Whatever you call it, shopping online, eCommerce, web purchasing…
buying products, services and electronic downloads via a web site is a growing business. The only definite thing that will happen to online purchases is that they will continue to grow over the coming years.
As the Internet has grown over the past few years, it has become the expectation of many that if you sell a product through a high street store or directly to your customers, that they can also buy it online via your web site.
If you list products and services for sale on your web site and don’t give your customers the ability to buy them online, they will more than likely close your site and swiftly find that of your competitors.
There is nothing more frustrating than finding exactly what you want online and then having to print out an order form or explain to someone over the telephone exactly what it is you want.
Customers have become much more comfortable over the past few years with buying products and services online and trends continue to grow month upon month showing increased Internet sales.
Business to Business
Over half of UK businesses now place their orders online.
If you are a business to business provider and don’t allow your business customers to shop and then pay for their goods online you could be giving then a reason to shop elsewhere.
More than just products
Selling online isn’t just limited to physical products. There are so many other items, services and virtual products available for purchase:
- In the last week of 2004 legal music downloads eclipsed physical singles sales and have done ever since.
- If you’ve bought a ticket online with an airline recently, you may have only received an “eticket” (electronic ticket) to confirm your booking. This now replaces the more usual paper ticket. The reference number alone becomes your purchase.
- Booking a place on an event, seminar, workshop or conference serves you with nothing more than a confirmation email and a booking reference.
- Booking holidays and accommodation online allows you to determine instant availability and reserve your place at the click of a mouse.
- Buying information in the form of an electronic book (eBook) or other downloadable document is an ideal way to obtain smaller amounts of vital information.
What about the costs ?
Selling your products online can be a lot cheaper than you think. You can integrate a complete eCommerce solution into a web site design for a lot less than you can imagine. Shopping cart solutions can be quite easy to setup and get running and will have you selling your products and services online in no time.
The costs to consider with selling online are:
- Merchant account fees for credit cards
- Credit card transaction fees per sale
- Postage and packing of your products
- Web site design and hosting
Is it right for my business ?
YES, nearly always. If you sell a product or service you should ideally also have it for sale online.
Check out your competition. Can your online visitors find the same or similar items online and can they readily buy them.
Do you know what your online customers are looking at? In your high street store you can watch your customers browsing, but can you do it online? With a professional eCommerce package you can. If everyone is looking at your new widget but noone is buying it, you need to work out why.
Do you want to lose nearly 12% of your business? If you don’t provide the means to allow your customers to purchase from you online, you could be loosing out on upto 12% of your potential sales.