Ecommerce shouldn’t be a frightening prospect, even if you’ve never done it before – it’s just a different way of taking orders that you might otherwise take in a shop, by phone or by mail order.
It also lets you unlock a whole new customer segment who prefer to research and shop online.
Here’s how ecommerce could benefit your business.
Ecommerce and customer needs
More and more, when prospective customers are looking to research a purchase or buy, they turn straight to the web. The watchword is convenience – users want to be able to access all the information they need to be sure of what they’re buying, and to complete the transaction in a few easy steps.
Despite the convenience, because there’s no personal contact customers can still be worried that they won’t get what they intended when they order online, or are being ripped off.
To make the most of your online store, include clear details of each product you’re selling, including any options (eg size or colour). Include at least one photograph, and clear information on delivery times and charges. Including off-line contact details, and posting user testimonials and reviews, also help reassure buyers.
Another big customer concern with ecommerce is security when sending payment details online. If it isn’t clear how safe the site is, very few people will buy. Make sure your ecommerce site uses a secure, encrypted method of receiving and storing payment data, and that this is clearly stated.
Designing your ecommerce site
To sell online, you’ll need either a stand-alone ecommerce store or a function on your existing website that you can use to take orders and payment.
Online website design tools can help with this, or you could commission a web designer and developer to build a bespoke site for you.
To make sure the site is as customer-friendly as possible, make sure it’s designed with usability in mind – this means making it as easy as possible for people to use the site and find what they’re looking for, including on different devices such as smartphones.
Integrating ecommerce with your other systems
If you’ve got an existing customer relationship management system, it could be hugely helpful to integrate the two – helping you keep track of orders.
You can then use the data from the online customers in your overall customer management, compare the two groups to see the differences in buying behaviour and coordinate your marketing efforts on- and off-line.
You may also be able integrate your online store with your book-keeping software – translating online orders into sales income and fulfilment costs, and feeding this data directly to your books.
If you’re using off-the-shelf solutions, it’s worth looking into how they work together – tools from the same company will often integrate with each other. Otherwise, ask your ecommerce site developer to explain how it could work with the systems you have.
This article is provided only for general informational and educational purposes. It is not offered as and does not constitute legal or other professional advice on the subject matter in question. You should not act or rely on information contained in this website without first seeking professional advice on the subject matter in question.