The broad expansion of internet and its related technologies is impacting people’s daily routines and changing the way they think and behave. Technology has even altered the way people make their purchasing decisions (why, how, where and when), greatly impacting the whole business world. Kodak, a well known brand that has been in the market for the past 100 years, was bankrupt because it did not seize the opportunity of the digital camera trend in the right time.
Various other businesses have been affected by new emerging technologies, including taxis with Uber, hotels with Airbnb, car rentals with Turo (like Airbnb but for cars). Large corporates such as Radioshack and Payless are suffering because of the growing strength of Netflix, Redbox, Amazon, etcetera.
Go online or go home
In this digital era, every business, despite its nature and type, must have an online arm to guarantee its presence and sustainability. Small, medium and large businesses alike, must keep an online presence, either partially or entirely, to promote, market and/or sell their goods/services. Even if the business doesn’t directly sell online services, the company's website still should resemble the physical office of the business. It should offer all needed information and services to serve customers as if they were visiting the corporate office, premise, or shop. Thus, the website must entail live chat options, services request forms, quotation request forms, services payment, and services status information.
Build it right
Online retail stores are the most expanding and common form of online services.
Building an online store from scratch takes between six and nine months. It could cost starting $20,000 and might even reach over $60,000. To keep it running, updated, and maintained, the business must hire a paid full time in-house or on contract developers. Additionally, the online store requires hosting, storage, and security yearly fees which cost starting $100.
However, one can develop an online store in a smart, fast, and affordable way, despite the size of the business, through online store builder platforms, such as Shopify. This solution will get the business a well designed online store in one to three weeks with user experience and user interface (features and look) based on the latest trends and best ecommerce practices. This will save the business both time and expenses. These platforms also allow the user to build his ecommerce site himself. User experience and interface design, branding and marketing will cost starting $2,000. Additional costs include monthly subscription fees which start at $20, in addition to some transaction fees that include hosting, storage, security, etcetera.
This type of platform allows the user to maintain and update the online store (adding, changing and editing products, features, pages). It also has tools that will allow the user to run his entire ecommerce business, and not only the online store. Also, there’s no need to hire developers to update and maintain the online store, as anyone can easily do it.
This solution is not temporary, and does not only cater to startups. Large companies have been using it for years.
Keep it updated
On yearly basis, ecommerce platforms must update their user experience and user interface according to clients’ feedbacks and insights. After launching a new ecommerce site, the first six to 12 months are to be considered as a learning phase about users’ needs and their overall experience. Additionally, ecommerce design trends change every one to two years. Therefore, it is very essential to update the operating platform and even to market practices.
Thousands of online stores come out every day for existing and new businesses worldwide. That’s why it is essential to build the ecommerce site starting with minimum viable product (MVP) which is a product/service with enough basic features that meet customers’ needs. After launching the site, one starts developing a broader knowledge and understanding about his users’ interaction with the ecommerce site, and can start improving it accordingly. This approach will save a lot of money and time in designing the site with unnecessary features,enabling it to face competition.
Feature image via Pixabay.