5 Reasons Why your business Needs eCommerce...Like Now.
It’s a crazy time in history right now. Businesses all over have been completely disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and smart business owners are rapidly repositioning themselves to make the best of a bad situation. eCommerce is not new, but what was seen as an optional sales channel, even a couple of months ago, has quickly become the only viable sales channel under our current government mandated restrictions.
Here are 5 reasons why you should be adding eCommerce to your business website now
You can still sell while your store is closed.
I think it goes without saying that selling some stuff is better for your bottom line than selling no stuff. An eCommerce setup can be easily managed by a minimal number of staff in a location that is not opened to the public. Orders come in via the website and can be fulfilled from a closed location
You can collect payments remotely
Since transactions are done via your website, payment can be handled completely digitally. This removes yet one more level of customer contact. Payment processing via credit cards costs about the same through a digital storefront than it does using a card machine at your store. There’s no equipment to rent and no fees to pay beyond the transaction fess (around 3% for most processing companies) you pay already.
You can sell Scale up to whatever market you want
You may want to start off using eCommerce to sell to your local customers, but it’s not much more work to scale up and start selling to a larger audience. You can set up a local delivery or pickup system for now, and then easily scale up to incorporate shipping to a larger area. The sky is the limit.
You can sell more types of products than you think
Maybe your business does not sell a traditional type of product. If you sell services, memberships, or digital downloads, for example, eCommerce can work for you. Let’s say you’re a lawyer. You could sell the service of creating a will, a power of attorney, or an incorporation. If you’re a landscaper, you could sell subscription services like mowing or gardening. If you create digital content, you could sell access to that content. If you are a consultant, you can setup paid consulting appointments done over video chat. There are a ton of ways to incorporate eCommerce into a website to sell not only the products, but services you provide.
It’s easier and more affordable than you think.
If you’re already got a website, it can be pretty straightforward to add eCommerce to your existing site. If you’re on a DIY builder, most offer it as a paid add-on. If you’re using a WordPress platform, there is an extremely popular open source eCommerce platform called WooCommerce which is freely available. There is certainly cost associated with setting them up, since certain features may require plugin licenses, and web designers and developers will charge for the time required to set up, but it’s no longer the case that eCommerce is the domain of large businesses.
Bonus: A few things you need to figure out before launching your eCommerce store front.
Here are a few things you’ll want to look into before you launch your eCommece site:
- Does your site have SSL encryption? Look at the address bar of your web browser when you are on your website. Do you see a little lock on the left-hand side of the address? If you do not, your site is not secured. You can speak to your hosting provider about getting an SSL certificate. Many offer them for free. Some others may charge extra. Most payment processors require that you have SSL in order to work on your site.
- Sales Tax. You will want to look into what your requirements are in your region for taxes collected via your online store. You may or may not need to collect and remit sales tax for sales which originate outside your state or province. If you service only a local area you would most likely just charge the same tax you would on a physical sale
- Some features may require paid add-ons. Perhaps you need the ability to create tiered pricing, or for people to add features to purchases. These types of features may require you to license a plugin. Some of these are freely available, some are a one-time purchase, and still others may require an annual subscription.
- Drop Shipping. If you buy and resell products, you may be able to set up drop shipping, which would allow your supplier to ship the products directly to the customer. This eliminates the need for you to hold inventory and the need to receive and then reship goods.