While you may already have a physical premises from which you run your business, using the power of the internet means that your products can, potentially be seen at every computer/device in the land – and beyond. Your ecommerce website becomes your shop window to the world and also allows all interface with your customers and potential customers to take place there. In this way, ecommerce websites are an efficient cost effective way to increase your sales hugely, while keeping operating costs low and increasing profit margins.
Online shopping is now commonplace amongst millions of people from all walks of life. From the comfort of their own home, or the easy convenience of their mobile device while out and about, people can research, choose and pay for products at any hour of the day or night. The potential of ecommerce sites does not stop with one transaction, because your site can not only offer details of a particular product being searched for, it also lead consumers on to other products. Using the sales and marketing techniques available you can encourage people to stay on your site browsing other products and encourage them to bookmark and revisit your site and recommend it to others, so increasing your sales and profits.
How can ecommerce help make your business successful?
Straightforward and cost effective to set up and certainly far less expensive to run than a conventional ‘offline’ business.
Your site can be designed specifically to your wishes. Your page layouts (the shop window) can be designed with your ecommerce site designer/builder. How products are displayed, described, priced and reviewed can be tailored likewise. Sales can be done via the site using various customer paying methods and distribution can be organized from here too. The site can store databases of customers and build up profiles of what people buy for future targeted marketing, a function which the site can also be done from the site. With ecommerce your initial investment is spent from the start on preparing the sell the product, rather than trying to find offices, engage reliable staff etc.
Once up and running the real savings over a conventional set up are revealed. Most of the business costs, red tape and HR issues of running an office are removed. Furniture, rent, electricity, rates and other overheads are all but gone. These days there are also several reliable payment options available for customers to use such as Paypal, Sage Payment Solutions, WordPay and more. This will ensure all your payment transactions are processed securely and successfully, business receives the payments efficiently and the customer is confident in how their money and confidential information is being handled
Your business can, potentially, be operated from anywhere
As a business owner you can be anywhere in the world where you can access the internet in order to oversee your business. You can ensure that all is running smoothly, deal with any queries or problems via email or telephone and additionally access your content management to keep your site and the information it contains up to date 24 hours a day. Similarly you can keep contact with your suppliers and logistics providers.
Accurate stock control and scalability
Given the ease of instant access to exactly what you are selling your can tailor your stock control to meet increases and fall offs in demand. You are able to see which sorts of products sell well, which in turn can allow you research and source similar and complimentary products. As your site allows you to profile customers by recording what they buy, this helps you to accurately predict how to increase the products you offer. This ‘scaling’ allows on line business to expand and diversify what they offer to their customers. Amazon’s site, which started selling books initially, is possibly the most famous example of this in action.
Further ways to increase sales on the site itself
24 hour shopping, which the internet provides, can clearly become a pleasant pastime for the public. They will also be receptive, through their usage of computers and mobile devices, to special offers and marketing initiatives that come to them either via the site or in other ways over the web. Ecommerce site designers/builders will help you to get your name out on the web and also maximize the take up of this marketing by those browsing the internet.
On your site itself ‘up-selling’ involves offering details of products that relate closely to something a customer has just decided to buy. These can be of low value, but a ‘good idea’ in the mind of the consumer and therefore something they would be happy to pop into their basket. Gift tags with wrapping paper for example, or coloured tights to complement a chosen dress.
‘Cross-selling’ offers additional products to people, not in direct relation to the item just chosen, but connected to it. This type of ‘you may also like’ items works well if a customer is buying clothes or books for example. The style of an item already chosen, or the type of book selected can lead to other garments in that style or other books on that subject of that genre. Customers may well enjoy this exposure to similar things that they like and their take up of such an offer, not thought of quite possibly when they started to shop, means extra sales for the site. The products are often large similar purchases rather than cheaper related products.
You can also speed up customers’ decision making by offering time sensitive offers, such as offering a special purchase, offering free delivery, or two for one offers etc for a limited time only.
How your sales and effects of your marketing are instantly measurable so you can see how your business is doing on a constant and up to date basis.
The analytical tools available on the internet (such as Google Analytics) are an accurate and reasonably priced way of seeing how the various aspects of your ecommerce business are doing. You can discover the number of visits and click-throughs you achieve -how many people have stepped into your shop – ie how successful your marketing has been driving people to your site. You can track what is being sold, which customers are buying it. There are other useful statistics too such as cart abandonment rate – which can alert you to faults in the sales end of your site – is it too slow or too complicated? etc.
Marketing and advertising are costs are also relatively modest compared to their non-web equivalents. Search Engine Optimisation strategies are available and you can discuss ongoing use of this tool with your ecommerce site designer/builder. The idea is to push your site high up on the page rankings that customers meet when they type in a particular word or phrase, and, used correctly this can be a very effective method of encouraging customers to look at your website.
Spend less time in the day to day running of your business
If your site and its functionality is carefully designed and built by close collaboration between yourself and the site designer/builder you should not need to spend too much time on the day to day running of it. The system should automatically take care of customers’ orders and payments. And while the site does will need monitoring, this essentially hands off set up will leave you with more time to concentrate on making the business grow. It leaves you freer for activities such as selecting new products and organising marketing strategies for spread your business name and increase sales of your existing products.