Recent events have driven more business online than ever before. More customers are shopping online only and, in response, more businesses are opening their online storefronts. This is accomplished by integrating an e-commerce store platform into your business website. Indeed, many companies are taking this opportunity to completely rebuild or re-establish their website structure with e-commerce at the core. Others are adding e-commerce plugins or modules to their existing business websites.
Now is a time when local businesses that once barely had an online presence are thriving through their online store and local delivery. In fact, with the massive influx in online traffic from stay-at-home policies, even businesses that traditionally require a phone call or email exchange to shop are installing e-commerce to streamline their selling process.
But here’s the question: Does your business need an e-commerce website solution? This adaptation is only the right move if your business and customers benefit from the e-commerce method of selling. Let’s take a closer look at who is making the e-commerce jump and why it’s a smart move for the right businesses.
Who Should Provide E-Commerce Shopping?
- Wholesale Vendors
- Digital Content Producers
- Equipment Rental Providers
- Piecemeal Services
The e-commerce platform is designed to help customers quickly find, select, and purchase orders online. The product might be physical items, digital content, enacted services, delivered food, or even access codes. All that matters is that your customers can browse listings shown with names, descriptions, images, and prices. They can sort products to find what they want, fill a virtual cart, and pay immediately to receive or ship their selection.
If your business can sell using this model, e-commerce is likely a smart upgrade for your website. Streamline your customer experience and let them quickly self-convert from window-shopping to purchasing with a few online clicks.
Businesses who benefit from e-commerce selling include any product-retail (B2C and B2B), wholesale vendors, and equipment rental. Digital creators, influencers, and vendors can sell via e-commerce and delivery product access immediately. Even services that can be delivered modularly can be sold via the e-commerce platform.
Who Needn’t Use E-Commerce
- Consultation Service Providers
- Custom Designer-Builders
- On-Site and Field Services
- Construction Contractors
- Appointment Service Providers
There are some companies that would benefit less or not at all from the e-commerce approach as well. Businesses that require a consultation and custom service quotes typically cannot sell via an e-commerce store because a unit-by-unit selection does not apply. On-site services whose prices and availability vary on the specific circumstances do not fit into the e-commerce mold either. Appointment services like retail pharmacy checkups can be sold via e-commerce, but only if prices never vary.
5 Signs Your Business Can Benefit from an E-Commerce Website
E-commerce favors certain types of business models, including anything that is ordered and can be delivered. If you’re still not sure whether your business can benefit from an e-commerce site, here are the five indicators that you have an e-commerce-ready business model:
1) Your Business Sells a Product or Inventory
What do you sell? If your business sells one product or an inventory of products, this puts you roughly in the retail industry. E-commerce was designed for retail, both B2B and B2C. An e-commerce website allows your customers to peruse the inventory and even make custom selections like size, color, and quantity. The virtual cart makes it easy to construct order and you benefit from the streamlined path toward purchase completion.
Restaurants are a unique and indicative exception. Restaurants also sell physical goods at predictable prices, the only difference is that the delivery is time-sensitive in a way that non-food retail products are not.
2) You Provide Delivery or Shipping of Goods
An e-commerce store is designed to facilitate the selling of goods remotely, usually with the assumption that they will be packaged and shipped from a nearby warehouse. E-commerce can also accommodate local delivery orders, such as take-out from restaurants or orders from local stores practicing safe social distancing.
If your business offers local delivery or ships goods at a distance, then there’s a good chance that e-commerce is right for you. Many e-commerce configurations support shipping and delivery estimates for better transparency and the convenience of your customers.
It’s also worth noting that e-commerce has a growing popularity for curbside pre-orders. Orders are conducted and paid for via e-commerce, then customers can come to your business through a drive-through or curbside to quickly receive their goods.
3) Pre-Purchase Consultations Are Not Required
Consultations are one of the few excluding factors for an e-commerce store. Customers who need a consultation before they make their purchase cannot typically use the quick-and-efficient e-commerce shopping method. They can’t just pick a good (or service) and proceed to check-out. Instead, customers may need to hold a one-on-one meeting with a company expert or even host a technician to look at their on-site problem.
If consultation is required to finalize a purchase, then e-commerce is likely not the right online selling model for your business. Instead, you need a lead-funnel to schedule an appointment or immediate live-chat/local video chat experts ready to consult on the spot.
4) You Provide Easily Defined & Performed Services
Maybe you don’t provide goods, but your business does provide a predictable service. Lawn mowing, for example, is a modular service that can be done without consultation and for a flat fee. One unit (per yard size) of lawn mowing could be sold online. The same goes for any service that can be done at modular flat fees with no pre-purchase consultation.
You can also sell via e-commerce if you charge a flat fee for certain drop-off services like cleaning or repair of dropped items. This is another no-contact and easily online-salable ways to use an e-commerce platform.
5) Your Customers Submit Orders and Receive Prompt Results
Not all business models fit into e-commerce’s central mold, but you might still be able to put the platform to use. Does your business model include modular pricing and prompt results? Even if you are not traditional retail, restaurant, or quick-service business, your company might still be able to sell your whatever-it-is via e-commerce.
Consider the curbside adaptation of an e-commerce order; used even in fast-food drive-throughs for quick service. Consider how an e-commerce store can be used for modular services with predictable prices. Or how restaurants are using the e-commerce style for menu selection and quick delivery.
If your customers submit orders and receive prompt results, you might be in the right place to put an e-commerce website to use.
Is an e-commerce store right for your business website? This is an important business decision to make, and we can help. If you’re not certain or if you’re ready to dive into the e-commerce upgrade, contact us for a consultation.