It’s Time to Add an E-Commerce Channel to Your Small Business

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By: Allbusiness
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1. Understand the costs. 

The first thing to think about is cost. Building an e-commerce site is going to require an upfront investment, and it’s best that you estimate this dollar amount as accurately as possible before getting started.

2. Launch a site. 

Actually taking action and launching a site is the hardest part. But once you get started, you’ll realize that it’s fairly easy—especially if you use a site-building platform.

During this phase, focus less on the aesthetics of your site and more on the user experience. You can always come back later and change things like color schemes, images, and graphics, but it’s much harder to make adjustments to things like navigation.

3. Make mobile a priority. 

When moving online, your goal shouldn’t be to follow the status quo. In order to make your presence known, you need to do things differently. One key area where you can stand out is with mobile. Roughly 30 percent of all mobile shopping is now done on smartphones and tablets, yet few sites are properly optimized.

4. Figure out inventory logistics. 

When an online channel is added to your business model, you obviously have to make changes to your supply chain and inventory practices. Specifically, you’ll need to answer questions like these:

  • Where will inventory be stored?
  • How will orders be processed?
  • Who will pick and ship orders?
  • What will online demand for specific products look like?

There’s a lot to think about and you want to make sure you aren’t assuming anything. If you aren’t careful, you could overwhelm your supply chain, and ultimately compromise both channels of your business.

5. Don’t forget about brick-and-mortar. 

When adding an e-commerce channel, it’s easy to forget about your existing brick-and-mortar channel. Be aware of this and make a point of not compromising your current business model. The goal is not to cannibalize your existing sales, but to instead increase sales via another channel. If you have the resources, consider hiring someone to head up your e-commerce division, so that you can focus on the core business.

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