Every company who wants to sell online needs to start in the same place: developing their e-commerce website. In the first of a three-part blog series, Jim Cassidy of Isobar debunks five of the common myths about setting up an e-commerce website.
Any e-commerce platform will do to get me started
Choosing the right e-commerce platform is vital. There are platforms to suit all budgets and capabilities. If you have completed a robust business and marketing plan, the e-commerce platform you choose needs to be aligned with those business goals. If you are a large scale enterprise with complex logistics and fulfilment then use an enterprise system that fits in with your other line of business systems. If you choose the wrong platform it can be costly and very time consuming to get it changed.
Build it and they will come
This will be on every single top 5 list about pitfalls / myths when building a website. The easiest part is actually setting up your online store! You choose your platform, you choose your agency to build your site, your products get added, on-site optimisation is carried out and it all looks good and the site is launched. Too many businesses see the launch of their store as the finish line… they should be thinking of it as the stretching that’s done before a race starts because that’s when the real work begins. The ongoing cart optimisation, PPC campaigns, content strategy, social media, a/b testing, product management, pricing management, fulfilment, returns and customer service. Once the site is live you have to market your site to your potential customers and then ensure they have a great experience to bring them back and ensure they share it with their friends. This needs ongoing management of time, budget and human resources. Just because you have built the site does not mean anyone will visit, regardless of whether you are a start-up or an established business.
My business is too small to sell globally
The great thing about selling online is that your location matters very little in comparison to a high street shop. Shipping costs may put customers off but if your product is unique in any way you have the ability to sell globally. Obviously if you are selling perishable goods your warehouse location is very important.
Price is the only thing that matters
Yes of course price matters, you have to be competitive. But there are many other benefits that can be presented to make your offering more attractive to potential customers. Great fulfilment, loyalty offers, personalisation, customer service, great design and user experience. If you can understand your customers’ needs and challenges and address them you are more likely to make price less of an issue.
Selling online is a low cost option
An e-commerce site can be set up for a very small amount of money, online platforms such as Shopify start at just $29 per month. If you are a small retailer you do not have to spend a lot of a lot of time resources to your project. Total cost of ownership needs to look at setup, staff, marketing and maintenance costs. Your online store should be allocated the same resources as a high street equivalent. A common error is making the online store part of an existing staff member’s job. What will happen is that their normal day job will take precedence and the store will suffer.
The key with setting up your e-commerce site is to take your time, do your research and put a detailed plan in place, not just for getting started but for making your business grow and be a success.
In my next blog post I’ll be addressing the biggest myths surrounding Big Data marketing.