Many people still think that if you build it, they will come. The internet is massive and just setting up a store is not going to get the job done.
I was recently hanging out with my dad and we started talking about a recent trip that he took with my mother to pick up baking supplies from this small retailer that’s close to their house. My mom is an amazing baker and actually used to own a store called Chris’s Candies and Cakes. (Dreaming of baked goods.) Anyway, as we were talking, I had a proud moment when my 81 year old dad said “this company should be working with you because they need to put all their products online. That’s where they’ll really be successful.” he says. I mean, when your elderly father “gets” that ordering online is much better than driving a half-hour to a local store, you know that e-commerce has finally hit the big time. (LOL)
Anyway, I told him, yes, e-commerce is a great way for a business to increase their reach, their revenue, increase convenience for their customers and many other tangible benefits. He’s absolutely right. But what I didn’t want to get into are all the things you need to consider when you’re setting up an e-commerce site. I appreciate that he “gets it”. I appreciate that you do have a lot of good options these days and it doesn’t have to be rock science if you’re only selling a few products. But he’s talking about a local company that potentially sells tens of thousands of products. It’s definitely possible, but it’s not as simple as flipping a switch and then counting the orders that come in.
So with that said, here are some things that you should think about if you’re going to take e-commerce seriously.
1) Don’t forget your marketing budget. Make sure that you don’t invest all of your budget into building the website itself. I think many people still think that if you build it, they will come. The internet is massive and just setting up a store is not going to get the job done. You need to have a budget to market and grow your traffic, without that you’re going to have the equivalent of a Porche sitting in your driveway with no engine.
2) Decide if you’re going to need help. If you’re selling a few products and you just happen to be an end-to-end expert in digital marketing, then by all means setup a store and hit the ground running yourself with one of the out-of-the-box solutions. But if you need something a little more, you’ll likely want to engage a professional. Here are just a few things that a professional company can help with.
Platform choiceSetupCustom website design and improved user experienceCreation and integration of special features and functionalityContent and photographySelection of a payment gatewayData entrySEO optimizationmarketing planningTesting and launch!
3) Security. Many out-of-box solutions will handle security for you. But if you’re building and hosting your own e-commerce site, there a quite a few extra boxes to check. Working with a professional will not only provide you with the guidence to do the most basic things, but they can also provide next-level security improvements and even ongoing vulnerability testing and monitoring that will ensure that your site stays safe.
4) Speed. If you have your own e-commerce site, there are plenty of opportunities to improve, not only the load time of the initial website and your site speed, but to improve other important factors like search speed. A specialized partner should be able to provide you with help on all fronts to make sure that your visitors can find what they need fast without delays.
Are you interested in getting started with e-commerce? I hope this information helps you. I would say that your next action should be to reach out to a few good companies and start a conversation. If you use some of the information provided here you’ll quickly be able to determine who’s going to be a good choice to build and support your e-commerce endeavors. If they give a price without talking about how you’re going to get someone to your site (your marketing plan), or if they don’t ask any questions about content creation, security or the all-important issues with speed, then consider looking elsewhere. It’s likely that they’re not going to be a partner that can actually help you grow your business with e-commerce.
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