What are some tips to adding e-commerce to your business?
I have been operating a small boutique. I don't currently sell any of my clothing online, but some of my customers have been asking me about buying new items online, particularly customers who are just visiting the area. Have others added e-commerce to their business? I am curious how you have gone about it and whether you think it was a good move. Appreciate anyone sharing their experiences.
Going online is not a really bad move at all, it is a hard transition though. It requires a different organization, plans, and even managing your employees designated on particular roles, and customer engagement strategies as well communication channels.
E-commerce can be done in so many ways. Find the one that would work best with your style.
Based on your boutique budget, resources (photo cameras, pricing strategies, time, models, etc), and commitment with a plan in mind and set correctly, you can start going online little by little, asking for feedback, and actually connecting with your clients directly, letting them know you are listening to them. Questions like "what would you like to see this next season? or what do you think about our new collection for this summer? Do you know we are shipping this 'kind of merchandise' for a low flat rate blahblahblah" - that way you get to introduce products or merchandise you need to sell quickly, o introduce new ones to your actual clients. By the time you are getting more accustomed to what it's involved, to what you need to have at hand an in place, and the responses you get, then you can customize your website (your online store), your products or, even better, to differentiate your mortal store and online store while having them in sync with your overall vision. You excite your customers (they will be expecting your surprises next time -) and also have traffic both ways while probably leading to higher profits. Because after all, the idea is adding things that bring us some money down the road.
In general, you are small boutique, try not to emulate big companies, think about your budget and work with planned tasks, measure them and keep using the good options.
Good luck! and don't forget to share your website :)
I would suggest starting an ecom because it is getting much easier and less expensive to do so. I suggest starting with a simple platform like Shopify and hire someone to help you set it up. But stay involved in the process so you learn for yourself. Regardless of how much you delegate going forward, you should know what's going on. You can always ramp up to more sophisticated platforms and suppliers when you are more knowledgeable and conversant buyer.
The nice thing is, an online component is always evolving, so you can work at it at your own pace. Even if you do little to generate traffic to the ecom early on, you can use the store to build an affiliate network and have other websites sell your product. Overall, getting started is a relatively low risk/cost for the very high potential reward.
That said, don't believe any of the hype that it is essential for all businesses or that there is only one ecom strategy that is best for everyone. In particular don't pay attention to metrics that tell you gross economic averages. What's happening in the auto, food and tech industries off and online are not the same as each other and have NOTHING to do with what is happening in fashion industry let alone each marketing strategy within the category. Some companies are succeeding with volume sales and low prices while others are succeeding with much lower unit sales but with premium brands and high quality still realize huge profit margins. The statistical average of all companies and strategies is a completely useless number used by online marketing trolls. They also often mislead with click through metrics - attributing all sales to the last click before purchase, completely ignoring all the touch points that led to that click.
There is no question that clothing can do very well online, so by all means go for it, but don't change your strategic positioning to accommodate the medium. ;)
We are working with many small businesses and entrepreneurs world-wide in establishing their e-commerce businesses.
To have eCommerce component to your business is no longer an option but a must. So how do you go about it
1) E commerce store requires serious investment ( $5000 +) . Only good quality, well maintained websites will provide you the business; bad quality websites will be counterproductive.
2) You need to have good quality images and content (text) matter ready. Both these will need sizable time and efforts .
3) Create a 2 page document about what you need your e-store to have. This will be a good starting point to crystallize your vision on paper.
4) Approach few well established web devilment agencies with Request for Quote\
(Don’t hire freelancers you will never know when they vanish)
Here are few blog articles which will help you further http://goo.gl/xgVED7 http://goo.gl/6Hm8eO
Remember; creating eCommerce component to your business is main stay effort with rich rewards in long term
TransPacific Software Pvt. Ltd
Hi Kristy, adding ecommerce to your business is not as simple as it looks. One of the key aspects is your ability to deliver the goods to the designated addresses on time and in good condition. This brings in your dependency on the logistics partner. Further, the pricing of the goods needs to be carefully articulated. eCommerce generally means cheaper. Even if you keep it at par with your store prices, the shipping charges need to be borne by someone - either you or the customer. So, in summary, I'll suggest that you do a thorough research and approach the option with a solid plan. There's one thing you can do though - allow customers to book their items online and then pick them up at their convenience. This could generally be your starting point to test the waters before going into a full blown online model.
