How to Successfully Migrate Toward e-Commerce
Why is it that many businesses have not yet established an online store? There are a multitude of reasons. For example, it is possible that the amount of people making online purchases are not significant enough to be worth the investment in establishing an online presence, or maybe there are existing barriers to knowledge on how to set up an online platform .
Although online retailers and services have demonstrated great success in the world, even some major businesses have ignored these opportunities. How can small and medium businesses engage in e-commerce then?
We have good news for all the businesspeople who were once interested in e-commerce but never dared dip their toes in it, as well as for those who tried it and saw no improvement in their profits. The consulting firm Kantar revealed that e-commerce has risen 300% since social distancing started and the Latin American E-commerce Report, compiled by the E-commerce Foundation, showed us that at the end of last year, 70% of Mexican businesses had no online platforms.
The opportunity is still ripe for all willing to take the leap, however it’s important to emphasize that putting up a web page or a profile in any of the big online sales platforms is not enough to significantly raise the net profits of a business. There are many factors to take into account when creating an online store that has the ability to attract customers, just as many as when choosing a physical location. Furthermore, it is important to explore and answer some fundamental questions: Which platform do we choose to sell our products? What does a business need in order to be appealing online? Where to begin?
More complicated and yet more profitable than it seems.
If a business begins its journey to e-commerce with a previously established background or business identity, distribution networks, formalized contracts (if needed), social network presence, or experience in managing financial resources, it already is halfway there. If, on the other hand, the business is beginning from scratch or lacks no previous experience, the priority must be an internal and external analysis with the goal of creating a business plan with clear objectives and timelines. This first step analysis is crucial, however we will not go into detail on how it can be done effectively here, rather we will discuss several helpful tips for the following steps, to help along the rest of the way.
- Choose a good hosting service: All e-commerce lives or dies with its selling platform, which can be compared to having a clean or well-located physical store, deserving the same kind of thought and care one would give to this matter. Speed is a priority, both for user experience and search engines like Google which push down domains that take too long to load to the bottom of its search results. There are a multitude of different hosting services for web pages that also allow for the set up of a personal online store but selling our products via one of the massive online retailer services could be an advantage in both convenience and exposure. Just remember that most services take a cut of profits for providing their services.
- Customize all products: Presentation, service, and quality have always been competitive advantages over other businesses that sell the same product. This is particularly true in e-commerce, where the only direct contact customers have with a business is through the product itself and the package it comes in. Customization, details and little extra gifts included in each order motivate customers to share their positive experience online and, obviously, repeatedly purchase the same products.
- Offer as many payment methods as possible: This is as simple as it sounds. A physical store normally has only two or three payment methods available, but one of the advantages that comes with e-commerce is that it offers a long list of payment choices, even as high as a dozen. Not all websites allow for that many payment options, but if there is the opportunity to design your own website or if you are in the process of choosing a selling platform, this could be a major point in your decision.
- Create a blog and update social networks constantly: this tip combines perfectly with the second on this list: both are irreplaceable opportunities to interact with customers, sharing information about quality control, product benefits, customized services, and other factors. Little by little you can position your website through articles with themes related to your products, redirecting your readers toward a central objective: buying from your business.
- Invest in social media campaigns and digital marketing: It is important to remember that most viral internet content does not get there by mere accident. Careful analysis of the inner workings, influence and interactions that activities generate can lead to tweaking product characteristics or taking on different broadcasting mediums that are better suited for certain products or online stores. Results brought by the effective management of social media presence are well documented, and because of that, just like with a top-quality hosting service, investing in digital marketing is worth the effort.
Finally, the most important step in a digital selling process is the logistics of it all. In e-commerce it’s commonly known as a Dropshipper, which involves contracted distribution, be it by an enterprise the business hires if it manages its own independent store, or the services provided by a popular store that carries certain products, sending customers their orders directly.
Some small businesses implement the personal delivery of merchandise (sometimes by the owner directly) using private cars, but this is only possible when dealing with extremely small businesses that operate in a limited region and have little interest in large-scale growth. Social distancing has conditioned growth to be directly related to effective supply chain management, which can achieve customer satisfaction through speed and optimal transportation conditions. Customers may forgive many things, but a bad first impression caused by faulty logistics is hard to bounce back from.
Since our establishment, Woodward Logistics remains committed to excellence and guaranteed customer satisfaction, which we achieve every day, thanks to our decades of experience and powerhouse team. We provide top-quality services and e-commerce support as a solid partner to help businesses navigate the current landscape and grow their success, no matter the challenge.