Happy Monday to you all. In Friday’s blog post I outlined why your organization needs a website. Today, I’m going to outline why your organization needs an e-commerce solution.
To be honest, this is a much more difficult sell. I do not believe that every organization needs an e-commerce solution. This is because I do not believe that every organization stands to benefit from e-commerce. I argue, however, that those that will benefit from e-commerce wi great greatly if it is well implemented.
Who Needs an E-Commerce Solution?
The first question, therefore, that needs to be answered is who needs e-commerce. This is relatively straightforward. Organizations that need e-commerce solutions are those that sell products and services to customers. By consumers, I mean both the public and business to business sales.
Those of you who plan on selling digital products and services will rely on e-commerce. Therefore, this article is aimed towards informing those who sell physical products and entirely non-digital services. Consequently, I advise you to skip towards the benefits component of this blog entry.
Why Services? It Doesn’t Involve Shipping a Product!
Truth be told, organizations don’t take enough advantage of selling services through e-commerce. Unfortunately, the problem with this is that you only achieve a part of the solution when you could be providing it all.
Allow me to provide an example. Let’s say you’re a hairdresser. You have a great site that thanks to advertising you attract a lot of traffic. Your website features a pricelist listing your services and their costings. Additionally, you may even post special web-only offers and deals on the site. However, you don’t have e-commerce set up. Instead of allowing potential customers to buy their haircut ahead of time and to book in you require them to call or visit to do so.
Sadly, this ultimately leads to lost sales. The number of clients that will forget about you after visiting your site is mind-blowing. People will go wherever is most convenient. For example, if you share a shopping precinct with other hairdressers they’ll walk into your competitor if the pricing is similar. This is especially the case if their location is where they intend on visiting such as a supermarket. You could have had the sale had you had e-commerce instead of your competitor.
Consequently, I recommend setting up e-commerce. You would sell a range of your services through your store. It doesn’t have to be the exact service if you have similar products. For example, a hairdresser is likely to have different prices for hair length (short, medium, and long). Instead, you could sell gift certificates as well as the services you have specific prices for.
As you can see, you don’t need to sell products to offer your customers an e-commerce solution!
I don’t ship my products. Is e-commerce still right for me?
Absolutely. I’d put you into a similar category as service-oriented e-commerce. You can sell your products online and still expect your customers to pick their products up. In fact, this is a very popular method of e-commerce. Many of the major retailers have implemented this system into their sites. For example, I make many of my tech and entertainment purchases through JB Hi-Fi. However, there’s a store nearby. Instead of waiting for the product to be shipped to me I purchase online and pick up from my local store.
Therefore, there are huge benefits to be made from selling your product through e-commerce for pickup. This also allows you to easily sell the types of product that are notoriously difficult or pricy to ship. Products such as chemicals or that are too expensive due to weight for convenient postage are all suitable for e-commerce.
What About B2B? Can I Benefit with E-Commerce?
Yes. Your organization can benefit with e-commerce. B2B organizations often deal with a significant number of customers and suppliers. E-commerce allows you to have a competitive advantage in that you can automate pivotal tasks including shipping and sales. Therefore, e-commerce provides an increased speed at an affordability price that enables you to benefit from greatly.
What are the Benefits of E-Commerce?
There are nine primary benefits of e-commerce that I want to outline. These will help most organizations regardless of what you are selling.
Lock in Sales
The first benefit is that you provide your customers to lock in their sale. Your website can be the best marketing tool available but if you don’t provide your customers with the ability to purchase through your website they may go elsewhere. This is especially the case when you’re offering a product or service that can be found in many places. Consequently, the more convenience-based your product or service the more you benefit from e-commerce.
Gain Customer Data for e-mail Marketing
E-mail marketing is an opt-in process that many customers will take advantage of. Your e-commerce platform gives you the opportunity to collect their data to add to your e-mail database. This allows you to send them your latest news, promotions, and deals that they can take advantage of. This encourages repeat business.
Having a website already increases the likelihood of your organization being discovered. Since this is the case you’ll also be able to increase the visibility of your store promotions. You can market your sales and promotions through your e-commerce site. In turn, customers are likely to confirm their purchase through your e-commerce platform.
Every brick and mortar business owner will tell you that location is everything. This can be great for some and a death knell for others. However, having an e-commerce website allows even those who don’t have a great location to have an opportunity to sell. Of course, this means that you’ll need fantastic SEO but it gives you an opportunity to succeed. This allows those who haven’t heard or seen your store to discover you online.
By selling your products and services through e-commerce you enable your business to expand into new markets. These markets can be as nearby as a suburb or two over or as far as around the world. Consequently, what you may consider a small local business can have a global reach.
By having an effective e-commerce solution, you will achieve a higher conversion rate. This is because you’re no longer relying on brick and mortar alone to achieve your sales. The more conversions that you make the better your bottom line.
Customer Satisfaction and Convenience
By having an e-commerce solution, you are providing your customers 24/7 accessibility. This naturally provides them with the type of convenience that they demand. Even if they must wait to physically pickup or utilize your service they’ve been able to purchase it when and where they want it. This is achieved by providing a quality and desirable platform.
This is an important asset of your e-commerce solution. Your valued customers can generate word of mouth advertising for your company. For example, if you have a great offer, customers will quickly share it on websites such as OzBargain and social media. Consequently, you’ll gain social credibility and popularity. This can be a Godsend for small businesses.
Selling your products through your e-commerce solution is a great way to increase sales at a low cost. This is basic economics. The more you sell online the lower your cost per sale expenses. Therefore, your bottom line stands to benefit greatly through a well-implemented e-commerce system.
E-commerce solutions are a great way to measure customer buying habits and their interests. This enables you to tailor your product/service offerings to their needs. The natural result of this, should you take advantage of this information, is an increased business-customer relationship.
GROWPHASIS Can Help
We have helped many companies establish e-commerce solutions. We have the knowledge and the experience to help build the perfect platform for you.