Over the last couple of days, I've been surfing around trying to get an idea of exactly how small businesses (those with 1 to 20 employees) have embraced e-commerce. I wound up spending a lot of that time focusing on Canada – partly to honor the Olympic spirit, and partly because their results just ranked better in Google. Though I wasn't that surprised by what I read, its implications for small businesses are truly startling.
To give you an idea why, let's go back a few years to 2007 – that being the latest year for which I have a full set of figures at hand. First, the facts: although some 85% of Canadian small businesses had access to the internet, only 36% deemed it necessary to make a business website of their own. Worse still: 45% made online purchases, yet a mere 6% fully embraced reciprocal e-commerce by building an online store1.
Partly inspired by the lasting image of last week's illustration (I swear that'll be engraved in my memory forever), and partly because my internet connection is going haywire, I thought I'd write a little about getting the most out of your online store. Specifically, how to ensure your e-commerce website attracts customers willing to stick around long enough to buy something. If you're making a business website, and your goal is to use it to sell stuff, then the last thing you want is for people to do a WIWO (walk-in, walk-out – and yes, I made that up) within the first few seconds of their arrival.
First impressions last, and getting your visitors to hand over their plastic means you really need to make sure you know how to make a website that inspires confidence – it's not enough just to have great stuff to sell.
Yeah, I know, by the time you've finished reading you'll have figured out that there are actually 7 steps, but I was hoping the first – subscribing to our e-commerce solution – was a given.
I was secretly hoping to invite Nicolas to write this article (mostly out of sheer laziness, but also because since he's taken to wearing a hat, I have so much more respect for him). But then he called in sick, so it's “6 steps to attaining e-commerce nirvana for your business website” ... by me.
As I said last week, the guys over at the computers with the big screens (a.k.a. the developers) have been busy lately - especially Nicolas - and the second big thing they've been feverishly working on is now online.
Yes, doomby's e-commerce website solution is finally here, so now you can not only make your own website with your favorite website builder, you can also use it to sell stuff too with your very own online store.
Did you ever wonder just what the big deal with e-commerce is? Let me help you. Try to imagine a business selling stuff that's been around for a long time (i.e. established products in an established market). Picked one? Good. Now picture that business experiencing double-digit sales growth - year in, year out – just because the owners of that business chose to make a website to sell their stuff online. By now, you should start to get an idea of why, even today, some people still tend to get a little excited at the mere mention of the word.
So I'll mention it, just for you: “e-commerce”. There, excited?