By Rob Drummond on Mon 24 January 2011 in Web & eCommerce
Tesco reported last week that they are investing £20 million in a new 152,000 sq ft ecommerce distribution centre. Which by anyone’s standards (even a company the size of Tesco), is a significant investment. Tesco sell a huge amount of goods online, and are developing their own huge infrastructure to support this.
All this raises the question; as a small to medium sized business, do you need to invest £20 million to play the ecommerce game?
You do if you want to directly compete with Tesco…
However of all the things that are bought online (products and services), Tesco only sell a tiny percentage. As consumers, we are heading to the internet to research and buy a wider and wider range of things.
Of course not everyone is convinced. It’s easy to forget that a significant proportion of the UK population never have – and never will – buy anything online. Which is why ecommerce should support, not replace your existing business.
To be successful, your ecommerce store needs to be as close to your offline buying experience as possible. Otherwise people won’t use it, and will at best go back to picking up the phone. If they already know you that is. If they don’t, chances are they’ll tap another search into Google and be gone before you know it.
To get people to use your ecommerce website, you’re going to have to automatically offer everything you offer offline, for example up to date stock levels, special pricing and current promotions, or maybe the ability to replace a previous order or purchase on account.
Sounds like a lot of work already doesn’t it? However with a little investment, it is possible to run an ecommerce store where the hard work of keeping it up to date happens automatically. No wrestling with HTML, scrolling down product lists trying to match prices, or wasting valuable days for your web design team to update your special January promotion.
The better news, is that you don’t need to spend £20 million to achieve it (although we’re sure you easily could if you wanted to…). It could cost you as little as £8000 to get started, and for many customers this investment pays for itself within a couple of months. If you’re interested you can learn more at www.prospectsoft.com/easyecommerce.
Selling online is harder than many ecommerce vendors would have you believe. But by making smart use of information you already have, the time is has never been better to grab your share of the ecommerce boom.