This final blog of the series will show you how you can really start to build a solid plan to make your eCommerce site a success. Our eCommerce specialist, Sarah, has a real understanding of what makes eCommerce sites a roaring success, that’s why we’ve come up with some questions (that businesses like yours, will ask themselves when making the all-important move online) to ask her.
It is understandable, and sensible to ask yourself a whole host of relevant questions when planning to move your business online. As with any business venture, there is always a risk involved and it is important to have a bullet-proof plan to make sure you have considered everything before your eCommerce site goes live. So we’ve saved you some time and hassle and came up with a few FAQ’s to get you on you started…
This series has shown you how B2B (Business to Business) eCommerce in 2013 is set to revolutionise the way businesses trade with each other also how, by following our best practice advice, you can adequately prepare and as a result, reap the huge benefits that moving your business online can bring.
We also pin-pointed technology as one of the key factors in ensuring eCommerce success. Adopting the ‘right’ eCommerce solution for your business and ensuring that your existing technology works well with your current processes is not only wise but essential in ensuring the right start online. Once this has been achieved, you can then start to deliver real value to your customers, making you an unstoppable eCommerce force in your market.
In January we made our 2013 predictions for eCommerce (take another look here if you haven’t seen them). So…if you are currently enjoying success as a business owner in the tangible world, how can you begin to reap the benefits that moving your business online can bring?
Moving online isn’t a complicated task, but it should be treated as a real business plan, which means there are some fundamental questions to consider.
1. What can you sell online?
This is clearly the first and one of the most important decisions to consider when moving your existing business model online and there is probably a lot more scope than you think.
What you sell now is clearly a starting point in deciding on what you might sell online. Do you have products or services in your existing portfolio that have lower margins (and don’t warrant a huge amount of telesales time) but would benefit from higher volumes of sales, possibly online? Or are there products or services that compliment what you sell now but have not held enough value to invest in offline?
B2B eCommerce will become more sought after than B2C eCommerce…
It’s no secret that online sales are big in the UK market with 19% of all UK sales revenue coming from eCommerce in 2011 alone, with figures set to grow year on year. A less known fact however, is that in the same year, only 5% was from B2C eCommerce, with the rest attributed to B2B sales. B2B eCommerce has stood in the wings for a long time but now market analysts, as well as many B2B organisations are now recognising the size of the B2B ecommerce opportunity…
So far our eCommerce series has focused on the end product. By this we mean:
But how do you get to this point – your site up and running, reducing pressure on your sales team, offering customers the same fantastic experience online and overall supporting your offline business?
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For those of you that have been following this series, you will have probably already guessed what the number one answer to this question is.
For most businesses, when they start trading online the best audience to approach is existing offline customers.
The quickest way for an eCommerce site to earn its money is to use it to transfer traffic from the phones/fax/email (all areas which mean you are paying staff to enter orders) to your online store. Allowing your customers to place their own orders online increases your efficiency and cuts costs in these areas.
As a company that offers a paid content management solution, a frequent question we hear is ‘why pay for it?’ Good, free alternatives exist, the most common being Drupal, Joomla and WordPress.
A ‘CMS’ is a system for managing the content of your website, without having to edit the HTML source code of your pages. Most work by allowing you to set up HTML templates, and inserting your page content into the template you want to use using a simple WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor.
The CMS works by maintaining a database of your content, and inserting the appropriate content into your page template to serve you the page you clicked on.
Content management systems have dramatically lowered the cost of
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How do I even decide on a layout?
You want to stand out.
The best way to stand out is to be different to everyone else – right?
This is true in many walks of life, but when it comes to web shopping you need to be careful about being different.
There is a fine balance between creating something that is well designed and pleasing to use; and creating something so different that it is confusing to use and therefore has a negative impacts on sales.
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What do you think the top selling product type is online? I’ll share that with you in a minute…
but really, it’s not about the type of product you sell, it is however about the target market.
Most business to business suppliers have a readymade market in their existing customers and best of all the credibility and trust already exists in the brand. For many suppliers their products will naturally lend themselves to being ordered via the web. The critical thing is being able to offer facilities that make it possible:
If you are like almost every business in the UK, you are probably looking for ways to cut costs in 2012. What are the best ways to cut costs? We don’t know for certain, because cutting costs always involves taking a hard look at your business.
A good starting point however, is considering how your business takes and processes orders.
If you take orders over the phone, a great opportunity exists for you to save money by making more effective use of your website.