E-Commerce – think of it as a full time sales and marketing person working 24/7 with no payroll cost

Growth in E-Commerce sales to the public and to existing customers is skyrocketing and if you are not expanding your online sales, you are probably missing revenue and here is why:

1)     Self-Serve – Customers prefer to research their purchase before talking to a salesperson. Seventy percent of sales are decided before a customer calls and talks to a salesperson. Potential customers want to read the specs, read customer reviews, look at pictures, watch videos, demonstrations, see expert reviews, awards, and, when possible, try it before they buy it or have a no-fault return policy if they do not like the product. This trend is only increasing with next-generation buyers and if you do not do it, other businesses will. If your product is good and it has to be in this hyper-competitive global market, why are you not finding a way to satisfy the modern customer?

2)     Customers want immediate gratification –   It may be a character weakness, but it is a reality that people postpone buying decisions until the pain is intolerable and then they want it to buy now! A business needs to make it easy to buy, download it now, or ship it next day. What this means for a business is a streamlined order to shipment process. The order flows through an efficient, credit card approval, inventory fulfillment, pick, pack, ship and out the door before the shipping cut off. Minutes matter and an automated process can mean 15 to 25% more orders go out with next day shipping. The benefit to you is more orders, lower shipping costs, more inventory turns and more packages shipped per employee.

3)     Integrated customer services with E-Commerce is a strong combo – Sales assistance is not gone with an E-Commerce site. A staggering 25% of all online orders are not completed. The reasons are often the customer did not have all the information they needed to complete the order, they had a question about the product they could not answer, their credit card info was not complete, they got confused on components needed to complete the order or maybe even got distracted by something else going on around them. A chat, e-mail or phone call from a customer service rep offering to help them complete the order can claw back a third of these “in limbo” orders and help you improve your site.

4)     Consumer sales like Amazon are growing –  but did you know that B2B E-Commerce sales are two times larger and growing faster! Just because your business sells to business does not mean you do not need an E-Commerce site. An E-Commerce site is a great assist to sales agents, in-house and field sales. Imagine the power of a salesperson personally walking a customer through an order using a tablet. They can answer questions and educate the customer on how to order, so next time they can do it themselves, and that is what they want. Many people do not want to talk to a salesperson. The order is shipped before the salesperson leaves the customers site and the order quality will be higher. If you make it easier to buy, when a customer wants to buy, they will buy more from you. Customers have many options and you have to make it easy and convenient for them.

5)     Customers are busy- I think we sometimes forget that we are not the most important service or product for our customers. Most of the customers I know are overworked from 8 to 5. After hours is the only time they can concentrate on ordering our products and that is why an E-Commerce site is so valuable for busy customers.

If you would like to talk about how E-Commerce can help your business, send me an e-mail at [email protected]

Michael Milligan is a business process improvement consultant and ERP specialist.

Read more of Michael’s articles here…

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