With time, most brick and mortar businesses will eventually expand their operations to include e-commerce. Even for those that may cater to clientele in a strict radius, it is important to be able to offer their services online, as more and more consumers are moving towards taking advantage of this convenience since one of the primary goals of any business is to expand, this is a natural fit for most. Many however tend to stumble when integrating e-commerce to their operations and often end up earning a bad reputation as an online business yet have a formidable one as a brick and mortar establishment. Here are a few mistakes that can be avoided and hopefully guarantee a successful foray into the online business world.
1. Forgetting to market online – just because you are popular in your neighborhood does not mean you will be equally popular in cyberspace without some effort. It is important to ensure that you are a top result for anyone seeking such a business in your vicinity. This is the best way to guarantee a steady flow of new clientele who rely on the internet to guide their purchasing decisions. Search engine optimization is just one of the several key online marketing pursuits that can help to build a solid online reputation.
2. Failure to diversify – while in some instances you may only be able to offer your products or services via your own website, it can help to do the same using intermediary marketplaces like Amazon and Etsy. If this is the option you choose to sell your wares online, be sure to diversify your channels to help maximize on your selling potential.
3. Not offering adequate customer service – just because your clients now prefer to interact with you online does not mean they do not desire some personal service. When a complaint or compliment is paid, it is important to ensure you respond quickly. Communication is key when doing business online and can determine whether a buyer will come back for repeat business.
4. Poor inventory tracking – there is nothing as annoying to an online buyer than the make an online purchase and later be notified that the item they ordered and paid for is no longer available. It is important to keep your online inventory records up to date, especially during sales and holiday periods where large volumes are traded.
5. Slow shipping – it is important to streamline your shipping process so that items bought can be quickly sent on their way once paid for. Delays that result in delivery timetables not being adhered to can result in confidence lost and the decision by a buyer to not make further purchases. Make sure that your back office staff is capable of fulfilling orders as they come in efficiently.