Imagine fitting all of the eCommerce into one space.
It would have to be a shopping mall size of a small continent.
Now imagine yourself inside of that enormous space trying to get to customers and show them your product.
Imagine trying to get them to show interest for your idea or demonstrate how one of your services works.
Imagine the crowd, pushing and pulling, imagine everyone trying to show that they are the best.
Online, you may not hear the noise, and you may not see the pushing, but the chances are that your online business will be stranded, pushed out, unnoticed or forgotten in a huge jungle that Internet is.
Unless you do something about it.
Think – how will the fact that you’re sharing a platform with thousands of other sellers impact your online business?
Sure, it’s nice to choose a platform where your store can be up and running in no time.
But it also means that probably hundreds of people bought the same theme for their store and designed it identically.
And that is only scratching the surface of the problem.
The big issue is how can that correspond with what your store and your brand are trying to communicate?
What is it that will make your store different, competitive, what will say that it’s professional and serious?
The answer is – nothing at all.
There are so many different ways to start your online store and save money, time, energy and other resources.
But remember – what happened last time when you tried to achieve something and decided to devote minimum of effort, money or energy?
When you decided to buy cheaper car and then spent days and days in different workshops trying to patch everything that’s wrong, and fix all the broken pieces?
Trying to stop it from smoking already? Have you picked cheap repair shop too?
The same thing goes for your online business.
You can always create a Facebook page and rely on your friends to share it. You can always create sponsored post and wait for it to generate sales.
The truth is that your Facebook page is essential and much needed. However it can never replace your online store.
This is exactly where we have to measure all the pros and cons when it comes to all those platforms that make it possible for you to set up your online store in a matter of hours.
You have to know that it takes a little more than couple of hours to create an impeccable online store solution.
Here are couple of facts that can definitely help you choose the way you will start your eCommerce business.
Where is your store?
Buyers browsing through Amazon or Ebay have small chances to find your online store.
The chances are, they will find your products, but not likely your store.
If you think there’s nothing wrong with that, think again.
It’s true – your products will sell, but your buyers will loose the chance to connect with you and it’s most likely that you will never create a longterm relationship with your customers.
It is going to be really hard to build a relationship that depends on mutual trust and loyalty.
It will probably end up with your store’s success depending of various factors that are simply out of your reach.
Also, next time when your customers need the product, even though they were satisfied, search can lead them to one of your competitor’s products.
Which is never good.
Also, it is more likely that they will decide to buy from a seller that is offering the same products and better conditions.
Doesn’t it sound a little bit like you have a traditional brick and mortar store and you’re changing it’s location every day without notifying your customers you have moved?
Where is your brand?
If you’re worried that creating a professional online store will give you headaches and you want to avoid that at all costs, you will probably go for Amazon or some similar solution.
But, think of your brand and how will that decision affect it.
If you perceive your brand as a living organism, if you strive that your brand outgrows your store (gone are the days when Rolex was just a watch), then you cannot hold your product and your brand back.
You should know that most of these platforms have defined strict rules and that your brand will never be presented a way it deserves.
Its only presentation will occur through your product and the whole aesthetics and values of what you wish your brand to communicate, will probably remain invisible.
Who is determining the rules?
Again, not you. Try hard to inform yourself before you let your entire business be managed by someone else – Facebook for example.
We have all confirmed that we have red famous Terms and Conditions millions of times even though we never made it pass second sentence.
In a situation where you’re planning to start your online business, it’s crucial that you don’t skip this part because you really might miss something of great importance. “We reserve the right to reject or remove Pages for any reason”, says one of the Facebook rules.
Imagine now investing into sponsored posts, and working hard to engage audience on your page, and all the likes, shares and interests disappearing in a second.
Some of the rules forbid your commercial placed in form of a cover photo. Your cover photo cannot include your phone number or your website – those information can only be included into your “About” page.
Also, Facebook does not allow price tags next to images of your products, so be careful.
If you are not well informed and you have your brand in hands of others, you’re in for lots of surprises and the reasons can easily remain unexplained.
Always use social media to promote your products.
But don’t ever forget that your one and only goal should be – having customers on your online store.
That’s why you should stick to Facebook and Twitter but use them merely to communicate with your customers or as tools that will help you get noticed.
Google trusted stores is a service that has the goal to inform the buyers whether a certain online store is safe to purchase from.
GTS analyses order data and focuses on providing safe shopping experience for customers by giving them information about liability of certain online store and show whether it can be trusted.
This service measures data such as number of orders that were executed without any problems, how fast did the support reacted to the request of an unsatisfied customer, or how did the shipping went.
Problem occurs when you realise that many of the platforms either do not support these options, or that they were not properly integrated in the first place.
Shopify, for example made it possible for their clients to use this option recently, but it was done through a third part solution that will cost you a substantial amount of money per year.
Similar thing happens if you wish to offer downloadable products on your store.
You have to spend additional time and money providing an app that will allow you to do so.
Using Klarna for payment is also something that is not supported on many of the world most known eCommerce platforms.
Automatically, that means that selling in certain regions (such as Scandinavia for example) that rely on Klarna, is impossible and you most certainly do not want that to happen.
Another problem is that you will need to purchase a significant number of third party solutions if you wish to have a fully functional online store.
And that makes it clear that you should avoid using these kind of solutions for your business and create online store that’s yours and yours only.
You should also know that, in case you wish to introduce changes on your online store, which is inevitable, you will have to acquire substantial knowledge.
Unfortunately, even if you succeed, often it will not be enough.
Even if you know the basics, you can easily run into specially created programming languages that are behind the platforms (Shopify for example uses Liquid programming language), meaning your skills might not help you perform the changes.
It can mean only one thing – all the changes will require hiring a professional and probably cause for yet another headache.
That’s why you should think everything through before you put your online business into someone else’s hands.
No matter if you’re big or small. It really is – easy.
The most important thing is that you perceive your store as a living organism that has to live and grow.
You have to know that it has to be impeccable in order to bring success and pleasure to both – you and your buyers.
Don’t let mediocre solutions win you over and don’t ever look for shortcuts.
We’re sure that you would spend weeks picking the right colour for the walls, shelves, employees and location if you would decide to open traditional brick and mortar store.
Than, why not doing the same with your eCommerce solution?