At Trifunk, we encourage a lot of our product-based clients to consider e-commerce. Opening your business up to international customers, unlimited business hours, and on-the-go purchases can make a huge difference in sales. That being said, e-commerce is also a commitment and will cost time and money. In most cases, we believe that this is money well spent, but it does require some careful thought before you jump on the e-commerce train.
BIT.com recently took a look at some questions you might want to ask before embarking on e-commerce. These questions are great because they really get you thinking about your entire e-commerce plan beyond simply making your product available for purchase online.
Here are some of the questions Neil Temple brings up in his “6 Must-Ask Questions When Creating Your E-commerce Site” along with excerpts from his answers:
“1. Why e-commerce? Why does your business need it?
Before you do anything, consider your motivation for entering into the world of e-commerce. Embarking on this journey can bring great rewards but it is also time-consuming, can require significant investment and is potentially distracting to the core business activities that got you to where you are now.
Are you looking to increase sales? Deliver a better customer experience? Compete with other brands? Increase your brand awareness? Reduce the cost of service and improve your operational capability? Too often we have seen the underlying premise behind an e-commerce investment is not clear or understood across the various stakeholders in the business. This makes it difficult to measure success, secure sufficient funding and ultimately deliver at the pace required for a successful outcome.
2. How will you measure the success of your e-commerce project?
Once you have a clear understanding of why you want to invest in e-commerce, next you must decide on how you will measure the success of your efforts. Converting your original objectives into a set of clearly measurable targets will give you the ability to track your e-commerce efforts and make adjustments along the way as required.
3. What is a sustainable level of spend on your e-commerce-related activities?
Our experience has shown us that the most successful e-commerce operations are those that embrace the concept of continued learning and on-going refinement. These operations are always seeking to meet the changing needs of their customers and the general marketplace, embrace technology opportunities and better align the e-commerce offering with their own evolving capability.
4. Have you considered how the e-commerce capability will integrate with the rest of your business?
Your e-commerce capability is a direct extension of your business and constitutes more than just a website. For it to be successful, your complete supply chain must be integrated to ensure you are able to deliver your product or service end-to-end.
Consider also how you will deliver product and marketing content to this new channel. Will in-store promotions also need to be published online? Will you be selling the same product catalogue through your e-commerce website? If you have a loyalty scheme, will this be available online? Understand where the crossovers are and define how far you want go with integrating these components.
5. What reach will your e-commerce capability support?
By default, your e-commerce capability makes you open for business in every country, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Consider whether your business is set up to service this market and if not, ensure that you localise your offering accordingly. “