I hate to be the bearer of bad news. But the truth is, doing e-commerce is hard, and doing it successfully is even harder.
Usually at least once a day we get an inquiry from someone who wants an e-commerce site. Everyone seems to have a product to sell and wants to put it online, but few people realize the hurdles you have to jump through to get sales. First, you have to get people on your site, then you have to convince them to buy from you.
But consider this – getting an e-commerce website is just like building your new retail storefront next door to Walmart or Target. Yeah, your products might be great, but if they have it at Target, then I’ll probably pick it up while I’m getting milk and toilet paper because it’s easier.
When you have an e-commerce store, you are competing with every other online store, including the big dogs like Amazon. It’s really, really hard to compete with those companies. Your small business probably doesn’t have the resources that Amazon has. It can’t offer the incentives that Amazon can. It won’t have the product stock that these online giants have.
If you want to be successful at e-commerce, you must have a Unique Selling Proposition (USP). What’s a unique selling proposition? It’s the answer to this question:
“Why should someone buy from you instead of from your competitors?”
If you can’t answer that question, then it’s a mistake to set up an online store.
In order to be successful at e-commerce, you need to have four things going for you:
- a product people want
- a unique selling proposition
- a website that is convenient and easy to use
- the right traffic to your website
What I don’t mean to do is be all doom and gloom and talk anyone out of the website they want… but I also don’t want to build a great website for someone that doesn’t get any sales. And if you don’t have all four of these things, then your e-commerce store will likely not succeed.
I’ve seen e-commerce be successful. But I’ve seen plenty of stores go online and not get sales.
If I can buy the same product at Amazon at a lower price and get free shipping, why would I buy from your website?
In order to succeed at e-commerce, store owners need to be realistic. An e-commerce website isn’t cheap, and even if it’s great, you might not get sales. Be sure there’s a market for your product, and that you give people a compelling reason to buy from you.
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