E-commerce. Is it time to bring your business online?

E-commerce ventures are on the rise. Are you prepared to join the rocket ship? 

E-commerce is becoming increasingly more popular largely because it enables consumers to purchase exactly what they’re looking for quickly and efficiently. Enabling consumers to purchase anything they desire from the comfort of their own home with a simple click appeals to the ever-growing trend of the demand economy we’re living in. Consumers want what they need now. They want it fast, and they don’t want to go through a hassle to get it. 

E-commerce is also a growing trend amongst entrepreneurs, boasting many benefits such as eliminating the need for a brick-and-mortar location, and gaining additional exposure that would not have otherwise been possible without an online audience. 

Do you operate a product or a service-based business? 

Before you can bring your business online, you have to decide if it’s suited for an online landscape and the easiest way to do this is to determine whether you’re a product or service-based business. Do you sell a product, or do you provide a service? E-commerce refers to a business model that enables small business owners, individuals, and entrepreneurs alike to move goods online. An e-commerce website acts as a hub where consumers can purchase your products via computers, tablets, cell phones, and other mobile devices. 

So, do you have something that you could make available to consumers online? Maybe you retail clothing and would love to offer it to a wider audience? Or maybe you own a baked goods shop and want to empower your customers to make purchases online? If you’ve been looking to scale your business and have a product that can be sold seamlessly online, it may be time to jump into the e-commerce landscape. 

Now, we don’t want to send you running for the hills if you’re a service-based business. Just because you offer a service as opposed to a tangible product, it doesn’t mean you can’t develop a product based on your services that can be retailed online.  Maybe you’re a career coach and offer one-on-one consultations? Can you turn your words of wisdom into an ebook that can be sold online? If you operate a service-based business, you can still opt for an e-commerce funnel, but it may take a little more creativity. 

While there are lots of alluring products that can be retailed online, its best to move forward with a product that: 

• Fulfills a need

• Solves a problem 

• Removes a pain point 

Questions to ask yourself before jumping into an e-commerce venture: 

1.     Am I ready to scale?

Opening an online store is an entire venture on its own. It requires meticulous planning, hard work, and a lot of manpower. Before doubling down on e-commerce, you must make sure you’re ready to scale. Before you can scale, make sure you: 

• Hire the right people 

• Outsource non-essentials

• Automate repetitive tasks 

•  Have a full proof marketing strategy 

2.     Can my current infrastructure support an e-commerce expansion?

Now that you’ve determined if you’re ready to scale, you must make sure that your current infrastructure can support an expansion. If it can’t, you will have to adjust and plan accordingly before you can expand. Do you have a warehouse or space where you can store your supplies? Do you have enough manpower to pack and ship orders? Do you have a supportive team that is dedicated to your success, even if it means working longer hours or taking on a new role? 

Additionally, you will need the technology necessary to back your new venture. Tools like Shopify will make it possible for you to start, grow, and manage a successful e-commerce business. This subscription-based software allows anyone to set up an online store and sell their products. 

3.     Do I have the inventory I need to accommodate an online audience? 

What many new e-commerce entrepreneurs fail to realize is the additional exposure that comes with opening an online store. When you insert your products at the forefront of an entirely new market, its natural for your sales to skyrocket so you need to step back and determine if you have the inventory necessary to accommodate an online audience.  

4.     Do my current marketing efforts support an e-commerce expansion? 

Digital marketing is an extremely important element when it comes to running a successful e-commerce store. Without it, you won’t gain exposure and will fail to get your products in front of your intended consumer. 

According to Shopify, a Canadian multinational e-commerce platform, there are three main things that you need in order to succeed in e-commerce: 

• The drive to succeed

• High-demand or trending products to sell

• The skills and capacity to market your products

Tips for succeeding as an e-commerce-based business: 

1.     Nurture your audience 

In order to succeed as an e-commerce-based business, you must nurture your audience. Do you know which platforms your audience is most active on? Do you know how your audience prefers to consume content online? Do you know how to get your product in front of your audience in a way that would prompt them to finalize a sale. It’s imperative that you take the time to get to know your ideal consumer so you can narrow down your focus and spend your marketing dollars where they matter most.

2.     Leverage content marketing

After you’ve identified your target audience you can begin to get to work on an in-depth content strategy that appeals to your desired consumer. Content marketing can be a much more economical choice when compared to other marketing tactics like Facebook Ads or AdWords Campaigns, but it requires a complex strategy and meticulous upkeep.

3.     Get active on social media 

Social media is the key to generating online sales, especially if you’ve opted for an organic content strategy that relies on your brand and social media presence to succeed. Social media can be leveraged to generate brand awareness, educate your audience on your product offerings, and most importantly; generate sales. 

4.     Don’t underestimate the power of SEO

An extensive social media strategy is important, but many entrepreneurs fail to capitalize on SEO. SEO or search engine optimization refers to the tactics that can be leveraged to make your products more discoverable on search engines like Google. 

Consult with an Expert Today 

We have small business marketing down to a science and we would be happy to pair you with an expert that can discuss your readiness to scale. From business strategy to web development, we love joining forces to help business owners like yourself standout online.

Whether you’re ready to scale, or preparing or a future endeavor, our team of industry experts are here to lean on. Simply fill out our contact form or schedule a call. We’re always happy to lend a helping hand to a fellow entrepreneur. 

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