The e-commerce world offers a rapidly expanding opportunity. In the United States which has a slower acceptance rate that that of Canada, saw $43B in transactions online in the final quarter of 2010. The top performers were computer software, consumer electronics, books, toys and hobbies.
There are out of the box shopping cart installations available, which present some of the biggest traps for small and medium sized business. Without customization these products will provide at best a sub-optimal shopping experience . Add to this the kick in the pants you will take in regards to e-marketing and they are rarely a solution. If you are already a Point of Sale or Inventory Management user, iTristan Media Group has a number of developed and flexible eCommerce products and services for you.
Entries to e-commerce are similar to a web site launch. Without marketing your e-commerce presence it will have little effect. Social Media and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) are intertwined and engaging these vehicles see results that are exponentially greater than those that do not.
The glaring problems that we see are seeing in e-commerce are few, but far too common. Avoid these traps to save yourself both grief and money over the long run :
Ask planning questions : usually the most difficult starting point is to determine your starting point. Ask questions of developing and consulting professionals how your system will work, and how it will work with your POS.
Avoid assumptions : as above, whether you are a technical guru, or a newbie, you still need to know how your business will operate as a fully online entity. Be sure to understand how your data will appear online, how inventory updates will happen, how your shipping rates will be calculated and most importantly, how your payments will get to your bank account. Remember, assuming anything can lead to costly revisions and in some cases abandoning projects entirely! We love questions, lots of questions, nothing more, to ensure the project is well understood well before the shovel hits the dirt.
How will your existing site be affected? : if you have an existing site, what does it do for you? Does it serve a marketing function, an operational function – and will your new ecommerce system replace any of these functions; and should it?
How will your marketing plans change? : what does it take to convert a customer now? How can your new system enhance your marketing capabilities and business intelligence?