These days most people are comfortable with purchasing goods and services online. E-commerce is growing fast and traditional businesses are sometimes struggling to keep up.
If you have a ‘physical’ business you’ve thought about how selling online can help you. This article will answer some of the common questions about adding e-commerce to an existing business. You’ll discover that you can leverage your existing branding and customers to sell online successfully. I will also bust some myths and preconceptions you might have about e-commerce.
If you run a successful business you are probably interested in e-commerce. But you are unsure of the advantages or how you can apply it to your circumstances. You see online-only companies making good money. But you think to yourself “It’s ok for them, they have lower overheads and can afford to under-cut everyone on price”. You have a building and employees to pay. Well, you can add e-commerce to your business and make money online too.
Let’s look at some advantages e-commerce can bring:
Would you like to reach more customers? Ecommerce can help you reach a greater amount of people.
If you have a traditional brick and mortar business you might be constrained by your physical location. For example the street your business is on might not get much foot traffic. Or the town you are located in might have a small population. You know you have a great product or service but you need access to a bigger market. The right type of ecommerce solution can help you reach more people and grow your business.
Shoppers use mobiles and computers – you need to connect with them there.
An ecommerce website can be a great addition to a physical store if done right. Online marketing has evolved to the point where you need to be online and in front of your customers. E-commerce tools and online marketing can build you an effective multi-channel marketing plan. It can then compliment your bricks and mortar store.
Let’s look at some advantages you already have:
You can talk to your customers, whether in your shop or on the phone. E-commerce website owners find it hard to get feedback. If people don’t like their site or product they just leave the website. With a physical store you have the customers attention. You can ask them why they purchased a product or service. If people keep asking if you stock a particular item, you can get it in stock. You can see the type of person that usually buys from you and then market to similar people in future.
You already have a brand and brand awareness. Your customers are already aware of your business. Even people who don’t buy from you have probably heard of you. It can take a long time for a online-only business to build awareness.
You probably have customers that come in regularly to browse through the new stock. Happy customers recommend your store to other people locally.
Online trust can be difficult to earn. Because you have a physical location then online shoppers will be more inclined to trust you. They know there is a store where they can go to to ask a question or return a product.
As you can see their are many advantages for an established company adding e-commerce to their business.
How can I use online selling in my business?
Businesses, like people, are all unique. Clothes don’t come in one-size fits all. At least not anything that looks good, and neither should ecommerce solutions.
If you have read my Choosing the right e-commerce plan for your business Guide you would have seen there are many types of e-commerce solution.
If you start with the right solution for your specific business requirements you are already off to a great start. Service business need a different e-commerce solution to one that ships goods. There is an online selling method for every type of business.
Businesses that sell services can sell blocks our time or appointments can allow people to book online.
Companies that sell consumables can sell subscriptions online and ship a package of good every week or month. This has been done with great success selling goods like shaving blades, ready to eat meals or socks.
The opportunities are there. You just need to think outside the square.
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