The E-commerce Myths
We’ve been doing e-commence a long time, and there are a few myths out there that we would like to dispel.
Myth #1: I need a simple shopping cart solution. Simple shopping cart solutions may be simple, but it may lack the features of running a business. For example, if your e-commerce business were to boom, your demand and supply will increase and you’d need to invest more. If your plan is for an e-commerce store to grow, the last thing you need is a simple shopping cart solution. The things that your e-commerce system doesn’t do is exactly the things that you will have to manually do for each order. As volume increases (and most stores hope that it will), then this creates a growing and unsustainable workflow. Time spent managing the processes will deteriorate profitability on items sold, so think through this one carefully before choosing a shopping cart for its “simplicity”. Simplicity often means a lack of features.
Myth #2: Product Data is easy. Product data is anything but easy, and the more products you have, the harder it is to properly manage. Your product data and its structure have a lot to do with how independent product pages will perform in the search engines, so just having data isn’t enough. Your product pages will also be the means to conversion, so you need to have visibility (marketing), high-quality images, compelling descriptions, strong calls to action, good design and layout, accurate tax and shipping calculations, and competitive pricing to win sales. All of these factors coalesce into one form: marketing. Hence, if marketing isn’t your forte, then you must quickly learn a different skill. Just dumping in product data won’t ensure sales, so each product page needs to be engineered to convert for that particular product. The scenario becomes even more complex when you get into inventory management, pricing changes from suppliers, shipping restrictions, legal and legislative restrictions, and back-order management. All this impacts your product data and its accuracy, and without a solid system for this, data can become outdated, resulting in a drop off of sales or lots of hours in updating the data with every little change.
Myth #3: Build it and they will come. This is a huge oversight for most people building e-commerce stores and is somewhat related to myth #2. Some suppliers grant product data to their customers. They provide images, pricing, shipping info, descriptions, and the necessary items to sell the products. The problem is, everyone gets the same data. Same images. Same image file names. Same descriptions. Same everything. Each online retailer is expected to compete with the duplicate product data. If you just build your store, load in your products, and hope for the best, chances are you’ll get left out in the cold. Google and other search engines are weeding out duplicate content, and typically, the best source or the original source wins. The best source is the most known or credible website. The original source is whoever published the content first. If your website doesn’t fit into one of those categories, you have to find a way to differentiate your content from your competitors.
Myth #4: One size fits all. The market for e-commerce has taken a canned approach over the last couple of years. For smaller businesses, sometimes you can fit your needs into a canned solution. Many hosted monthly solutions are popping up to fill the needs of smaller businesses. If you are a small business, many times you can get away with these solutions, but typically not as the business grows. As you attempt to scale operations, add salespeople, add multiple locations and warehouses, add new suppliers and expand marketing, you start to hit a glass ceiling with most of the canned solutions. Most don’t allow split shipments from multiple locations (like Amazon.com), but rather batch the shopping cart into one shipment from a set location. This can cause discrepancies in taxes and shipping amounts that are calculated at checkout. In the case of salespeople, most shopping cart solutions don’t allow for assigning salespeople to orders or having multiple email notifications based on who sold the item or what supplier the PO needs to go to. When it comes to data and fulfillment, you can expect more manual processes. Most solutions don’t allow for automatic product data updates or automated tracking number updates. These little manual processes, when scaled across a lot of orders can make the daily operations of e-commerce a big headache. Having a solution built to automate those process saves valuable time and hours that can go into other areas of running your business.
Myth #5: Design doesn’t matter. Price sells. The truth is, design matters a great deal for e-commerce. If a customer is going to give you their credit card info online, your online store has to look the part, feel the part, and be the part. Buyers won’t just give their credit card info to any online store, but they have to be a credible business. Did you know that consumers will make a decision on if you are a credible business within the first few seconds of visiting? The most noted items in that first impression are design, logo, security (use of SSL or not), and layout. Consumers will pay more to know they are getting a product from a reputable source. If you intend to be a price leader and overlook design, you may be perceived as a “possible scam” website with pricing that looks too good to be true on a website geared to steal credit card info.
E-Commerce Done Right
SEOteric takes a business-first approach to e-commerce. We look at your operations and growth strategy to find or build a solution that works for you. We’ve helped customers automate data from suppliers, automate tracking info from distributors, add sales team management solutions, optimized product data for better SEO, solved complex security issues, and get better conversions and sales. If you are a growing business in need of a solid and scalable e-commerce solution, let’s work together on it.