The growth of ecommerce is progressing at an increasing pace. The pandemic has been the motivating force behind the most recent push. But make no mistake about it; ecommerce was always going to be a driving force in business with or without the pandemic. It has become such a factor that experts are beginning to wonder if ecommerce could replace traditional commerce. While that outcome is unlikely for a number of reasons, ecommerce will continue its steady march forward.
That said, some companies are going to be left behind due to the inability to imagine a way forward in this brave, new world. Here are just a few of the reasons why:
- They are convinced they sell a product that requires in-person sales.
- They are convinced that the cost of payment systems other than cash are too expensive.
- They believe their current customer base is sufficient.
- They think that because they have been around for so long, they don’t need to change.
- They insist technology is just a fad.
- They don’t want to take the time and effort to learn something new about how to do business.
There is no good way to say it: Those businesses will die by the wayside. If you are ready to push your business forward into the world of ecommerce, here is what you will need:
A Strong Information Ecosystem
Whether you are making million dollar trades or mining penny stocks, information is the key to making it all work. If you want to go public and have your stock traded alongside the big boys and girls, professionals have to take notice of you and mention you in a positive light.
It is the same with reviews. If you have something to sell to the general public, potential customers have to find people talking about it. Bloggers need to be writing about it. Competitors need to be upset about it.
You need to be in the information ecosystem people use to learn about products in which they are interested. That means you should have your own blog and a strong, social media presence. You also need to optimize SEO so that you are search discoverable. You can’t assume people are going to walk into a store and learn about products. Consumer behavior has changed. You have to as well.
Professional IT Support
Part of your information ecosystem is your information technology. Your customers will not do repeat business with you if your website was slow and there was a problem with their payment due to your Mickey Mouse ecommerce backbone.
Another major technical faux pas is building a website without considering mobile. At this point in the development of ecommerce, you should have a mobile-first mindset. People are using 5” to 6” screens to interact with your business. If they can’t do that comfortably, they will move on to your competition.
Long before Apple was an ecommerce juggernaut, they understood the importance of packaging better than anyone else. Your shipping box is the first physical instantiation of your company your online customer is likely to see.
It is the first impression you never get a second chance to make. If the box is dented or damaged in any way, the customer will be convinced that the product was damaged. While that might not be true, it is a negative experience that could have been avoided if the company cared even a little about packaging. Good boxes are as important as good logistics.
Welcome All Forms of Payment
It should go without saying that Apple Pay is a big deal that gets a little bigger everyday. One reason is that it is attached to the company that has the most valuable customers in the world based on a number of metrics. When they come to your website and can’t find Apple Pay, many are ready to move on to one that does. The same will be true of high end Android users who have come to prefer Google Pay or Samsung Pay. These forms of payment are safer and more private.
In the same way, you don’t want to be the last retail outlet or restaurant standing that only takes cash. If you are not taking plastic, you are on the wrong side of a war against money. By and large, people under 25 don’t even carry cash. If you are not doing ecommerce, it won’t be long before you are doing no commerce at all.
Ecommerce is more than pay-per-click ads. It is being embedded in the information ecosystem, strong IT support, good boxes for a great first impression, and taking every form of money your customer wants to give you.