines, the more visitors will visit your website.
3. Sending emails to your customers.

Checking the results of your promotion
You need to know which online marketing initiatives are cost effective and to see how visitors actually interact with your site. For example, the sequence of the visited web pages, how many of the visitors actually purchase products.

To do these tasks once in a while with a small quantity of products is probably not a big deal. However, it is a daunting task to handle hundreds or even thousands of products several times a week. A big company can probably hire a team of engineers to handle most of the tasks mentioned above, and contract certain tasks (e.g., SEO, email marketing) to outside companies. For a medium or small company, it will be very expensive to maintain a development team or contract different tasks to different companies.

This seminar discusses the techniques of providing a one-stop service for eCommerce companies. For example, one can automatically collect product data from the website of a retailer's suppliers, compute the price for each product based on a set of criteria, update the reatialer's website, embed SEO and web analysis information in each product data, and send the product data to leading Comparison Shopping Engines (CSE) such as Yahoo! Shopping, Google Product Search, and Amazon.com.