E-Commerce is Key
It was a simple task: get a spare door key cut for my boat. However, after being turned away by four locksmiths because they didn’t have blanks for my “crazy Swedish key”, I knew I was in trouble. Plan B: the Internet. I searched on the Swedish brand along with a number imprinted on the key, and was surprised by the result. There were only two exact matches, but one of them was a product order page with a picture of my key! The online retailer was an unknown key company in Florida and the e-commerce site was bare bones, but being an e-commerce adventurer I banged in my credit card. Eleven days later, five blanks exactly matching my boat key arrived in the mail: $6.95, plus $12 for the international shipping.
With all the excitement swirling around social media’s new paradigm of brand engagement, it feels like focus has been lost on “closing the deal.” So many organizations are bent on building their online fan base, but how many are then being moved into a seamless online purchasing opportunity? E-commerce has always appeared to be complicated, technical, and expensive. It is a business channel and therefore has implications across multiple company divisions including marketing, IT, customer service, finance, and inventory mangement. This can make it tough for one area of the company to champion an e-commerce deployment. The fact is though, online transactional systems should be a central part of any company’s long-term strategy.
In the past few years, e-commerce has found its home in some unexpected but successful places. As The Economist reported in July, Oscar de la Renta launched a transactional Website some years ago expecting to sell small accessory items. To their great surprise, online customers have been pulling $4,000 cocktail dresses off the virtual shelves, and they recently sold online an $80,000 sable coat! In the same fashion vein, Prada forecasts that within 5 years, 40% of its revenues in America will come from the internet. At the other end of the business spectrum, small companies are also finding online is their goldmine. Thanks to the incredible power of search engines, if you put up a great SEO’d e-commerce system, buyers from every corner of the globe will find you without you spending a dime on advertising. Buyers like me and my crazy Swedish Key.
It’s time to think about how you can sell, online. Call us for a discussion: we’d be happy to show you some of our recent e-commerce successes, and get some thought-starters going of what it will take to open a whole, new, market potential for your business.