Sofcom Distributors unveiled its "world first" in electronic shopping last month, the Sofcom Store Builder software, enabling small and large businesses to establish virtual stores on the Internet.
User's can build stores online from their desktop by accessing software at the mall's web site. Once completed, the stores are immediately placed on Sofcom's Australian and American online malls, with their own URL or Internet address. The cost is around $150 a year plus 5 per cent sales commission to Sofcom.
According to Sofcom's managing director, Professor Les Goldschlager, Store Builder has cut the costs of creating online stores, making it no longer necessary for businesses to employ Internet publishers to develop and maintain sites. He added that HTML and graphics skills are not required. "It's very easy to use, very cost efficient, you can get a site up in twenty minutes and start selling.
"They can come along to the web page and construct a shop just by clicking on various selections," said Goldschlager. "They can select the look-and-feel of the shop and choose which products they want to sell and the prices. It is automatically added to all the search engines and they are in business. It handles all the transactions in a secure way and they get the orders," he said.
Shop till you stop
Goldschlager said it gives resellers an opportunity to experiment with the Internet and electronic commerce at a very low entry cost. "So not only can they sell things, but they actually get to learn about the medium, what type of products will sell and what type of presentation will work. It's a very inexpensive way for them to experiment and understand how their business will work in the electronic medium," he said.
Store owners are given a password to make any changes to the store information, including editing the presentation and modifying products and prices. Goldschlager said the Sofcom Store Builder uses the latest technology in encryption and security to ensure financial transactions are safe.
He added that Sofcom is committed to monitoring the latest in security to keep the stores on the cutting edge, and once online credit clearance becomes available in Australia, Sofcom intends to take up the technology.
The Sofcom Shopping Mall at www.sofcom.com.au/mall has been running for two years and is reportedly accessed more than two million times per month.