Think local – sell global
To sell global, local businesses need a well-designed website so they can benefit from potentially lucrative new markets. There is a massive amount of at-your-fingertips information to show how easy it is to go online. Ever improving software applications make it easier than ever to construct your own e-commerce solution but it’s advisable to get some help when you start out.
You hear about e-commerce all over the place these days but in simple terms it means doing business on the internet. Businesses of all sizes in many countries are keen to take advantage of the modern way of selling.
With the ever increasing use of mobile devices people are not just buying online from home. It’s important to have this in mind when you get someone to design your website. If you are brave enough to do it yourself you should consider using one of the software as a service platforms such as Shopify.com.au. You won’t need any coding skills but you will need professional quality product images and well-written product descriptions. These make your online store more appealing and more likely to convert to sales.
Shopify have their own payment gateway so you will be locked in to their ecosystem. Even if you choose to build an online store with WordPress and WooCommerce (our preferred system) you will be paying transaction fees but you have more options and can perhaps even integrate with your physical store’s Point Of Sale (POS) setup.
Good advice for first time e-Commerce businesses
Get a toe in the water. Start out small with some basic products and then once you are familiar with the process flow – add more products. You can grow your site at your own pace. Resist the urge to become the next amazon.com and focus on your best-selling items or products that are easy to ship. There is a monthly cost for all platforms but most offer a free trial period which is great to get a feel for it
Don’t be a Robinson Crusoe. Learning new things is always more enjoyable when done with a team mate. If you have a staff member who is keen to learn e-Commerce then include them in the journey. You are likely to forget some things along the way so having a buddy will double the memory power. Keep good notes as you go in order to assist when you have to train somebody else.
Rinse and repeat. Everything you do in your online store can be undone and changed. If you make typographical errors or a product picture doesn’t look great then simply make the changes as you go. Think of every fix as a learning experience and you will find your flow and improve your quality over time.
Privacy and security are important. If you go with a platform make sure you check their terms and conditions and privacy statements. They should all handle customer personally identifiable information and payment processing securely but due diligence on your part is mandatory. The same applies when you have someone build e-Commerce into your existing website. In most cases a web designer will use a third-party such as WooCommerce for the product display and credit card payment processing. Ask them to provide statement about how privacy and security will be handled.
Benefits of having an e-Commerce store.
- Expand your business. You won’t be limited to selling locally. Your online store is open to the world but you need to consider how to handle shipping.
- Open 24×7. Your online store can be selling for you while you sleep. Just make sure you display good information about shipping and handling, returns and general customer support.
- Customer tracking. Using free tools you can see how visitors are finding you, where they are coming from, what products they view and how long they spend on your site. This information will help with future marketing campaigns.
- Lowering your costs. Your online store will cost a lot less than your physical shop. Grabbing more sales from new online markets will help defray the overall cost of doing business.
- Generate repeat sales. Having access to customer details such as email addresses opens up a whole new communication channel. Build a relationship with these people carefully (don’t oversell) and they will buy again and tell their friends about you as well.
- Savings on product inventory. Easily track your stock levels and keep an eye on what is selling best. You don’t even need to stock all the items you promote. As long as you can source them quickly you can make online sales then fulfill in a few days time.
- Bundling orders. When people know they will have to pay for shipping they are more likely to purchase more than one product. Identify what people generally buy together in your bricks-and-mortar shop and put them together as a bundle online.
If you are considering taking your business into the e-Commerce world feel free to contact us. We’d be happy to provide some advice about your options and how to get things started.