Online selling is unavoidable today for businesses of all sizes. But what are its benefits? What are the strategies to adopt to increase sales? To answer these questions, we interviewed Michael Bliah, president and co-founder of Le Site. This Montreal company that specializes in developing online e-commerce websites, has just won the Best B2B User Experience award at the prestigious Imagine Excellence Awards contest in Las Vegas for Rousseau Metal’s website.
Is there a business type that is best suited for online sales?
All businesses can sell products or services online. Of course, we all know the Best Buy, Amazon and Walmarts. But even my local fitness club can have its site and let me purchase a subscription online. We also tend to forget that online sales are not only for products. It also targets services. The travel industry, revolutionized by e-commerce, is a very good example.
On the other hand, an e-commerce platform does not always lead to an online purchase. Some of our customers who sell products worth hundreds of thousands of dollars ask us to build digital experiences. They use this to attract potential customers, in particular by requests for bids. For example, on the Rousseau Metal website, specializing in storage solutions, the items can reach $90,000. The user goes on the web to view the information he needs, build his customized industrial cabinet, then submit a request for quote. The sale then takes place online or offline.
What are the benefits of e-commerce?
Of course, the main objective is to increase sales. But there are other benefits, such as:
- Reduce operating costs
- An e-commerce platform, unlike a bricks-and-mortar store, is open 24/7 and requires fewer sales staff. In addition, it has a wealth of tools and features to reduce costs. As a very simple example, consider if your customer service is overworked. By placing relevant information about your products on your site, you will relieve customer service. With a live chat, you maximize its effectiveness by responding to several people at the same time. The sales and ordering process can also be automated, which considerably reduces costs.
- Control the message and test approaches
The web enables greater control over the messages transmitted to customers. It also allows testing different approaches. You can, for example, adopt a different strategy depending on whether you are dealing with the Ontario market or the Montreal market.
- Easier analysis
One of the benefits of the internet is that it allows for very easy collection of data. Based on these data, we can then make informed decisions and adjust more quickly than on other channels. For example, if my conversion rate is higher in the Ontario market than in the Montreal market, I will adopt an appropriate sales strategy.
- Be more agile
With Google, launching a campaign is done in a few hours and can contribute to changing the situation. Nothing like the long process that had to be gone through before!
- Have your best seller available 24/7
A web platform can concentrate all the best selling strategies in one place, all the time.
- Attract new customers
Of course, the purpose of an e-commerce site is to attract new customers. But it also permits retaining current customers with automated services, such as consulting their account online.
What questions should be asked when we want to create an online store?
- Identify online competitors
It must not be forgotten that on the internet we are in competition with the whole world! It is necessary therefore to analyze competitors and differentiate from them. This may include offering unparalleled service, extended warranty, a promotion, etc.
- Surround yourself with good partners
At Le Site, for the technology part we collaborate with Magento, the world’s leading platform for e-commerce. The technology infrastructures must be able to support complex solutions.
- Organize the order management process
It’s necessary to plan from A to Z the processes for order management, online payment, delivery of the product to the customer, returns management, inventory, etc.
In short, there are many details to be considered when building an e-commerce site. Hence the value of doing business with experts. This avoids many nasty surprises.