Is E-Commerce Right For Your Retail Store?

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Have you ever thought of taking your retail business online? Amazon makes billions. They list products online, they sell them, ship them and make money. Simple right? The beckon of online sales always seems so easy, effective and profitable, but have you thought it through? Not all retail is created equally. Each business has to evaluate their own goals, audience and offering to decide whether or not an e-commerce store is right for them. There is no question that online sales in general are growing dramatically. Everyday people are more and more comfortable with making purchases online. We are slowly getting over those lingering questions; “will this really fit me?” “is it safe to put in my credit card information?” “do I want this company to be able to track my preferences?” “will the products even show up?” Free shipping, low minimums, and easy return policies have slowly eroded the barriers that once existed. But before you leap head first into an e-commerce website, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Who buys your products? Different audiences have different buying patterns and budgets. Some people will be willing to spend $20-40 online, others are ok with spending hundreds or even thousands. Some people expect a deal when shopping online, and others expect something unique. Figure out who your audience is and what their buying behaviors are online.
  2. What are your profit margins like? Will your customers expect free shipping? Thanks to e-commerce giants, many people do. So consider how much profit you have after a sale on a product, and if that can comfortably cover shipping. Depending on how heavy and large the items you sell are, shipping can be as little as $3 or as much as $200 or more. Make sure you understand how much it will cost to ship your products and how much you can afford to cover or not cover if you were to have an online store.
  3. Is your differentiator service based? If you sell home decor and your biggest advantage is that your sales people are trained in interior design and help people design their spaces, how does that translate online? This will take a well thought out strategy to ensure you provide the same experience online as you do in your store.

If you are considering going online with your products, make sure you partner with someone who will not just throw your products into a template, but help you build your strategy. At D4, we consider your entire business, your goals, your audience and your competitors to help you come up with an integrated strategy and help you succeed. Call us today for a free consultation!