Do my business need an eCommerce website? {Answered}

What is an ecommerce website? “eCommerce is the activity of buying or selling of products on online services or over the Internet.” This is according to Wikipedia 

An eCommerce website is, therefore, a website where visitors can buy your products or services online.

Buying online involves making an order, paying and the product is delivered to you.

Every business you talk to particularly those selling products want an eCommerce website but few of them fully understand what it involves.

If you have something to sell, yes, you can sell it online

But, it takes time to build trust with online buyers and resources to come up with systems that work.

Unfortunately, most businesses expect to launch their eCommerce website today and orders to start trickling in tomorrow which is not always the case.

It’s easy to get an eCommerce website

All you need is to hire a developer and within one month or so your E-store will be complete and ready to receive orders.

eCommerce website development, implementation, and integration with necessary tools is expensive.

This is why businesses expect to start selling ‘big’ as soon as it’s launched to recoup their investment.

Before you start working on your eCommerce website

You need to justify why this is the right move for your business.

Not because your competitor has launched an eCommerce website or it’s a trend.

But because you have gathered enough data from your customers and found out that an eCommerce website is what they want or it could be beneficial to them.

How to gather data

The easiest way to do this is to ask your clients face to face, email, call them or conduct an online survey.

This method is quick but not accurate.

The ultimate method I recommend to clients is to first leverage on the existing popular eCommerce websites which have sellers/Partner programs.

In Kenya, I am talking about Jumia, Kilimall, Masoko and so many other.

When choosing an eCommerce website to partner with, look for the most popular.

Where possible look for a category-specific website relevant to your business.

These are websites that sell specific product range e.g. Hardware eCommerce website only sell hardware products or auto eCommerce website that only sell auto products.

Category-specific websites may not be very popular but the conversion rate is much higher than an eCommerce website selling everything.

Benefits of leveraging existing eCommerce website

  1. Ready to sell  – They have spent time and resources to develop and optimize their platforms. You are ready to start selling as soon as you are approved. Coming up with your platform will take time and resources to perfect.
  2. Leverage on their brand – These websites are well-known eCommerce brands by the local buyers with hundreds of satisfied customers and huge online following. After you join, you become part of this brand.
  3. Superb marketing – They have a huge marketing budget which you will benefit from. As long as your products are listed with them every marketing effort they make be it on radio, tv, online or print media is an indirect marketing to you.
  4. Logistics is all covered – They have a well-organized delivery system which you will be part of. It’s their business to organize for deliveries to customers, handle returned products, receive product compliments/complains, collect payments, handle refunds, among other logistics functions.
  5. Ready customers – These website receives huge traffic from repeat customers and paid traffic. Once you join their platform, you are assured of a ready audience.

How do I leverage on the existing eCommerce platforms?

After you signup and get approved, you will be given a store address where you will be managing your eStore.

After a period of not less than 6 months, you will have enough data to help you decide if you need an independent eCommerce website.

If you are not making enough sales with the platforms this could be an indication it’s not yet the right time to make the jump into eCommerce world.

Give it time and work hard to create awareness about your products.

If people love your products and orders can’t stop coming, this means having your own eCommerce website is a good idea.

Start working on your eCommerce website, once ready launch it.

Keep your seller account, because it’s bringing you business and simultaneously run your private eCommerce website.

This way in case the eCommerce platform close business you will have a soft landing.

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

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