The Advantages of e-Commerce
I’m going to start off with the more obvious benefits for your business in having an e-commerce store. Then we will progress to the more advanced, complex things you can do to boost your profits with e-commerce.
Advantages of e-commerce:
- Your business would have a store open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Each page on your web store, a sales person who doesn’t need breaks or holidays!!
- Very low running costs to keep your e-commerce store open for business comparatively to a bricks and mortar shop
- Opportunity to reach new markets. How likely is it that a new customer is going to phone you from Germany and buy something you sell over the phone? Not likely at all. However, with a web store it’s entirely possible that that same person could find you online and order.
- Limitless possibility for creation of new sales channels. Perhaps your products are handmade and of interest to Interior Designers. With e-commerce you could potentially approach Interior Designers all over the world more easily.
- Sell a wider range of stock items.
- Make more profit per item sold. The math is different, however your costs to sell each stock item goes down dramatically once your web store becomes established and you start to see decent traffic volumes. By consequence you should be able to make a higher margin, even with the slightly lower sale price you will almost certainly need to offer online.
- Upsells. e-Commerce stores can be setup to offer upsells. For example a customer is looking at your coffee e-commerce store. She is viewing a large bag of Robert&Roberts coffee beans and right below the description she sees an image of a tin of illy coffee and a tin of Lavazza coffee. Above these images reads the text:
Perhaps you would be interested in…Below the images it gives very brief information on the product and the price of each, which is a little bit higher than the product she’s currently viewing. Upsells are designed to increase the sale value of each customer.
- Cross-sells. These are offers of other complimentary products at checkout. Think about when you are in the supermarket and you get to the till. There are always lots of products surrounding you on your wait to pay. Sweets and treats usually. Sometimes special offers. With e-commerce, this can also be the case. In fact you can be even more targeted! Take the last example of the lady buying coffee from you. At checkout you could present her with a French Press or a new Coffee Grinder that you have on special offer.
- Much higher level of intelligence about your customers behaviour, likes, desires etc…
With e-commerce you will have great data about your customers behaviour on your e-commerce store. This data will allow you to adapt your store over time to make it more effective.
- E-mail Marketing. If configured correctly your e-commerce store should be collecting email addresses for you of potential customers in the future and also of existing customers. With email marketing (executed properly) you have an extremely low cost method of continually driving traffic back to your store with special offers, competitions etc.
- Better social media engagement. If you take the time and build a social media strategy, having an ecommerce store should increase the effectiveness of what you can achieve with social media. There are exceptions to every rule but generally speaking for ecommerce the majority of your visitors/customers will be sitting at a laptop/computer when making purchases. It is easier for you to incentivise or ask them for a mention on Twitter or Facebook. It’s also slightly easier for them to do it if you use the right technology so consequently your new customer is more likely to oblige.
- Data. I touched on this in point 9 above but it’s so important it easily deserves 3 or 4 points and maybe a gold star too! With good analytics installed on your e-commerce store you will have a lot of really useful and actionable data about your customer’s behaviour.