Many people misunderstand E-Commerce – and many are still afraid of it! No, they are not afraid that late one night E-Commerce will attack them in an alleyway. They are afraid that E-Commerce will destroy their livelihoods – so that they’ll end up sleeping in an alleyway under a cardboard box.
That sounds far-fetched – but at Maximumm.com we have worked with many clients who have come to us with fears not far from that. And you don’t need to walk too far down any main street in Australia to hear the mumbles of traditional retailers and other businesses who are scared E-Commerce will be their ruin.
The good news is you can stop worrying. E-Commerce is not a villain, if anything E-Commerce is a super hero, who will turn up at just the right moment, when you need to be saved. All you have to do is to know how to call E-Commerce, and E-Commerce will come running to save you.
So, to dispel a few myths;
Myth 1: You can’t compete with the big boys
Wrong! The big boys can’t compete with you.
Whilst in the real world it is true that you can’t compete with the likes of Woolworths and Coles, because they have huge marketing budgets and TV advertisements, and buying power to undercut your prices – in the online world, everyone has a chance to sell. There was a time when Amazon started, and everyone laughed and assumed they wouldn’t be able to compete with the big, real world shops. Those people aren’t laughing now. And every day of the week another new online store opens and starts to win business – competing directly against those big, real world players.
You CAN compete with anyone online – and more importantly, if you don’t try, your business is at serious risk of losing its sales to some savvy new start up. And whatever business you are in, don’t think that can’t happen to you. As the common sense old exression goes, you need to be in it, to win it.
Myth 2: E-Commerce is expensive
Yes, there may have been a time when E-Commerce was expensive, but that time is long gone. Nowadays there are thousands of different E-Commerce options available, from simple $20 a month build yourself platforms, through open source systems, all the way up to dedicated bespoke E-Commerce platforms built especially for you by a web development company. And even the most expensive option is a tiny fraction of what it would have cost ten years ago, and probably less than the cost of paying the minimum wage of one person to stand in your shop and play with their smartphone while potential customers buy online from your competitors.
Myth 3: The best thing for me, is to use my website to bring customers into my shop / business
Yes, of course it is nice to have customers coming into your shop. Its nice to meet people face to face, and they probably will be more loyal than online customers. But unless your shop is in Pitt Street Sydney (the most expensive per metre real estate in the Southern Hemisphere, but some counts the world), its unlikely the majority of people can actually get to your shop or business. And even if they are within a few kilometres of your business, most people nowadays just don’t have the time to go shopping, and many others actually prefer the experience of shopping online, where they can take their time, compare prices, research products etc. The simple fact is that millions of Australians are buying goods and services online every day, and if you are not offering your goods or services to them online, you are missing the biggest customer base in Australia.
Myth 4: I can rely on coupon sites like groupon to do my E-Commerce for me
Yes, coupon types sites like groupon are great ways for consumers to get online bargains. Many shop owners are offering huge discounts, below their cost, to get people to buy from them through coupon sites. But these shoppers invariably descend on businesses like a horde of locusts, and just buy that one offer and never come back. In other words, its great for shoppers but really bad news for your business. You’d be best to avoid putting offers on coupon sites. Instead, promote your own offers through your own site, with your own E-Commerce offering, That way YOU collect the loyal customers, not the coupon site.
Myth 5: If I have an online store that will take sales away from my actual business
It’s amazing how often I hear this – and I can see that there is some logic in this. I can understand why people would assume that if a customer buys from their online shop, it might mean that customer won’t buy from their real business.
But wait a minute. Do you have 100% of the customers in the Australian market buying your products? Or maybe 50% – around ten million. Or how about ten percent – around two million customers?
Even if you have ten percent of Australians loyally buying from you, that means that 90% of the people who buy from your online store are SOMEONE ELSE’S CUSTOMERS, who are instead buying from you. Got it? And if you have one percent, or 200,000 Australians buying from you, that means that 99% of your online customers will be someone else’s customers. And so on…does that make sense now?
Myth 6: Its too difficult / I am not very technical
Yes, there may have been a time when this was difficult, but not any more. Online stores and other E-Commerce platforms are pretty easy to set up, and can be connected to your existing business systems pretty easily. And even managed from your smart phone. Literally anyone can do it – even my mother setup an online store without any help!
I hope this article has helped to clarify some of your confusion if you have been afraid of E-Commerce. And really, f you aren’t already doing it, what are you waiting for – a facebook invitation? It’s time to grab the e-bull by it’s e-horns and launch your own online startup store.
By Peter Carr