Website or Ecommerce – moving a business online
When you think about moving a business online there are a few things to consider before going ahead, such as what sector you work in. Depending on what sector you work in, your business will benefit differently from either a website or an e-commerce site. Other questions you need to ask yourself include, Who are your clients? and What can you as an owner actually manage?
Moving a business online isn’t a quick job and it needs to be done right.
Do I need a website or e-commerce site?
Trade businesses: If your business is a trade (electrician, hairdresser, gas engineer, builder, chef, etc) then you do not need an e-commerce site – you need a website. Why? Because people need to be able to access your online portfolio with your contact details and the services you can provide, and potentially book. However, they do not need to pay for your services through the web. This is normally done via bank transfer, cash, or card once the work/service has been completed.
Product businesses: If you physically sell, and ship products to clients (whether that be candles, cakes, soaps, leathers …) then your business will benefit from you investing in an e-commerce store. A one-stop-shop for your clients to view, purchase, and have delivered whatever product they’d like from you. If you decide to have multiple e-commerce stores across different platforms, make sure you can handle it, especially if you’re selling handmade products.
E-commerce or a website? What would benefit your business more
There are benefits to both.
Website – A website is a catalogue for people to get to know your products and team better before buying from you. There are rules to ensure a website is visible. It needs to be used to its full capacity and it needs to be well maintained. Websites are tricky to set up. As with building a kitchen, there’s really no shame for not knowing where to start. We recommend you – speak with a professional.
Your website will be what clients see first, so you need it to showcase your business. Websites have their own unique domain name, which means SEO will be logged directly to the page – meaning that clients searching for your services are more likely to find you (as long as you set them up correctly).
E-commerce – Clients will buy directly from your ecommerce store. They are also cheaper to set up than a website. Customers tend to find your e-commerce store by searching for a specific product rather than a search term.
There are platforms that talk you through setting up an e-commerce store or once you’ve chosen who will host your store, or there are professionals who can do this for you. The choice is completely yours. E-commerce sites do not have their own domain names, so SEO searches won’t work, as with Inception, ecommerce sites are really a site within a website.
However, both should always include a “contact us” page, so that customers are able to contact you and your business at any time.
Time and money
As with almost everything, when moving a business online there is a time and money element to it. Whether you decide on a website or an e-commerce store – they both need time, and both come at a cost.
Plan your options wisely, give yourself time to breathe whilst going through everything. It’s not unreasonable to expect moving a business online to take a full year until it is all complete, touched up, marketed and launched – including fixing those pesky after launch bugs.
Envision where your business will be in 5 years. This is the business you need to build your online platform for, start attracting the clients you want in 5 years’ time – now. Otherwise, you’ll get stuck in the loop of constantly paying to upgrade your site. The less you mess around with your site once it’s live, the better. If you are constantly making changes to the layout you can cause “user fatigue”. User fatigue is when a user gets bored of continuously trying to work out where things are. Keep it clear, simple, and consistent.
In this technology era you need your business to be online, in one form or another. For sellers there’s nothing better than being in the customers pockets as they go about their day to day lives.