Hopping Mad Designs Web Design Blog

A few big myths about running an e-commerce store

March 10 2014

The biggest myth that people have in their mind is that you can set and forget an eCommerce shopping cart. That is a eCommerce website will run itself with no input or work from the web owner. Guess what? That’s 100% wrong! All online retailers and eCommerce ventures need to understand that if your website is going to succeed then you have to expect to have some level of involvement. Perhaps not as much as a regular bricks and mortar retail shop front, but you can expect to be working on the site every day. There are so many things that need doing that you will be surprised at how much time you will spend on the site.

Everything needs working on, from management decisions to merchandise procurement, website maintenance to online marketing still needs a real human calling all the shots and making those important calls. Don’t forget about the search engine optimisation on top of this as well. The list is huge and if you are serious about succeeding online, then you need to be committed from the start of the exercise.

Following are some of those huge myths and misunderstandings about having an online store .

 

1. The website will easily run the entire business or company.

If you have a great idea and think that by simply setting up and eCommerce website, the dollars are going to start rolling in then forget it. Sure the idea may be great, but hold off on those airline tickets to the Carribean as there is a lot of work and a sprinkling of luck that needs to be done before you start to see the results.

News Flash: Someone needs to physically be there and pack the products and mail them to the customer. Ecommerce websites if designed and marketed properly can be an awesome transactional tool, BUT someone still needs to be there and do the actual work. If it’s a new business then you have got to be personally involved with this for at least a couple of years. I really hate to break this sad news to you, but this is the reality in the online world. Because, the goal posts are forever changing and competition is always coming on board, you really need to be on your game if you are going to get those sales. Involvement, tenacity, drive and marketing know how will be the key to your success.

A point to note: if you think that by implementing a CRM or customer relationship management system, whilst this may help in the management of client details and product management, automatically modifying inventory down as customer orders are placed, charging and invoicing the client as well as communicating orders back to you as the site owner in real time, will not mean that you can leave your eCommerce website to run itself. Sure you may have a CMS system to manipulate and change content/products, but again this will not liberate you from working on the website.

At least for the short term, you will need to work on an an e-commerce site such as looking for new products, change the website to reflect these new products, ship new orders out to clients, manage stock levels, answer customer inquiries and complaints, manage refunds and again as mentioned before; SEO.

2. There are expenses for an online business

There are many advantages to running an eCommerce store over an actual shop. Rents are obviously much lower, staff level can be taken down plus a whole range of fixed costs associated with running a premesis. However, a shopping cart website will also have many on going fees and costs; including search engine marketing ( getting the website to rank on Google for all the products),  Eway fees, hosting costs, phone bills, 1300 numbers, shipping fees, the cost of designing and building the actual site plus web maintenance costs as well as other fees in running a basic business. There is no such thing as an expense free business. There are operating and daily costs involved, so be warned, a eCommerce site if you want it to be successful, will cost money.

 

3. Websites require no maintenance at all.

A website over time needs to be updated. Sure you can have a website and leave it for a year or two, but eventually you are going to have to face the fact that you need an overhaul or a redesign. This is a fact of the online world and something that needs to be budgeted for. Things also go wrong with a website, upgrades to software happen, links break, graphics need updating and this is all part of the wonderful updating process.

A great example of this is to see if your website works on a mobile phone. That is, is the site responsively built to fit on most screen sizes. Most older eCommerce websites will not have this function and this another technological maintenance issue that needs to be addressed. Older sites that don’t work properly, that look out dated, will actually harm your business. Think about it, a potential customer will want to be wowed by a great looking website and not by a site that was designed and developed in the 90’s.

Her are some common mistakes that are often left on websites that need to be FIXED FAST!

  • You have left the Christmas sale price on the site and its now June. Come on, get this changed ASAP – this is a massive turn off and people will expect to pay Xmas prices all the time.
  • You have large images on the home page that has meant that the site keeps crashing and you have never bothered to change it – time t0o get proactive and delete those large unnecessary images.
  • Swapping you bank three months ago, and you have forgotten to change your merchant payment gateway details within your website CMS. How many sales have you lost because of this
  • You have a new 1300 number and have not put this on the website – OUCH!!!
  • Forgot to change the email address on the contact us page, when you changed all your companies email addresses. An absolute killer.
  • You haven't even touched your social media in years and all your social media links are deactivated.
  • Customers are getting an ‘out of stock’ message because you have been too lazy to update the new inventory arrival in your CMS. This is a massive reason why you need to be vigilant when it comes to managing your sites systems and inventory levels.

If you are thinking about starting and ecommerce website design, why not give me a call and we discuss how we can make your new website every bit as successful as you would have hoped for. It is not as easy as it looks, this is why we are here to help you out and guide you down this sometimes mysterious path known as the 'online world'.