Despite consumers’ familiarity with purchasing products from the Internet, and the prevalence of website developers eager to work on e-commerce projects, developing a successful e-commerce website is no trivial matter. Certain key factors must be considered before your website is built. Failing to consider these issues first invariably results in failure. Use the following 7 points to check whether your business is ready to benefit from e-commerce.
How Suitable Are My Products For An E-Commerce Website?
Not everything is suited to online selling and so it is vital that you understand whether consumers are likely to buy your products directly from a website. Suitable products tend to share common features:
Homogenous – branded products are identical, irrespective of where they are purchased, and these are often good candidates for an e-commerce website. A consumer is more likely to purchase an item from your website if they understand exactly what they are buying. Books are a good example: a novel bought from one website is identical to the same novel bought from any other and so, in the consumer’s mind, there is no uncertainty about what they are purchasing. Conversely, personalised or unique items (or products that need to be tried on or tested) are not so well suited to online selling. Shoes and spectacles, for instance, are difficult to sell from an e-commerce website because the consumer is more uncertain about whether the item is exactly right for them.
Shippable – the fulfillment of online orders is often the area of e-commerce that causes website owners most difficulty. Small, light-weight items are easily shipped and do not involve a high delivery cost that may deter online sales. To this end, many website owners will incorporate the actual delivery cost within the price of their products so that they are able to offer “free delivery”, which can help to stimulate online orders. Bulky, heavy items can pose website owners some problems when it comes to delivery. If a product is fairly low-value item, will a £10 or £20 additional delivery charge be acceptable to the consumer?
Inexpensive – consumers’ propensity to purchase online is strongly related to the perceived risk of making that purchase. A normally cautious consumer might adopt a more care-free “why not?” attitude when purchasing a book for £6.99. The same person would be far more reticent when spending several thousand pounds on an electrical product. Although high-price products do sell on the Internet, you have a natural advantage if you sell lower value items.