It’s common knowledge that it’s no longer as simple as selling a product off of a shelf in a store, but what does this mean to a small business with a product to move? The physical store with on-site inventory may never completely go away, but many people are going to the internet to shop, buy and pay for things. It’s not everyone, but it’s a number that’s too large to ignore, and it’s growing every day. Many physical stores are already functioning simply as a showroom for products that are ultimately ordered online. We use the term ‘ecommerce’ as shorthand, but there are many different technologies for selling online and they all have different strengths.
Most medium and large businesses have embraced ecommerce as a way to control cost and leverage their existing distribution systems. A growing number of service based organizations are also moving into the world of ecommerce, allowing customers to pay bills, make donations, schedule appointments, and subscribe to services. So how does ‘ecommerce’ impact the small business owner? It all depends on the type of business. The activity of paying for things online is changing customer expectations for access to nearly every service they buy: they can book a repair for their home or an appointment at a spa, pay their mortgage, rent a car, pay for insurance, renew a driver’s license, check in to an urgent care center, etc. And because your customers are being transitioned into an ecommerce world for just about everything else, it is simply a matter of time before they expect it from you.
This isn’t all bad news, however. While there is certainly a cost involved in doing business online, these are generally outweighed by reduced handling cost in transactions and access to a larger marketplace and simpler referral marketing through online media. After all, would the large businesses be doing it if it didn’t take in more money than they spent on it?
Here are a few indicators that it’s time to starting transitioning your business into the ecommerce world:
- If your competitors are using ecommerce solutions and you are not, you are probably missing out on some opportunities. Even if people would prefer to use your business, they will often go with an alternative that is simply less time consuming for them.
- Have any of your customers asked if you had an option for them to pay online? They are probably speaking for many others who haven’t said anything and you might be surprised by the results when you make this available.
- Do you already take credit cards over the phone? If so, you have already implemented many of the processes and accounts needed and online payment processing is not far off anyway.
- Do you sell a physical product that could be a digital product? Something like a video, book, or audio file? If you have or can produce any of these items, you have something to sell that doesn’t cost much to make. And you don’t have to warehouse or ship it to have instant revenue.
If you can answer YES to any of the questions above, then it’s a good idea to investigate whether ‘ecommerce’ could be a growth engine for your business. We can help you evaluate the different options and decide if this is right for you. Give us a call at 623-252-0052 for fill out our “Interested in Ecommerce” form to get started.