Have your clients been thinking about online selling?
If they are, the good news is that online sales reached $1.5 trillion dollars worldwide in 2016, and over the last 2 years has continued to grow.
That number demonstrates that customers are increasingly refusing to be limited by physical boundaries and the need to shop in store or fill out manual orders. So, there are some huge opportunities to expand into e-commerce in order to tap into that market.
But is it worth it for your client’s businesses?
With so much potential revenue waiting for them, it’s a smart move to start weighing up their options and considering the viability of an e-commerce website for their business.
Taking the first step into the world of e-commerce
For businesses who engage in traditional offline selling practices, deciding to sell their products online is a new terrain and may seem intimidating at first. There are many questions to ask yourself, including:
- How will their customers benefit from an e-commerce site?
- How much is an e-commerce site going to cost them?
- How will they set up the site?
- Who will set up the site?
- When is the right time to launch?
But, before your clients even begin to go down that rabbit hole, they need to weigh up what they would like to achieve with online selling. Then collectively you can determine whether or not e-commerce actually has the capability to achieve these goals for your clients.
If your clients already know that e-commerce is a direction they want to take, our Selling Online e-book, is a complete guide to everything they need to know to get them started on their e-commerce journey. But, if they’re not sold on the idea yet, read on.
Your client’s objectives vs. e-commerce capabilities
For any business, it’s safe to assume that they’re always looking for new ways to make their processes more efficient, grow their business and make more money.
That’s why e-commerce and the opportunities it creates (and the needs that it can fulfil) is so exciting.
Let’s take a look at the 3 most common needs businesses are wanting to fulfil with online selling.
1. Increasing their customer reach
The beauty in your clients having a smaller customer base is how well they get to know their customers, so there are definitely some advantages to staying traditional. By building stronger relationships, your client’s customers will often become advocates for their brand and spread positive word-of-mouth to their network.
While traditional bricks and mortar businesses are limited to the customer base that surrounds the vicinity of the store or warehouse, one-on-one customer engagement is still an extremely important part of selling. Being able to speak directly to customers about their needs, issues and the value your client’s products offer will provide them valuable guidance.
For these reasons, sticking with traditional practices is a totally viable business option. But, when it comes to e-commerce, your clients can gain access to an entirely new customer base — and boost their sales volume as a result.
With e-commerce, it’s possible to reach thousands of new customers (potentially from anywhere in the world), at any time of the day or night. Traditional business hours no longer matter, as customers can complete their orders 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
And even better than that?
Your clients, as the merchant, wouldn’t need to dedicate any extra resources to support it.
2. Increased workflow and supply-chain efficiency
While front-facing operations are a huge part of selling online, there is a whole other side of online selling that involves processing customer orders and getting them out quickly and efficiently.
When set-up correctly, e-commerce sites are a cost-effective way to streamline your client’s workflow processes by eliminating manual, labour-intensive processes and replacing them with automation.
e-commerce platforms can help your clients to:
- Streamline order processes
Manage all incoming orders from a centralised location, leading to larger volumes of orders that can be filled daily.
- Increase order accuracy
Maintain order accuracy, even during busy times of the year like major sales and Christmas.
- Complete inventory visibility
Having accurate, real-time views of their product inventory will enable them to maintain accurate orders.
However, if your client’s currently operate warehousing facilities but they aren’t currently selling online, these systems are still able to be utilised with mobile warehousing solutions.
Your clients don’t necessarily need an e-commerce site to automate their warehouse processes, but seamlessly integrating the two will make the buying process a lot easier for them, and their customers.
3. Achievement of financial goals
If your clients are after quick, short-term financial gain, e-commerce may not be the right move for their business. Online selling is much more of a long-term investment that will cost them at first but will certainly earn back its value very quickly.
They need to be aware that there will be initial set-up costs to get their site up and running. But, before they even get to that stage, there will be lots of time (and money) spent on strategy and planning to get the right solution for their business and — more importantly — their customers.
In saying that, in the long-run, e-commerce is an extremely successful and sustainable business model. The operational costs are far lower than traditional bricks-and-mortar, and marketing automation functions will lower the total number of employees required to run your client’s business. This will result in outstanding long-term ROI, and the initial set-up costs will quickly be forgotten.
There’s no question that more and more businesses are turning to digital, driven by customer demand. But that doesn’t mean it is the right move for your client’s businesses to move online — yet.
In order to be successful, your clients will need thorough planning, and be supported by well-chosen technology that suits the needs and wants of their business and their customers. Check out the Selling Online eBook for more information about assessing if your client’s business is ready for online selling.
Are your clients thinking about online selling?
HARMONiQ has helped a wide range of retail, warehousing and distribution business make a successful and seamless switch to a fully integrated e-commerce solution which maximised their sales and ROI.
We’re using that expertise to keep you informed about your client’s selling online options. That’s why next month, I’ll talk more about ensuring their transition to selling online is a success. Meanwhile, why not learn more: download HARMONiQ’s “Complete Guide to Online Selling” e-book.
Here you’ll find a complete overview of all the planning and resources your clients need to invest in, so they can effectively facilitate the launch of a successful e-commerce platform.
And if your clients would like to see first-hand how our system can help them seamlessly transition to online selling, click here to request a demo and I’ll be in touch shortly.
Drew Arthur is the Managing Director of Micronet Systems and is focused on helping business leaders overcome inefficient sales, inventory, and customer relationship management practices by leveraging cutting edge technology. If your clients want to gain better control of the sales processes in their business, click here to see how HARMONiQ Business Tuning Software can make a difference to their business, or click here to get in touch.