Business leaders that have mastered the brick-and-mortar marketplace have found themselves struggling with the complexities of eCommerce.
I get it. Selling online can be overwhelming, especially when you are approaching it for the first time. This was the case before the pandemic and is even more so now with all of the pressures that have accompanied 2020.
You are not alone. Millions of business owners are struggling to adopt a digital model too. But getting started with eCommerce doesn’t have to be complicated. When approached from the right angle, processes for selling online can be implemented quickly and integrated seamlessly to make business operations more efficient in the long run.
Selling Online—Frequently Asked Questions
Making the move to selling online naturally gives rise to many questions. The first step to implementing a new online selling strategy is to understand what these questions are. If you understand the questions you are trying to answer, then you can plan for success in this new digital marketplace.
Start with questions like, Which of my products are feasible to sell online? Which of my products will have the most value in an online marketplace? How do I attract new customers to my eCommerce store? How will I introduce existing customers to the online environment?
You’ll need to understand the process for fulfilling and shipping orders in a timely manner and make decisions about which courier services will be the best fit for you. Processes will need to be put in place to efficiently create shipping labels and schedule pickups.
What about packaging? Explore which packaging alternatives will give you the most bang for your buck while protecting your products.
What about marketing and selling online? How do you get the word out? The online marketing environment is also very different from physical marketing channels. Your marketing strategy will need to make use of primarily digital platforms to get your message through to your target audience.
How will you track your inventory so that you don’t oversell? How will you maintain control over goods going out?
You will also need to look at new ways of capturing payments. But which processors are the most affordable, and how long will the money take to arrive in your accounts? How do you handle returns and lost packages?
How will you retrain your staff to adapt to all of these new processes?
Finally, where are you going to find the time to figure all of this out while you’re still busy just trying to run your business and navigate this new normal?
If any or all of this resonates with you, this is a perfectly normal mind-set and you are not alone. Here’s something to ruminate on, though . . .
Ecommerce transaction volumes in most retail sectors are up 74 percent compared to March of last year. This tells us that while brick-and-mortar locations are shut down, the online marketplace is thriving and now is the time to act.
Make It Happen! Fast!
So how do you plan and execute a new eCommerce strategy in these trying times?
It’s difficult to sit down and think through a solution during the crazy days of COVID-19, isn’t it? At this point, you may not feel your most thoughtful or strategic.
So what we’ve done to make it easier for you is we've built our Project Composer™ tool to get you started planning your eCommerce project. The process is simple, even if you’re struggling to focus with all of your competing priorities right now.
You start with a project name. Set a goal and name a few results that your looking to achieve by selling online.
Next, you’re going to list all of the fears, challenges, obstacles, risks, and doubts that you see yourself encountering with this project. Be honest with yourself. This is the secret sauce.
What this exercise does is drill into your unconscious thinking patterns so that your mind can fully grasp these objects of concern. That’s why it’s so important to capture it all here and to not leave anything out.
Part three is a rethink. Here you’re going to take each one of those resistant items you’ve listed in the previous step and come up with strategies for managing that resistance. Oftentimes, you’ll be surprised by how quickly you’re able to come up with strategies once you’ve taken the time to drill past those automated thinking patterns.
My business coach, Dan Sullivan, says things that oppose, or that seem to oppose, our goals are actually the raw materials for achieving them. Many times we’re able to neutralize the things that we’re concerned about and map out a reasonable strategy to overcome them.
When you’re finished rethinking, look at all of the strategies you’ve come up with and make a decision. Are these strategies good enough? Do you have the makings of a reasonable project here? Could you achieve each goal and result listed in step one using these strategies? Are you ready, willing, and able to proceed, or do you need to create a more logical plan?
Many times you’ll find the answer is yes, move forward. But you might also find the answer is no and that you just don’t have the resources required to do it. Maybe those nagging doubts in the back of your mind were right.
If that’s the case, you’ve taken the time to map it out in a structured way, and you can move on knowing that eCommerce, or whatever project you’re considering, isn’t the right thing for you (at least not right now).
If you have determined that you are ready to move forward, this exercise will encourage you to draw out a plan that works.
There’s a glimmer of hope for these emerging eCommerce businesses. By following an online customer journey approach, you are actually simplifying the online selling process. After you’ve done the legwork here, you’ll find your processes will actually become more efficient simply by working within a primarily automated digital model.
If you want to discuss more tools to get started on your eCommerce journey, book a free chat with the Second Spring team. This conversation will help you to decide where to go next with your eCommerce strategy.