When you make the decision to jump into the ecommerce world, it truly is like opening a second store location. To give yourself the best opportunity to be successful, it should be treated in that fashion. Taking the time, and using the right resources and opportunities to open your ecommerce location can prepare you for success.

Since there may be challenges that appear in the early stages, here are a few things to think about when implementing ecommerce into your business.

This post was written by Scott Drzonsc – National Sales Manager at Gearfire

Business Plan:

With any business venture, you need to have a solid game plan, and the proper expectations for your ecommerce business venture. What it will take to be successful from the start is worth brainstorming. Things to take into consideration:

  • time allocation
  • resources needed
  • business goals

When setting your business goals, be sure to strategize towards advertising and the consumer experience; not just SALES. As your ecommerce business grows, it is ideal to employ someone that manages all of your online transactions.

Branding:

This should be pretty easy…right? It amazes me how many facilities enter into the ecommerce world and forget what they are “great at”. Don’t fall into that trap. Take what you are great at, and repurpose that into your ecommerce location. Remember, not every consumer who finds your business online is familiar with you. They need to know what makes you special. Show them what your repeat customers (and the competition) already know.

Customers:

So now you have this fancy new ecommerce website, with personal branding, and you are open and ready for business. Wait. Where are the customers? As I mentioned earlier, you need to treat this like a second location.

You need to advertise to spread the word. Present your customers this new platform to shop. How do we do this? Perhaps this blog post from March, 2017 can give you some guidance.

Another idea is to duplicate what you did with your retail location. Hold a “Grand Opening” for the ecommerce “location” of your business. Promote a discount for the 1st week that your new website is live. Host an open house at your retail location, and have your website displayed using an in-store kiosk.

in-store kiosk

Show customers how to shop your new virtual inventory. Incorporate your community and build credibility in your home market!

Pricing:

Pricing is a tricky subject when it comes to ecommerce. After reading many articles from experts, I have found the majority lean towards reduced pricing online. The idea that you have reduced overhead with an ecommerce business, and consumers (especially online) understand that. The savviest shoppers almost EXPECT lower prices online.

My opinion is this; get them to the check-out process!!! They are now a customer!!!  I agree that lower online pricing is essential to success, but with limitations. Have lower margins on high cost items, and higher margins on low cost items.

If a customer is going to purchase a firearm at $400 on your website, and its $450 everywhere else, he or she now has another $50 to spend! We have all been in this situation. The $50 you just saved turns into another $100 spent. Perhaps that extra $50 in YOUR customer’s pocket goes toward ammo or accessories for the firearm they are purchasing.

Ecommerce is very psychological. And in this day and age, we want stuff quick, and at a great price.

Consumer Experience:

No matter what we do in life, we always want a positive experience. Shopping online is no different. We want a great selection, good value and an easy transaction experience. According to experts, the most important thing to consider is the “transaction experience” or check-out process.

I recently participated in an ecommerce webinar hosted  by shipping giant DHL. Below are the top reasons that consumers abandon the last step (check-out) of purchase:

  • Extra add-on costs at check-out
  • Having to create an account
  • Long/Complicated check-out process (1 out of every 4 consumers leave!)

It is interesting to note that 1 in every 4 consumers leave due to a long/complicated check-out process. This can be improved upon in many instances. The easiest way to improve, is to make sure that your business has very easy to understand “store policies” for those making a purchase.

You should also have a check-out process that is easy to navigate, and only requires limited information. Be sure to include enough information to contact the customer, however. Use the information to build a customer list to send future marketing and promotion communications.

Continued Success:

So now you’re operating your new ecommerce location, and you’re having some success. Success in ecommerce can be your visitor count, store foot traffic that is generated from the website, or of course a few sales!

Now it is time to build on your success and understand your customers. The easiest way to understand your customers is to analyze the data that is collected with your ecommerce website. How many visitors are viewing your website daily? How many pages are they clicking through? How long are they staying on the website? And most importantly, what are your customers looking at?

You’ll want to feature the products that the majority of your customers are looking for, and have them priced competitively. If you analyze the data, and find that your customer traffic is visiting Semi-Automatic Hand Guns the majority of the time, you should have Semi-Automatic Hand Guns featured and available on your new ecommerce website. The virtual customer is telling you what they want.Help them find it EASILY with your ecommerce location. Get your new customers excited, into the shopping cart and completing a transaction.

The Final Word:

Ecommerce is a MUST when growing and expanding your current business operation. With the proper planning, expectations and commitment, your expansion can be fun and exciting.  Keep in mind, that “Sales” on your ecommerce website are not the only measuring tools to success. You will also collect valuable consumer data with each customer visit. Remember that your ecommerce website is an advertising tool to build brand awareness and increase your market reach.

Thank you for taking the time to read about ecommerce business strategies. I hope that you find this information helpful. If you have any questions or comments, I would love to hear from you. Please leave me a message in the comments box.