Building an ecommerce website for your retail business takes a lot of time, energy and money. Before you start building you need to have a plan. Ask yourself these 8 questions before you begin the process.
How good is your website right now?
If it’s bad, don’t expect to run before you crawl. Learn to walk, jog, run then sprint. It may be wise to learn to manage a quality informational website before you jump in the deep end.
Who manages your website right now?
How much are you used to investing in the management of your website?
Ecommerce will require the highest level of time, effort and expertise.
Are you prepared? Do you have the staff? Do you have the capital?
What is your Unique Selling Proposition?
Why would I buy online from you?
Fastest, cheapest shipping/delivery?
Most convenient fulfillment options? (Like store pickup)
What is your budget to run this thing?
How much can I spend to market my website.
How are you going to attract customers?
SEO, Email, Google Ads, Social Media ads – how much will you spend? What consumer segment will you target? Who will run this advertising for you?
Who is going to do what? (And how?)
Processes for – Returns, Refunds, Fraud Detection, Payment processing, POS integration, bookkeeping, pick, pack & ship operations, local delivery, store pickup.
Who am I going to compete with?
What are my competitors doing online?
What is the game I can win? Is it ecommerce? Or something else?
How does this benefit me compared with a really good informational website?
What if you put all this effort, time, money, resources into driving more people into your store with a better website? What if you spent the time and energy on videos, blogs, product information to attract local shoppers?
Bonus question – What is the opportunity cost?
Where will the money you’d spend on ecommerce generate the most return? Is it in ecommerce, or is it in revamping the store? Hiring another employee? Adding a new section of the store?
Example: Does building a better services department attract more people into the store and insulate me from ecommerce better than trying to do ecommerce myself?
What is working in my industry?
What’s available in my industry?
What third party logistics companies serve my industry?
What are the most successful independent retailers in my industry doing?
Answering these questions will help guide you in the right direction. Don’t wait for a low ROI before you start asking yourself some tough questions about ecommerce.