Does your website need to be eCommerce?

Viewing eCommerce website data.

If you’re a business owner and asking yourself, “should my website be an eCommerce website?” then this article is for you…

Consumer shopping online has significantly increased across a multitude of categories. Thanks to better internet and online experiences improving day by day, digital shopping is here to stay.

eCommerce is a promising way to grow your business, reach more customers and increase your online sales. However, before you go ahead with transforming your website into an eCommerce store, here are the things that you need to consider before entering the eCommerce world.

Are you a service-based business or a product-based business?

Service-based business

Suppose you are a service-based business that offers services rather than tangible products, like online consulting, home repair, creative services, personal healthcare, etc. In that case, your business’s marketing techniques and costs will be very different from a product-based company.

For businesses that offer their expertise and talent, for example, this North East wedding flowers company, these type of business require building trusting relationships with their customers. Therefore, their websites should focus on highlighting the advantages of their services, offering bespoke services, showcasing past case studies and client reviews. In such cases, eCommerce may not add a lot of value to businesses like these.

Product-based business

But suppose you’re a product-based business, such as a flower-delivery service like Bloom & Wild. In that case, your website needs to highlight and display specific product features for your customers to buy. In such cases, eCommerce is a great way to showcase your inventory, describe features and allow customers to check out and place orders directly from your website.

How are your competitors selling?

Another way to decide is by doing a market analysis and checking how your direct competitors are selling their products.

Knowing your market and going by selling methods that fit the best with your customers will always help to make an insightful decision. Customers take time to change their buying behaviour. Hence, sticking to their habit is often the best direction.

If most of the businesses in your industry make direct sales, it’s more likely that your customers may choose other vendors over you for ease of purchase.

For example, customers prefer buying expensive jewellery in person and rarely make the decision online. Hence, going for an eCommerce for an expensive jewellery business may not be a promising solution.

What products do you plan to sell?

Zoopla, showing an eCommerce-type of website without the eCommerce element.

Consumer packaged products or subscription-based products like groceries, cosmetics, shoes, fashion & accessories have more online demand and are easier to sell digitally.

However, some things just can’t be sold directly over the internet. Businesses that sell too expensive products, like jewellery, property, cars, etc., won’t benefit from the eCommerce route.

Customers tend to buy these products directly from sellers they trust, or simply for the assurance of quality.

Businesses that deliver high-end bespoke products tailored to the customer’s requirements will want to speak to customers personally and make sales offline. In such cases too, having an online marketplace will not really benefit the business.

Products like fireworks, some currency, medical devices, tobacco, etc., are too complicated or illegal in some countries to sell — or simply may never have the need to sell online. If your business falls in this category, going eCommerce may not be something essential within your industry.

Does your business work on a subscription model

Netflix offers an eCommerce subscription model.

If you are a business that charges its users, or subscribers based on an interval of time for your services/products, you can opt for eCommerce depending on what you are selling.

Subscriptions-based companies such as OTT media platforms (Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu), music apps (Spotify, Apple Music and YouTube Music), magazines, meal-delivery services are some of the other fastest-growing digital businesses, despite being service-based, such businesses are the future of eCommerce and often gain more customers than traditional retail channels.

What does your business need for eCommerce?

Now that you have evaluated that your business does need eCommerce, what should the next steps be? It would be best if you focused on what your website and customers need at first.

You can launch with a standard function eCommerce website; product listings, filters, shopping cart, user accounts and a checkout process, for example. Yet, you may not need to introduce advanced features such as product recommendations, user wishlists, invoices, order history, etc., at the very beginning.

You can also opt to launch an online marketplace via an eCommerce platform, such as; Shopify, WooCommerce, Squarespace, and many more.

Some eCommerce platforms such as WooCommerce can also be customised by developers to help build custom features that fit best for your business too.

Whether you run a product-based business or offer services, this is one of the best times for your business to go eCommerce.

However, don’t fall for the trend just for the sake of it. Remember to do your research and understand how best can your product sell online.

Market research and customer feedback will come in handy in order for you to make the right decision for your business.

Posted on 21st Jan 2021