All Aboard the eCommerce Train: How Your Business Benefits
Did you know that the advent of online shopping, now better known as eCommerce, can be attributed to late British-born entrepreneur Michael Aldrich?
It started in 1979 when Aldrich invented a way to allow business-to-consumer transactions. At first, no one wanted to invest in the idea of buying a product or service from a non-physical entity. However, that all changed once the World Wide Web went live in the early 1980s.
By 1981, he developed the concept of an interactive broadband local loop cable T.V. for mass-market consumer telecommunications. Suddenly, corporations and businesses could connect with consumers without having to knock on doors. While retail giants such as Amazon have long had a stronghold on worldwide eCommerce sales, the little guys are starting to pick up steam. Many Canadian SMEs (small-to-medium enterprises) are realizing the importance of having an online sales presence. SMEs who wish to remain viable only need to look at the facts: online shopping is here to stay. That doesn’t mean you have to close your storefront. Having both a physical location and an eCommerce site is the equivalent of having your cake with a big dollop of ice cream.
Follow these steps on how to add an eCommerce platform to your online presence, and get ready to reap the rewards.
1. Pack Your Suitcase
Planning what you are going to sell and how to get your goods or services online is the first step for establishing a thriving digital marketplace.
Consider all your needs for setting up an online store and think about the assets that will be required.
- What products will I sell?
- Who will design my website?
- Do I need professional-looking images of my products?
- What methods do I need to take inventory?
- How will I ship products to customers?
- What’s needed to process credit card sales?
- How will I calculate Provincial and Federal sales taxes?
- What’s needed to take customer information?
2. Step on the Platform
There are several ways you can integrate eCommerce into your website. Start by contacting a knowledgeable marketing company with a website developer to help you develop your online strategy. A marketing agency can help you build your brand, design your new website or add an eCommerce platform, such as Shopify, to your existing site.
Things to consider when choosing an eCommerce platform include:
- Making sure your site is mobile-friendly
- Integration through plugins, chat rooms, apps, etc.
- Payment options
- Ease of use
3. Build Up Steam
Once your site is built, it’s essential to continually tweak it to meet existing customer expectations and ensure that new customers can easily find you.
Ways to improve eCommerce conversions include:
- Thinking about your brand and what message you wish to send out
- Increasing visibility via SEO optimization and quality content such as blogs
- Building email lists and sending out newsletters to let consumers know about new products/services, sales, etc.
- Performing regular analytics to understand your target customers
- Adding a Live Chat app so that customers can be attended to right away
- Running regular promotions on your site
- Incorporating social media or Google ads to boost traffic
- Thinking about how much you want to charge for shipping or offering free shipping for sales over a specific price
- Hiring someone to manage your online store if you also have a physical location
4. Success Upon Arrival
When thinking about the best eCommerce platform for small businesses, consider the easiest to integrate and the most user-friendly.
Used by millions of businesses worldwide. Shopify’s eCommerce solution allows SMEs to launch their online stores with a seamless and easy-to-manage checkout system. Shopify allows you to:
- Customize your online store
- Automate and manage your sales
- Set up in various marketplaces (website, mobile, social media, etc.)
- Keep track of inventory
- Manage POS and shipping
- Store customer information
- And much more
Learn more by reading How You Can Sell Online with Shopify and see how Twin Creek Media can help with eCommerce website solutions designed and developed by our Kelowna team using the Shopify platform.