E-commerce – dream or nightmare?

E-commerce – dream or nightmare?

E-commerce? What a great idea! Just get a website out there, automate everything in sight, then sit back and let the cash roll in…

Well, that’s the dream. (And that’s precisely what it is – a dream!)

The nightmare comes when you’ve done that, and suddenly realise that ‘sitting back’ is no longer an option. For (at least) one of three possible reasons:

  • Your website is indeed out there, and everything in sight is indeed automated – but you don’t have any customers.
  • The website is working well and generating loads of business – but you haven’t actually worked out how to deal with the orders.
  • You’re dealing with the orders – but you’re struggling to cope with the (inevitable) barrage of calls from customers who have a query, a problem, or a chronic inability to understand the internet…

And that’s the nightmare. (At any time. But especially just before Christmas.)

So – how do you get closer to the dream? And further away from the nightmare?

E-commerce – it’s all about process…

Like many things in life, e-commerce works best if you do some planning ahead. And in this case the planning you need to do starts with that all-singing, all-dancing website.

If you’ve designed the order process yourself, then you understand exactly how it works. (Hopefully.) But how does it look to a new customer? The time to ask that question is before you launch. And certainly before you do any marketing. Because you don’t want to spend the next six months dealing with abusive phone calls from people who couldn’t complete their orders.

Or, more likely, listening to the silence – because they all gave up and went somewhere else…

Success comes from planning. Thinking ahead. Anticipating problems. And then beta-testing, again and again, until even the most obtuse internet user can order your goods and complete the payment without picking up the phone.

And that’s just the order process. After that comes fulfilment. (At least, that’s what’s supposed to happen…)

What’s your process for managing stock levels – and reordering enough (but not too much) when you’re starting to run out?

How are you managing postage and delivery? Have you priced them properly on the website – and have you got a simple way to update them when (inevitably) the prices go up? What delivery options have you got in place – and how are you fulfilling them? And what’s the process for missed or failed deliveries?

There’s a lot to think about, and a lot to go wrong – but only if you haven’t made the right plans in the first place.

So if you need a little help – please get in touch for a free fact-finding consultation.