I was reading a business article and on the side, an ad caught my eye. It was for an electronic device that looked quite handy and unique. So as most marketeers would like, I clicked on it and went to the website. Well much to my chagrin, you have to give your email address in order to get on this site. So, I thought to myself, let me get this straight you will not let me get into your website to give you money without my email address. Kind of foolish, as I have to give my email address at checkout time anyway. So it got me to thinking, what is the number one complaint about e-commerce sites? Simple, making the process harder than it has to be. We have long ago discovered that you need to have things like one page checkout. Having to go through multiple pages in order to checkout is a no-no, and people will abandon their orders.
So again I come back to the site I mentioned (I will not mention their name), they won’t even let me into their site. This email box slaps me in the face and basically says to me “give me your email address, I’m going to spam you otherwise we don’t want your business“. Wow, unbelievable. In this day and age where companies are fighting for the almighty dollar, this company has the nerve to require you to give your email address before even seeing their offerings. They want you to join, so they can market to you, an ill-conceived premise. After all, I can go to Amazon who has over 200 million products available.
Whatever this eCommerce company was paying for the ads I clicked on, they just threw away the money. While the product was unique they are not the only one selling it. I went to Google to search on the product and found it available on many websites. Amazon as I suspected had the item, I can purchase with one click and it’ll be at my house in two days as I have Amazon Prime.
Lesson learned: trying to be a little too cute in making people give you their email before they even see your site is a sure way to lose business and eventually put yourself out of business. Amazon has a loyal following as they realized early on, how to please customers. People will actually even pay a bit more sometimes as they know they’ll get their items in a couple of days and if they have any issues Amazon will take care of it.
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The numbers are in for the XMAS season, online shopping is up again. Brick and mortar shopping is down.
So the question is this: why aren’t you selling online?
Now obviously not every business has goods to sell online, but if you are a retailer (or wholesaler for that matter), you are missing the boat without an online component. I hear some people say, we have too many items, it would be too hard to put everything online. Ok, if you don’t want to put everything online, how about a list of special items for the web? Think of items that are reasonable to ship and that are a bargain online. People search online via Google Shopping and other comparison shopping tools. So if your price isn’t competitive, you won’t sell too many items. Can’t think of what to sell, how about offering a gift card for sale online?
eCommerce gets easier and easier to add to your website. If you have a WordPress site for instance, you can use WooCommerce, an excellent eCommerce plugin. Only want to sell one or 2 items? Just add PayPal buy now buttons.
One of the benefits of eCommerce is that it really is inexpensive to sell online. If you already have the items in stock, the cost to run an eCommerce site is only marginally higher than a regular website. You have to have a secure certificate, and be ever vigilant updating software. Other than that costs are few. Now of course if you small business starts selling an inordinate amount of goods you may need to hire fulfillment people. But what a great problem to have!
Online shopping will continue to increase. Stores with no ability to sell online will continue to decline. Companies with a dual strategy will have a chance to survive and flourish. The question is, which will you be?