The popularity of ecommerce in 2020 is well-established. The speed, convenience, and sheer choice offered by ecommerce make it the first choice for customers looking to buy online.
Consequently, virtually every business would do well to introduce ecommerce into its business strategy in 2021. If you’re considering such a venture, read on for a few tips to learn how to do it right.
Choose a platform to sell your products from
First and foremost, you need to choose a platform on which you will sell your products.
If you already own a business website built using a dedicated content management system (CMS) to you are migrating to WordPress, there are plenty of ecommerce plugins for you to choose from. For instance, if you built your website with WordPress, the WooCommerce plugin lets you easily add an ecommerce function to your business.
If, on the other hand, you (or someone else) built your website from scratch, you will need to create an ecommerce function from scratch. If this is outside your ability, experienced web developers can complete this for you. This gives you a degree of control over the shape and direction of your online store.
Another popular choice is to simply use a dedicated ecommerce platform to build your online store. These are often accessible and easy to use, so even business owners with little to no coding knowledge can build an ecommerce store with ease.
While this is a good option for starting an online store from scratch, it might require some legwork in order to integrate it if you already own a business website.
Determine a strategy action that suits your business position
Many of you reading this will be entering the world of ecommerce from different positions. If you already sell products in a brick-and-mortar store, you simply need to make those products available online.
This is relatively straightforward to do — most ecommerce platforms let you upload stock lists via CSV file. This means you can simply use your existing stock data, although it might require some tweaking to ensure it meets your chosen platform’s requirements.
On the other hand, if you don’t sell products but are looking to start (for instance, if you run a service-based business and want to introduce ecommerce as an extra revenue stream), you will need to liaise with product manufacturers or develop them yourself.
Alternatively, you might prefer to wade in the shallow end of the ecommerce pool before committing completely. Dropshipping is a particularly strong option in this instance. The removed need for warehouse space or owned fulfilment centres makes it easy for you to get to grips with the mechanics of ecommerce, without any of the logistical commitments — perfect for ecommerce first-timers.
Whatever route you choose, be sure to take it slowly. Getting to grips with ecommerce for the first time can be tricky, but a steady approach towards integrating it into your business will keep you on an even keel.
Consider other sales channels as your business grows
Much of the above has looked at ecommerce via your business website. But it’s vital to keep in mind that there are plenty of other channels through which you can sell products online.
Perhaps the most popular of these are your social channels. Virtually every social platform has some form of ecommerce feature built-in — Facebook has its Marketplace, Instagram offers Product Stickers, and even Snapchat has taken steps to introduce ecommerce for merchants.
These social selling channels give you an opportunity to sell your products on platforms where your customers are regularly active. You can also target your ads and products to customers that are more likely to be interested in them based on consumer data.
Beyond social channels, online marketplaces also offer further channels on which you can sell your products. Amazon, Etsy, eBay — these are just a few examples of other online channels that can complement your online store.
Social selling exposes your products to customers on platforms where they are regularly active. In the same way, online marketplaces achieve the same by getting your products seen in a space that customers frequently use to search for items.
Using a variety of sales channels is this way is described as a multichannel strategy. While it is essential for expanding your ecommerce business, don’t overreach. By starting with a single sales channel (your website) and gradually expanding as your sales increase, you can sustainably grow your business a safe, comfortable rate.
The tips above are just a few points to consider if you’re introducing ecommerce into your business for the first time. But the best way to learn is by doing. Get started today and slowly learn the mechanics of ecommerce and how it can best serve your business in 2020.