Is e-commerce right for your business?
With Coronavirus seeing more and more individuals self isolating, the world of e-commerce is going to become increasingly important. Have you geared your business up to be able to sell your products or services online?
It's fair to say that over the last decade the way that we do business has changed. The wealthiest company and man in the world has their entire business based around the concept of buying goods without ever having to step foot in a physical store. Gone are the days of needing a storefront and physical premise to run an effective business. The not so new, but ever more important frontier of digital business is becoming the driving factor to many companies profitability.
For New Zealanders, that spells opportunity. Whether you are an established business without an online presence, a new shop that hasn't branched into e-commerce, or someone just starting out their journey - starting an e-commerce website could offer you a fantastically cost effective way to increase your bottom line.
So what is e-commerce?
In it's simplest form e-commerce is any online facility that lets consumers buy products or services online. This could be physical products, digital products (like books or videos), or even online services like video and skype consultations. The key component is that the offering is paid for through the website.
Why is e-commerce such a good option?
E-commerce can potentially open up a whole world of consumers to a company. New Zealand in particular has a fantastic reputation globally, so for some of our industries in particular e-commerce opens up overseas markets that absolutely love us. Coronavirus has proven that when something like a pandemic hits, brick and mortar day to day business is put at danger, while an opportunity opens up online as more consumers seek to have their goods and services delivered to their doorstep. It's a trend that existed before this global health event, and it'll be one that continues after it.
Can my business operate an e-commerce site?
The first thing you need to ask yourself is 'do my products and services NEED to be performed in person'.
For most physical products, the answer will be absolutely not. If you can pick it up and hold it, chances are you can package it up and sell it online.
For intellectual services, your knee jerk reaction may also be 'I can't sell what I do online' - but have a real think about that. Could you digitise your knowledge? Create a series of articles or videos that you could sell online? Could you run online seminars, or hold consultations via Skype or online? There is a huge amount of scope for growth in the majority of professional services businesses online.
And lastly that leaves those industries that rely on physically touching and seeing their consumers. Your physio's, doctor's and dentists for example. Obviously alot of your job will be based around in person consultation, however, you also hold alot of valuable knowledge that could be digitised. Doctors clinics are already looking at running video consultations for example.
What does it cost to do e-commerce?
Generally the cost of e-commerce will vary depending on the solution you go for. It would be rare for you to have hosting costs of less than about $50 per month, and inevitably if you take payment online, you'll be paying a percentage of each sale to a payment gateway provider (around the 3-4% mark). There are obviously delivery costs to consider, and the initial cost of setting up or creating an e-commerce website. You can see our website design pricing here. Our pricing is below $2,500 + GST for a website design - putting us at the lower end of what a website designer would charge for an e-commerce site. You can of course make a site yourself, but having a professional opinion can often pay dividends in the long run.
So why haven't you got an e-commerce site yet?
If you've been thinking about it for a while, this Coronavirus scare might be just the prompt you need to get your e-commerce website underway. There is plenty of upside, and in times like these it's important to look at how your business can adapt and improve. It's never all doom and gloom, and where there is hardship, there is often opportunity for growth.
As we've said in a number of blogs now, if sales slow, remember that alot more people are going to be online as more self isolation occurs. Shift your focus to online advertising, and take any slow period as a chance to improve what your doing as a business. Your website design is a great place to start that.
Be sure to get in touch with us if you have any questions at all about an e-commerce website or anything online.