The idea of selling online with your own store is so appetizing. After all, you’re now opening up your business for an entire country or the entire world, depending on what you want.
But just like that dog in the window, there’s a lot more to running an online store than what meets the eye. And those deceptive challenges can be very difficult to deal with. And if you’re not prepared, it could severely damage or destroy you business.
So before you do any work on creating and building an ecommerce story, like hiring a developer, designing a site, etc., you need to actually sit down and think through whether or not an online store is good for you business.
Here are some questions to ask of yourself and your business before deciding whether or not to sell online.
Will the online store add to your business?
The first thing you need to ask yourself is if this online store will add to your business. That’s usually the top priority for any business. What value does it add?
And sometimes the answer to that question isn’t so clear. While it might seem obvious that adding an online store will only help , it might not be that way in practice.
After all, you have to fulfill orders and handle customers that are hundreds or thousands of miles away. And then, if you’re in the United States, there are taxes for each state that you have to worry about. Then you have to worry about the shipping and figuring out how to fix things if it all goes wrong.
All of that takes time away from you for your business. And if you’re trying to build a strong foundation for your business, maybe it’s best to focus on that foundation first before adding an online store. But do what’s right for your business.
Get your website ready for the holidays!
The time to think about your website and online store for the holidays isn’t the week before Thanksgiving or Black Friday. It’s now. Whether you want to build an online store or want to make sure you have the right web hosting and management, you need time to make the correct decisions and do it right. So let’s talk about your website for the holiday season.
Do you have a plan in place?
Next, you need to have a plan in place. Acting without a plan is planning to fail. And failure means catastrophic results for any business.
So, do you have a plan in place? Do you know who is going to monitor the website to make sure it’s working and that customers can find what ? Do you know who is going to get the notifications so that you can start the process of fulfilling the order? And just how is everything going to work together to make everything work?
All of these questions, and more, have to be answered before you start building out the online store. Trust me, you’ll feel a lot better about the whole thing if you have those questions answered before you start. You’ll know exactly what you and your team are doing, why your doing it and possibly even how it will help your business.
And that confidence will make everything work like you want it to.
Can you support all parts of the process?
Finally, are you able to support all of the parts of the process involved in selling online?
I’m not just talking about creating or maintaining the website side of things. I’m talking about the taxes that might be involved with selling over state lines. I’m talking about having a process to fulfill an order for a happy customer. And I’m talking about how are you going to ship products and what are you going to do if something goes wrong.
All of those items are things you might not be thinking about right now about your online site. But they are still oh so very important things. Arguably, they are more important than any other part of your online store. Because these involve things that keep customers happy. If a customer can’t access the store, that’s one thing; but creating an unhappy customer because you can’t help out with an order is a completely different thing.
You have to make sure that you and/or your team can do this and have procedures in place for just about every scenario that could happen. If you can’t support it, don’t do it.
So before you do any actually planning and building of your ecommerce website, make sure you decide if an online store is actually good for your business. At the end of the day, that’s what this all boils down to. If it’s going to grow your business, do it. If not, don’t.
So truly think about it. The future of your business depends on it.