How Can E-commerce Benefit your Business?

It is widely reported that e-commerce is growing year on year, with a recent IMRG report showing that e-retail sales grew 14% in 2012. This is also supported by the latest paypoint cebr report which highlighted that internet retail sales are estimated to grow from £28.3bn in 2011 to £33bn by 2015.

As a result many businesses are adopting e-commerce as a sales channel and seeing real benefits for their business.

So what are the main benefits of e-commerce for a business?

  • Access to an increased potential customer base as many consumers are using online as their preferred shopping channel

  • Minimal set-up costs and hassle for an online business compared to setting up a physical premises

  • Many online retailers start their business from their own homes, reducing overhead costs faced by traditional offline businesses (rent, insurance, office equipment and so on)

  • Increased payment options and channels for your customers, helping accelerate your business’ cash flow

  • Increased access to your products as your business is open for business 24/7

Once you have decided that e-commerce is right for your business, you will need to start researching how best to get up and running. To help with this, here are our top tips on what to consider:

  • Plan: you need to make sure you create a detailed e-commerce strategy to outline what your objectives are, measurements of success and how you will go about it. Make sure you build into this sufficient time to research the companies and solutions you will use to support your e-commerce service (such as web developer, shopping cart and payment processor), enabling you to choose suppliers that are the most suitable and cost effective for your business.

  • Think of your customers from the start: when you aren’t face to face with your customers, the customer experience is even more important. Your website is crucial and should be user friendly and customer focused. You also have the chance to communicate effectively with customers through a range of channels including e-mail, social media, or blogs to build retention and loyalty to your business.

  • Research suppliers and shop around: There are various suppliers of e-commerce payment processing systems and these vary from simple hosted payment pages to fully integrated accounts with supplementary services such as e-invoicing and bank transfer options. Make a list of the requirements for your company and research the best providers for you. Also make sure you compare monthly fees and transaction fees as these will vary greatly from one provider to another.

  • Ensure your website is seen: lots of new online businesses don’t think about how potential customers are going to locate their website. Before writing your website copy, create a list of the keywords for your business and keep these to hand when you are writing the copy to ensure you use them in a natural way throughout. This will help to improve your Google rankings. You will also need to make sure you are up to date with the latest Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) rules, ways of raising your online presence and ways of building links to your site.

It is clear that e-commerce can be a very valuable payment channel for many businesses and not just those who only sell through a website. The key in making the most of e-commerce is making it work for your business model and your target customers. This could be looking at alternative payment channels including mobile payment devices to allow you to take payment on the go, to sending your customers electronic invoices which allows them to pay through a payment page with their credit or debit card. Find what solution works best for your business and start seeing the rewards of using e-commerce.

CashFlowsArticle by CashFlows who provide everything a business needs to accept global credit and debit card payments from customers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>