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Does Your Business Need an Ecommerce Website?

Published on September 23, 2011
Tags: Web Design London

A recent study from the Institute of Direct Marketing reportedly found that Amazon has an 80% market share when it comes to buying books online. This is in contrast to high street chain Waterstone’s, which has only an 8% share of the online market. These figures help to demonstrate the power of ecommerce, especially when the big players such as Amazon are involved.

They also raise an interesting question: should you have an ecommerce site for your business? After all, if the only major high street book chain in the country is finding it hard to break into double figures in terms of the online market share, should you consider ecommerce web design or focus your efforts on growing your business elsewhere?

It’s an interesting dilemma for many and one for which there isn’t a clear answer. While many businesses may well benefit from an ecommerce site, others may prefer to focus their efforts on building up their online identity in other ways. For instance, an authoritative blog on the industry or aspect of the industry your business works in also has the potential to be beneficial for your company’s revenue by helping you to stand out as an expert in the field.

However, for many companies, ecommerce web design could well help them. One of the reasons sometimes given for having an ecommerce site as opposed to an ‘identity’ website is that it’s a relatively simple way of helping businesses operate continuously. You might not be able to keep a shop open twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, but you can easily do this with an ecommerce store.

Also, as more and more people start to shop online, it increasingly makes sense for businesses to think about adding an ecommerce aspect to their website. Figures for the end of 2009 show that, month on month, there was a 25% increase in people shopping online. The fact that these figures are from 2009 make it even more significant: even during a recession, when the high street was struggling, online business was still growing. This suggests there is definitely potential for businesses interested in ecommerce web design to develop their online operations.

Once you’ve made the decision to have an ecommerce site, you need to think carefully about how you want to execute the plan and what the aim of your site is going to be. Of course, one of the main aims of any ecommerce website is going to be to ‘increase revenue’, but how are you planning to do this? A good website design company will be able to help you create a site that’s appealing to web users, easy to navigate and simple to make purchases, but the selling strategy has to come from you.

This means thinking carefully about your business: what do you sell? What is your existing offline market share? What is the competition like online? For example, if you sell books, the figures above show that it’s going to be virtually impossible to beat Amazon. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t steer clear of that particular market, though, it just means you need to be savvier about how you go about ecommerce. Perhaps your business has a particular niche that it could work in, such as rare first editions of out of print books, or something comparable in your own industry.

This suggests that ecommerce web design is about much more than just ‘putting your products online for people to buy’. You also need a good, long term strategy, just as you do with all other aspects of your business. Increasingly, websites are something that need to be incorporated into business plans as they form an important part of many companies’ brands and identities. This is even more important when the websites in question include an ecommerce aspect, as your online sales projections will need to be incorporated into the rest of your financial projections.

Overall, in answer to the question ‘should you consider an ecommerce website?’ the short answer is ‘yes’. The qualified answer is consider it, but be clever about it. Don’t launch in without a plan, and don’t forget that while a website design company will be able to create you an exciting, appealing website, that by itself isn’t going to be what increases your revenue. Don’t forget the other aspects of your online business: blogs, social networking and your main website all have an important part to play in backing up your authority and building up trust with your potential customers. Without this, you may have an ecommerce site but not necessarily increased revenue. If people trust your business, however, you should have a much better chance of success with your new ecommerce website.

By Chelsey Evans

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