What to Consider When Moving into E-commerce

May 2017

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What to Consider When Moving into E-commerce

More and more businesses are expanding into the world of e-commerce as online retailing continues to grow at a rapid rate, accounting for around a quarter of all retail sales. In order to remain competitive and grow, moving into e-commerce is a good idea, and it offers many great opportunities no matter what sector your business is in. There are also various challenges, which is why you should make the following considerations before moving into the e-commerce sector.   

Opportunities of E-commerce
There are many advantages and opportunities that moving into e-commerce offers:

  • Increase your customer base: Moving into e-commerce allows your business to reach new customers, beyond the existing base. Using existing online marketplaces such as eBay and Amazon makes this even easier.
  • Widen your market: E-commerce also makes it easier to expand to an international market with both consumer and business parcel delivery. You may find there is a strong demand for your products in another country, which you can build upon.
  • Reduce overheads: Selling online can reduce the need for retail premises and staff to work there, cutting back on your costs. These savings can then be used to grow your business in other ways, such as marketing, product development, a delivery company partner and more.  
  • Analyse sales: Website analysis tools can be used to track sales and customer activity. This information can provide valuable insights for marketing and improving your site to further increase sales.

If these opportunities are what your business is looking for, then moving into e-commerce either as an accompaniment to your existing retail company or as a replacement, could be the right move. There are other challenges and considerations to make though.

Costs and ROI
There are various costs to consider when moving to e-commerce, and some can be put off by the risk associated with uncertain return on investment (ROI). There will be increased running costs to cover, including paying for a platform, web design and upkeep, along with changes to inventory, parcel delivery, marketing and more.

Costs can be hard to predict, especially when dealing with a mix of small and big parcel delivery and estimating prices at the checkout. Plus, with the online competition and shift in business plan, if it doesn’t work out then it can seem like a wasted investment. Therefore, ensure you have a solid plan in place with enough financial backing.     

Online security can be a concern for both consumers and businesses. Especially for new, unestablished e-commerce companies, it can take a while to build up customer trust that their financial and personal information will be safe when making purchases. While e-commerce companies will worry about data and fraud breaches themselves. As mobile payments are growing in stature for e-commerce firms (mobile payments have tripled since 2015) this poses a further risk.

Putting in place a secure payment method that keeps all customer information secure is a must. Use an established company and one that accepts various payment methods, offering as much choice as possible to satisfy consumers.

Customer Retention
As well as attracting new customers, you need to retain them to grow. Using a reliable delivery company who get products to customers on time and intact is vital for this to happen. Our parcel delivery services can take care of this, resulting in satisfied customers who will shop with you again.

Along with little and large parcel collection and delivery, offering various payment methods, having a well-designed website and providing excellent customer service are all requirements for retaining customers.  

It is important to research and analyse competitors when moving into the e-commerce market. There will likely already be many similar e-commerce companies in business, and it can be concerning thinking about how to compete with them.

Look at what the most successful ones are doing and think of ways to emulate this, without directly copying their ideas. Also seek any gaps in the market and be willing to test out new things, which will involve a certain amount of risk. Consider ways to differentiate yourself from competitors while still offering desirable products.

Marketing and Driving Traffic
Moving to selling online will require a fresh marketing approach. Consider the best methods to use, whether it is email marketing, social media, digital PR, a mixture of all three or more. Reviewing competitor activity and marketing in a way that will hit your target audience is essential.

If done successfully this should help drive traffic to your site and boost sales. SEO is incredibly important to ensure you are found by the target audience through search engines and links. It may be worth hiring staff to take care of this or outsourcing to ensure it is done effectively.

Make all these considerations before you move into the world of e-commerce and it should increase your chances of success.

Image courtesy of iStock.   

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