Many small businesses prefer to avoid relying on larger vendors whenever possible. After all, who understands their needs better than another small business?
When it comes to e-commerce, the problem for some small businesses that are looking to expand their Web sites' capabilities is that they may have to go a large hosting provider such as Yahoo! or Interland to get the kind of services (e.g., e-mail marketing, search optimization and so on) they need.
In a move designed to let small HSPs (define) offer e-commerce tools to their small business customers, Ensim, a Sunnyvale, Calif.-based hosting automation software provider, recently announced Ensim Ignite. The program offers a selection of services that help customers enhance their Web sites and operate a more successful online business.
Specifically, Ensim Ignite includes e-mail marketing, search engine optimization, merchant services and SSL certificates (define), said Steve Dauber, vice president of marketing at Ensim. He added that the company's 18,000 HSP customers currently host 600,000 Web sites, and many of those customers need access to new tools to grow their Internet-related businesses.
"Small business customers are asking for more than just hosting," he said. "They realize that a Web site is not marketing in itself."
While Web site owners can't contract with Ensim directly for those services, they are now able to get them through their HSPs, if their providers use Ensim's products.
Consequently, Dauber said that arrangement makes a good deal of sense for small online businesses, who get marketing services from an HSP with which they already have a close relationship.
Small and medium-sized businesses "typically aren't technical," he said. "They rely on assistance from vendors." This, he added, is a good reason why small companies should avoid large hosting providers.
With Ensim Ignite, HSPs can let their customers pick and choose among services to add. In a way, it's a win-win-win situation for everyone involved. The companies offering the services (e.g., e-mail marketing or merchant service providers) get access to thousand of businesses. The HSP receives a percentage of revenue generated by the services its customers buy. Small businesses looking to sell over the Internet get the services they need without having to migrate to a new hosting provider.
Ensim reports that it researched which services are most desirable to companies looking to grow their e-commerce revenue and negotiated terms with the providers of those services. Specifically, the Ensim Ignite program offers applications by the following service providers:
- Submitnet: Offers search engine optimization tools to help increase a business's ranking on search engines and directories.
- Roving: Offers e-mail marketing services to build and manage permission-based lists and create and send professional e-mails, utilizing 50 customizable templates. In addition, users can track their results with no technical expertise necessary. The e-mail service is compliant with new anti-spam regulations.
- PaySystems: Offers merchant services to help businesses start selling their products and accepting credit card payments over the Internet.
- VeriSign: Offers SSL certificates to enable businesses to securely collect sensitive information online.