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E-commerce web design and development has been a hot topic for quite some time now. What’s interesting is that the narrative is now changing, bringing a much-needed “reality check” for businesses that are considering making a big move to e-commerce, or changing their entire business model to accommodate online sales.
So, how do you know if your business is ready to make the move to e-commerce and what do you need to consider during the transition process?
1. Current traffic to your website
How well is your current website marketed? Do you have a significant amount of traffic coming to your website on a regular basis?
You want to make sure people already know that you exist online when you launch your online store. If they don’t, it will be that much harder to make money on your newly developed e-commerce platform (the reason why you created it in the first place).
2. Marketing (how will you drive traffic to the site?)
If you don’t have enough traffic coming in to your website now, how will you promote your store to fix that? Make sure you have a digital marketing plan in place tailored specifically towards promoting your online store. It may include social media, paid advertising, SEO or all of the aforementioned. An experienced marketing agency would be able to help you form a marketing strategy with your e-commerce goals in mind.
Have a solid marketing plan in place that includes your revenue projections, costs and expectations. And don’t forget to look into your industry’s statistics, to make sure your projections are realistic.
3. Branding your store
Digital marketing is amazing, but it’s also changing fast. Every year we see new trends – some stick, some don’t – but one thing remains – customer buying behaviour changes drastically year over year. Be it a shift to mobile shopping, or how people search for products online.
One of the things we keep hearing in the industry is (naturally) that Amazon is the place people go to search for products, not Google. The argument of “why do I even need an e-commerce website then” is a relevant one, truthfully speaking… But this is why branding is the game changer for those, who see e-commerce as a viable business model. You want to build up your own brand to a certain level, where people go to search for products on your website, rather than Amazon or Google. As we often say, branding is an integral part of marketing, and the relationship between web development and branding is no different.
Is your brand strong enough today to be that destination?
4. Internal resources (shipping, on-going management, customer satisfaction)
Do you have the internal resources needed to run an e-commerce website? A person accountable for the success of your e-commerce endeavour? While it can seem like adding online sales might not be a big deal, the process of making sure your (online) customers are happy requires a lot of effort (because online shoppers have VERY high expectations). Be ready to reply to your customers online, even if you have an extensive FAQ section and smart, intuitive web design. Humans still want to hear from humans. And that might be a good thing, if you ask me… 😉
5. Internal processes (POS)
If you are thinking of integrating your offline and online sales to work together with one POS system, you will need to do your research to check whether your current POS provider offers an API for your new online store (be it a WordPress, Shopify or a custom-built website). An API will affect the overall cost of your e-commerce platform but also the simplicity of your accounting.
6. Inventory management (online v.s. in-store)
Same as above, does your current inventory management support your move to e-commerce? Ideally, you want to have one inventory system (especially if you have limited resources), otherwise, you may need to look into separate stock for offline and online offerings (which could have its own benefits, but adds an extra step in the process).
7. Exclusivity of your product
Last but not least, if you are selling product (not services) online, how exclusive is your product? This could be a winning point for you. If you provide custom products, exclusive or licensed goods or you have a strong selling online could be great for you.
If you are considering creating an e-commerce website for your existing business, contact us to find out more about the process. We work closely with clients to make custom-built websites designed to help you achieve your business goals. We act as though we are part of your team, making decisions for the good of your business. To discover what it’s like to work with us, your can see some of our previous web design projects, read our Facebook reviews or why not stop by our marketing agency in Vancouver for a chat and a coffee – plus, we always have chocolate!