What Is eCommerce?
eCommerce consists of purchasing a product or service through an online website rather than through a standard bricks-and-mortar retail location. eCommerce can be used in place or a physical location or as a compliment to a physical location.
In the modern world if you sell products and services you must have a website. If you sell things and you have a website, it is essential that you make your products and services available for purchase on your website.
Just a few years ago, creating an online presence was daunting enough. The thought of integrating an inventory database, taking orders, and processing credit cards was downright overwhelming. That is not the case today.
The bottom line is if you strip away all of the excuses, and business selling physical products can and should be selling them online through a website or through a retail partner like eBay, Amazon, or Alibaba.
With service businesses selling online can be tricky, but it is just as vital. Movie theaters sell gift certificates and experience packages, pest control companies sell annual pest control plans, you can check in for a haircut, schedule an oil change, or even upgrade your computer.
Some of the common excuses business use to justify their lack of an eCommerce model include:
- It is too expensive to set it all up
- We don’t have anyone who understands how to maintain it
- No one buys my product or service online anyway
- No one else in my industry is doing it
- We are too busy as it is – we don’t need more to keep track of
The honest-to-goodness truth is all of these excuses are just mental justifications to limit your businesses’ efficiency and profitability.
The cost of setting up an eCommerce solution is less expensive than ever starting in some cases for under $1,000. Typically, the service provider who builds your solution also has a staff that can maintain it for you on an as-needed basis to post new products or update old ones.
These businesses don’t understand that if your industry currently does not offer an online purchase option, you have a tremendous opportunity to create a competitive advantage by being a first-mover among your peers. This is especially important if you are smaller than your competition.
Lastly, if your business is at the limit of how many customers, orders, or inventory that it can handle, it is MORE important to implement eCommerce. What if your established customers could automatically buy your goods and services without even talking to your staff? What if their payments could be collected without a human taking the payment information? If your ordes are processed electronically, they will be placed in production faster than if a human was doing it. Use that extra time to ship more inventory at slower shipping speeds. This lowers costs, frees up warehouse space and boost profitability.
Your website is not a brochure. It is your ideal employee with unlimited potential. You just need a partner to help you unlock it.