eCommerce Series Platforms Part II

Catch the first post on e-commerce here.

Moving to an e-commerce platform is an exciting change for any business. It brings around more customers, a chance to create and sell more products and services, and a new way to bring those two things together. When making the move to e-commerce it is important to take a few things into consideration.

How sophisticated your needs are. With the wide variety of e-commerce sites available it is important to know exactly what you need. The greater and more complicated your needs means you need a more sophisticated website. Here are two examples.
You own a restaurant or catering company. Your menu has twenty items each with minor variations (onion vs no onion), and it is all very straightforward. You want your customers to be able to order in advance as well as on site using an e-commerce platform.
You own a monogramming company. You sell hundreds of products in dozens of colors and offer almost three dozen font options. Nothing is standard and rarely are two orders ever the same. Each order is highly individualized, and there are a number of categories that require customization.
These two situations are very different, but both businesses can be well served by an e-commerce option. It, however, is abundantly clear that their platforms will be very different. Find the e-commerce platform that marks things off your “must” list.

What is the demand. This is where it can get complicated. If you are a hyper local business with no reason to expand beyond the geographical area in which you already have customers then you need to figure out how e-commerce improves their experience. This is especially true for service based industries: restaurants, cleaning services, salons, plumbers, and more. If you are a local business with a product to sell that is as likely to sell outside your geographic location as it is inside it then your demand is with new customers in a much more expanded area. Demand means different things to different businesses, and you must know your industry well enough to decide where you fall.

Know your plan. Think ahead a few years, and what do you see? Do you plan to diversify and emphasize product sales in both your brick and mortar location as well as your e-commerce store? Are you starting this e-commerce store as a way to shift away from a retail location? Are you starting with e-commerce, and if it goes well planning a traditional store? All of these questions are imperative to success when e-commerce is involved.

If a business takes these things into consideration while deciding to make the jump to e-commerce it can make the transition much easier and provide the base for a long lasting and successful business. Not every business is one who benefits from e-commerce, but many can. Acknowledging that difference can be the difference between success and failure.