E-commerce: Opening new sales channels for your company
Adding online transactions opens new sales channels for your company — and even more
Laura Levin, 1/21/2013 (view original artilcle on NNBW) E-commerce can open up a world of opportunities for a business. It creates opportunities for interaction and transaction with customers you wouldn’t have ordinarily been able to reach before. E-commerce can help a business save money, increase sales and provide better customer service. Integration and implementation of e-commerce systems aren’t as difficult and costly as they once were and can provide significant benefits to you and your business. Reach an untapped sales channel One of the most valuable benefits of integrating an e-commerce system is reaching a potentially untapped market of online shoppers. Every year more and more people become accustomed to the idea of making a purchase online. In fact, online shoppers are expected to grow from 137 million in 2010 to 175 million in 2016. This really drives home how important an e-commerce business website is for anyone selling a product or service. Adding e-commerce opens your business up to people all over the world any time day or night, anywhere they have a computer or mobile device. It is like opening a 24-hour store that requires significantly less overhead and maintenance than a brick and mortar storefront. Increase value Typical business Web sites do not usually have the same features as e-commerce enabled Web stores do. In order to effectively distribute, market and sell goods or services online you will need certain features only found on e-commerce sites. These features may include a shopping cart, ability to process credit cards, online product catalog, automated inventory system, databases and email marketing program. Integrating e-commerce into your business allows you to offer customers additional features, tools or services, thus improving the user experience and consequently increasing the value of your company. Increase revenue The goal of an integrated e-commerce solution is to increase your revenue potential and reduce your operating costs. While integrating an e-commerce system does require additional infrastructure in some cases, it is usually minimal and in most cases increases the operational efficiency of a company. For example, if your e-commerce system was connected with your accounting or point-of-sale system, you could synchronize order data, inventory and other information in real-time. The days of manually inputting this data are over; you should have real-time access to your financial performance. Improve customer satisfaction E-commerce is an excellent way to improve customer satisfaction and visitor loyalty. An e-commerce storefront in some cases creates an easier means for your customers to purchase your products in an informative, visual and interactive way. Offering your products for sale online means that consumers will be able to make purchases more easily, get updates on new items or product discounts, shop anytime they wish and more easily contact you. Increase search engine rankings Using optimized e-commerce design methods not only improves how current customers use the site, it can also improve your site’s search engine rankings. Online retail is often driven by traffic from search engines. It is not unusual for customers to follow a link in organic search engine results, and land on an e-commerce Web site that they have never heard of. If you correctly optimize your website, taking into account how people search for and find your product, you’ll find you are reaching potential buyers that you never thought possible. People are proactively searching for the products you are selling, the challenge is getting noticed and converting browsers into buyers. It’s not enough anymore to build a pretty website and expect people to find you; search engine optimization is an essential part of any businesses online presence. A correctly designed e-commerce store can aid in your search engine ranking. Keep current systems The best part about e-commerce is that in most cases little additional infrastructure is needed to integrate with programs your business already uses. In some cases your current operating systems can be integrated with an e-commerce system by using an API (Application Program Interface). An API acts as a bridge between different software programs allowing them to interact with each other. A web developer can then put these blocks together to seamlessly interact with your existing operations. As you can see, integrating an e-commerce solution can be a tremendous asset for any business. It can open up untapped sales channels, increase revenue, improve customer satisfaction and increase search engine rankings. Now that you are aware of e-commerce and its many benefits, the next step is to choose the right web design company to best implement it. Laura Levin is the director of social media and communications at D4 Advanced Media, a Reno web design and internet marketing company. She can be contacted at [email protected] or (775) 219-5586.