Your business may be thriving, but you still need to keep it competitive, or it will be left behind. One major upgrade that most companies would benefit from is an eCommerce option. Being able to sell online can be a great boost to your business. But it is not as easy as setting up a website and waiting for the orders to come in. Here is how you can do your online expansion with a high chance of success.
Choose Your Selling Option
The first thing that you have to do is to consider how exactly you will start selling. There are three main options. If you don’t want to worry about anything, then you can turn over everything to a third-party online retailer. That is usually Amazon or eBay. You have to sign up for an account. Then they will be handling all the payments, deliveries, and more. The great thing is that there are customers who are already in place. They can browse the market so that they might stumble on your products. But this does mean that the retailer will take a significant cut of the earnings that you will make from using their platform.
Another choice would be to add a shopping cart to your current website. That is pretty easy when you don’t have a wide range of products. If you only sell a service or a few items, then a simple shopping cart can be enough. Finally, you can go all the way and create an independent eCommerce store. That is the best option if you are selling an entire inventory of products. It is also the most difficult, but some platforms allow for a complete website to be set up. There is still some major work to be done like product photos and the like.
Setting Up The Infrastructure
Besides the website, there is the back end of running an eCommerce website. You have to be able to service the orders that you receive and accept payments. The most important part of your infrastructure is payment processing. That can be simple if you accept credit cards in your brick-and-mortar store. All you need to do is to contact your current payment processor and request that you can start accepting online payments. The usual requirement for this is to create a new merchant account, but this should be easy to handle as they will walk you through everything.
If you don’t have a payment processor, then you need to shop around for one. Visa and MasterCard are the most popular choices, but there are other processors, too. These are usually region-specific and may be better for you, depending on your location. Besides the standard payment processors, there is also PayPal. The payment service makes everything easy and secure. You don’t even have to handle any credit card info, which is excellent for your security. You have to fix things up with PayPal for a business account, but it can make things much easier for you. PayPal can even be available alongside standard credit card payments. The more payment options you have can ensure that you have more potential customers.
Besides accepting payment, there is also the matter of delivering all of your sales. Ensuring that your product arrives at your customer in good shape is a necessary part of eCommerce. You need to have a team ready to pack things. It is possible to outsource this, but you can save money by doing all of it in-house. Additionally, the biggest expense you can expect from eCommerce is shipping. Depending on where your product is going, you may end up paying quite a bit. If you don’t want to lose money on your shipping fees, you should look for shipping companies that can provide cheap shipping rates for you.
Letting People Know
Having an eCommerce store also requires you to do some marketing. With all the eCommerce options available to buyers, another new store is not going to attract any attention. People might stumble upon it through a Google search, but this won’t be enough to get you the customers you need. A directed effort to market your store has to happen if you want customers. You can do so by using your traditional ad channels. Additionally, you can tell your current customers about your new store so that they can spread the news about it.
Overall, expanding into eCommerce will take a lot of work. But with that effort, you can expect rewards in the form of another source of revenue for your company.