After deciding to take their traditional brick-and-mortar businesses online, many business owners want to launch their e-commerce storefront as quickly as possible with all the bells and whistles. In some cases, this is simply a waste of time and money. The trick is to take it slow and ease into it. Here are a few guiding steps:
Step 1: Think through the business opportunity. Ask yourself if you have a product that will appeal to people beyond your local reach. If you’re selling a widely available product, take some time to research the competition. You may find you cannot compete with others on price or selection. If you have a niche product, take a look at what similar businesses are doing.
Step 2: Make sure you can handle the added responsibility. Setting up an e-commerce storefront is not a “set it and forget it” project. Your online customers will expect the same service they receive from your top competition. They’ll want orders shipped promptly, quick communication, and a competitive price. Just think of what you expect when you place an order with Amazon.com.
Step 3: Execute in baby steps. For many small businesses, it doesn’t make sense to spend loads of money on a custom e-commerce storefront until the model has been proven. Consider starting with a pre-built turnkey shopping cart solution like Quick Shopping Cart, Yahoo Stores, or 1ShoppingCart. These solutions are easy to use and include all the basic tools and features. If you need help with this step, consider hiring an agency dedicated to local business, like HyperX. An agency like HyperX can help you find and execute the right solution, and help you to determine when you’ve outgrown it.
Of course there are many more things to consider when taking your business online, but this should get you thinking. If you want to talk to a professional about your project, please don’t be afraid to give us a call.