Episode 11Is eCommerce Right for Your Business?

This episode explores a very common question: Is eCommerce Right for Your Business?
Last year, Australians spent over $32 billion via eCommerce, an increase of 21% since 2013. We love the convenience, the choice and the immediacy of buying online.
But what does this mean for you? If anything.

Case study

eCommerce book site Booktopia started as a side project in 2004 by Tony and Simon Nash and Steve Traurig tonight. Today, it turns over more than $100 million a year with no external investment and has served over 3.8 million Australians.

Case Study Key Takeouts

  • With eCommerce, you need to think about both on-site and off-site. Implement off-site advertising and marketing strategies in order to drive traffic to your eCommerce store (like Booktopia did with Google AdWords when first starting). At the same time, you will have to continually improve your website in order to maximise the number of visitor who become customers. You don’t want them to be put off through a clunky experience.
  • As you sell more, ensure you have the right technology in place to have your online store hook in with a suitable fulfilment system.
  • Let everything you do be driven by what your customers want – from the website, through to delivery and post-sale customer service. In Booktopia’s case it meant building a warehouse close to Australia Post in order to be able to ship faster as well as building a call centre to be able to talk to customers.
  • Amazon does not necessarily need to be a threat to your eCommerce store. Firstly, they actually help in driving more people online. Secondly, they make some consumers look for Australian alternatives and thirdly, you can utilise Amazon’s platform by selling there in addition to your own eCommerce platform thus increasing your reach.

Marketing Panel

Susan Werkner
Founder and Managing Director
Interactive Investor

Kelvin Kirk
Marketing Director

Jennifer Jones
The Vignette Room

Panel Key Takeouts

  • There are many advantages of eCommerce: it has levelled the playing field somewhat for small business and allows you to save cost by automating; if you are selling digital products, it means that you don’t need manufacturing and warehousing; your customers can buy from you at any time of the day; your reach is not restricted geographically; and it will also be an advantage to niche businesses as SEO can help you be found more easily.
  • When transitioning from a bricks-and-mortar store to an online store, start by building a website and testing as you go. Find out about the benefits of online and optimise your store whilst still having the safety net of your physical store.
  • Utilise online academies such as Lynda or Udemy to learn more about how to establish an online store.
  • One of the most important aspects of eCommerce is the user experience. Having a well-designed website which is easy to browse and navigate and shows your products in the best light as well as has a seamless checkout process are key.
  • When thinking about whether to launch an eCommerce business or a physical store, think about the product you will sell. If it something people will want to see, touch and feel, it is best to launch a bricks and mortar store. Also consider having both as they can nicely complement each other: often people search online and end buying in-store or they see something they like in a shop and see whether they can get a better price online.
  • In order to grow your eCommerce store, it is important to treat your online customers like you would treat them if they were in front of you. That can mean promptly responding to feedback and answering questions, sending hand-written Thank You notes with your deliveries, having flexible return policies and more.
  • In all of your marketing messaging and advertising make sure to link back to your website in order to drive traffic.
  • In the end, eCommerce is not about the platform but about the relationship with your customers.
  • Continually talk with your employees about why you do what you do. The Why will engage not only your employees but ultimately also your customers.

Caller Key Takeouts

“If I sell tickets online, how can I avoid people leaving the purchase of their tickets until the last-minute so I can even out the revenue stream over the month?” – Elliot Kleiner

  • In order to get people to buy early, you need to create a sense of urgency.
  • You can do this by having a VIP category of tickets that you sell quickly – even if the category only contains 5 tickets. Announcing that one ticket category has already sold out can create that sense of urgency.
  • You can also add count-downs onsite to tell people how many days are left to buy tickets or how many tickets have already been sold.
  • Another way is to offer discounts and incentives for people who buy early. You can partner with other organisations to offer additional services to those who buy early.

Elliot Kleiner
Prom Night Events

“How do I enter the eCommerce game when I don’t sell a physical product (like for example legal services etc.)?” – Geoff Brookes

  • Alternatively, think about selling something that is related to your service. As a lawyer, you could sell templates for Terms & Conditions and more.
  • Also, think about utilising digital not only as a direct selling tool but to drive leads and get interested customers to contact you. Offer valuable content and think about presenting your staff online so potential customers know who they will be talking to and more.

Geoff Brookes
HBA Legal

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