1) First thing I would do is check in with your local Score chapter for a mentor with ecommerce experience - to assist with the business case (i.e., will this be profitable given additional overhead vs. expected revenue)
2) Don't underestimate the operational overhead, i.e. customer service caIls, returns, etc.
3) I'm sure they will tell you this but you'll want to start out with a pre-packaged "storefront" to keep your initial investment to a minimum.
4) Competitive pricing of less concern if you truly have unique products.
Excellent time for your business.
If you are already doing business without having an e-commerce window I would strongly advise you to move ahead with the idea .
This will be an excellent support not only in terms of your visibility but also in terms of curtailing your fixed costs to a great extent.
The idea also has the advantage of personal reach to the customer within seconds and stay connected with them forever.
The biggest benefit is recognition and reach beyond your expected boundaries and globally.
Today social platforms and websites are doing miracles for businesses and entrepreneurs like you.
Take advantage of it as much as you can.
Best of luck.
There really is no debate. If you aren't offering an online presence especially on mobile, you are doomed. Retail is struggling. A harvard study especially showed that retailers in mature locations that do not offer an online and mobile option have no real method for increasing revenue. Social media won't cut it. Yes, delivery may be a problem but should absolutely not be a barrier to adoption for you. It's worth the hassle to keep your business alive. The statistics from as late as this Black Friday show that the only real growth in retail sales is happening online. Yes, still a small percentage of overall sales but the only sector that is growing. Local search doesn't work. Brand loyalty is dead. Target implemented mobile as a paradigm and they dominated Black Friday. My firm can help.
1. Most of the people telling you they would buy online are just being nice. They won't buy online.
2. You are in LA so it may be different- but boutiques around here have a lot of luck setting up at like "shows". We have one called Affair of the Heart, etc. And the state fair.
3. Use Shopify.com to get started selling online. Cheap and easy.
Hi, Kristy my suggestion is if you want a e-commerce business is first to have e-commerce website design for your business where your products can be posted on your site and shopping cart where people can place their orders for shipping or pickup. Also you should measure the amount of traffic you are getting to your website, amount of social media traffic you are receiving, referral traffic, direct traffic, paid traffic and the amount abandonment you getting from your website. You need to gain cutting-edge insight into your website’s presence, ranking, and traffic so that you’ll know what to optimize to drive maximum conversions and what areas to invest your marketing budget in for maximum profitability.
In today’s competitive business environment, you cannot afford to take your online presence, rankings, and traffic metrics for granted. Your competitors certainly aren’t. Do you want to be left in the dark about your business website’s current state, and continue to blindly apply various strategies without being able to measure conversions and other factors? So at least start out doing these 2 things get a e-commerce website and measure where your traffic to your website is coming from to know how to move forward with your marketing to gain even more customers. Visit our website for more information. www.wesmithllc.com
You should check Stitch (http://www.fatbit.com/start-custom-clothing-online-store.html) that is an online tailoring platform. There you can sell your clothes easily to your customers and manage the system by yourself. Following are the features it offers:
Easy to Use CMS
Safe Online Payments
You can check its demo here: http://demo.yostitch.com/
More details: http://www.fatbit.com/start-custom-clothing-online-store.html
Hope this helps :)
Hi Kristy, you may want to look in to all aspects of e-commerce. The opportunity is greater than it has ever been before. I recommend to try a new platform that will help you archive that. This platform is called Infinii. Learn more by going here https://infinii.com/what-we-do.html. Let me know if you have questions.
Great move! I make money while I sleep. You can use wordpress to put up an online store. The template is free but takes some time to learn or you can hire someone to do it.
eCommerce is the future, do it! I make a lot of eCommerce website based on wooCommerce. Its simple, easy to use. A friend of mine swears by Shopify. Look at both of them and give them both a try. Shopify is a pretty good for a non techie.
Yes! I was exactly in your shoes! I had a small store with natural cosmetics products. My clients were constantly asking me wether they could see cosmetics online. One day I decided to do what my customers wanted just not to lose them. I took a ready-made Shopify template and added my content, so I got an online store. One more important thing is cmr software (I use https://www.bpmonline.com/ ). It helps me interact with my custommers in the most beneficial way for your business.
If you have such an opportunity, use some customised solutions for your CRM. For example, such companies as http://customertimes.com/services/salesforce-com-implementation/salesforce-integration/ provide really good software for different businesses. I've been using it for 3 years so far, and it helps me a lot indeed