The digital age is not a new time for us anymore. Most of our parents’ generation is fluent in all the functions of digital technology and the internet, and most of those technologies aren’t considered a luxury anymore. Can you imagine yourself not being able to buy that new book off Amazon? It might not ruin your day, but it has become an expected luxury.
ECommerce has been with us for a while now. The first digital sale, as we know it today, was in 11.8.1994 on the internet start-up “Netmarket. “ It was a Sting CD.
ECommerce refers to “business transactions conducted on the internet” as defined by Collins Concise English Dictionary, or “The business of buying and selling goods and services on the internet” by the Cambridge Dictionary
Like the internet as a whole, since the moment the Sting CD was sold, the technology has been booming. The transactions are getting simpler, and it’s getting easier to find your wanted products by the day.
Ecommerce retail is expected to grow up to $27 trillion in 2020, so it might be a good idea to jump on it.
The growing technologies of eCommerce have benefited all: freelancers, small businesses, big corporations, and of course, the consumers.
It has never been easier to enter the digital market or the market in general through eCommerce. ECommerce platforms are giving their best to make participating in the market available to everyone. Platforms like WordPress are developing more and more user-friendly designs, systems, and technologies.
Opening and running an eStore is an option every growing business today has a chance to use, and most market trends encourage this step.
Though, there are a few misconceptions that go along with entering this new territory. Luckily, we have the experience of others to learn.
1. “You just sign up and put your product up for sale.”
Maybe it’s those online games that taught us to expect that after we sign up, it’s all intuitive. While the business does share the competition aspect of a game, it’s more like buying the court, making the ball, finding the players, being the referee, and then trying to watch the game.
Setting up your eCommerce site entails a great deal of planning and pre-thought. Even if your product is optimized and ready for sale, you still need a marketing plan, sales analytics tracking, and the whole back-end of fulfillment solutions and finances that go with the sale. While more and more retail is going digital, a business will always be a multilayered, multi-complicated endeavor. Putting it online doesn’t necessarily simplify things, and it’s a lot to take on alone. Don’t be afraid to seek out help.
2. “Once it’s up, it’s up!”
No matter how reliable the internet becomes, it’s still a jungle. Just like you would take extra steps to ensure the integrity of your “store down the street”, you would also give a thought or two about your online safety and reliability.
When choosing the way you will put your e-store online, keep in mind that the store you open on your eCommerce host platform isn’t actually your own. If the host site crashes, your store will crash too.
On the other hand, the freedom of owning your own site comes with a myriad of different factors to keep in mind: from acquiring web space, being easy to find, to making a user-friendly design.
Worrying about these things might seem like a long shot, but keep in mind this is not a blog you are putting up. If you went through the labor of setting up your business, an extra mile of research won’t be a minus, and it will surely add to the integrity of your brand.
3. “If you build it, they will come.”
The magic of the internet is in the availability of information anywhere, anytime. That also means it’s fierce competition out there.
Opening an e-store is a good move to make your products more available, but you aren’t the first one to think of it.
Pointing out the fact that there are a lot of other businesses with the same type of product or service competing for online space should be just a reminder by now. We are all aware of how important marketing has become in the digital age. Even if you have a truly unique product or service, you still have to fight your way to the top of the search engine results.
But what some forget is – even if you have a booming and loyal customer base, it’s up to YOU to point them to your newly opened e-store. And, it’s up to YOU to take them by the hand, show them the directions, and show them how to use it, and every now and then remind them how good of a time they had.
4. “Online is the way to go!”
Even though I have suggested that “it might be a good idea to jump on” the eCommerce train because of its growing tendency, this might not be the case for everyone.
Some services, products, and businesses just operate better in “the real world”. Some things just don’t shine as bright online.
Don’t underestimate the power and simplicity of the good old eye-to-eye sales channel. The missing dialogue in online sales is being interpreted as a minus more and more, seeing that most customers either lack product information or are overwhelmed by it.
Seeing, feeling, and trying a product out before buying it is an experience that hasn’t been integrated into the digital era well. And while being a trustworthy brand is surely a great goal, it can’t be the only thrust involved in the sales process. Customers need to trust their own perceptions and decision.
It may seem strange to think about the “benefits” of the “brick and mortar”, but, seeing that it’s not the starting point anymore, it thought worth entertaining.
5. “The eStore is a catalog” and “the only important metric is the profit”
It’s a shop! Just like a real shop, it has a lot of stuff happening behind the scenes. It’s a meeting point between you and the customer, and it is a valid representation of your business. It is another opportunity for you to improve customer experience, build trust, and gather more data about their wishes.
You shouldn’t view your eStore as a purely transactional website.
Keeping an eye on your metrics, or rather “listening” to them can open you up to new ideas on how to service your customers better. “Listen” closely to your click-through rates and conversion rates to see where your customers come from and what their wishes are, and when reading those bounce rates, think if there is something you can offer that is of mutual benefit.
Running an eCommerce site is a process of its own kind, its own business endeavor. It’s not just a clock you wind that gathers money for you.
Above all, it should be viewed as an investment, an opportunity to grow and give more. Just like with all business, putting in the work and showing up to help your customers is a sure way to achieve your goals.
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