With e-commerce becoming increasingly accessible you may be able to expand your customer base without having to compromise on your business costs. Before doing this however, there may be several things that you will need to consider to ensure that this is viable for your business and likely to deliver the requisite financial return. This is especially true when you consider the e-commerce model and the suggestion that it may not be entirely sustainable.
The Factors Associated with the e-Commerce Business Model
One very important factor for determining whether or not you should take your business online is costs. The two major costs relating to opening your business up to the world are the cost of running and maintaining your website and shipping and export costs. Although you may already have a company website, maybe even one that provides basic information on your offers, an e-commerce website will require many more functions. For instance, the ability to showcase all of your products, including providing them will full details and a checkout.
Although your existing website provider may be able to provide you with this service it is still worth shopping around to try and find the best deal for you. After all, if you do wish to stay with your current provider you still have the option to check if they will be able to provide you with a price match on a better quote. The same may be said in relation to your shipping costs. With e-commerce becoming so popular there is now a wide range of companies providing shipping and export services. The key to getting the right price and selecting the right provider is to ensure that they make regular shipments to the countries that you wish to export to.
The Bottom Line
A further factor that you may wish to consider when choosing a provider is to consider the additional services that they may be able to offer. Although a quote that is provided may not appear to be the lowest, it may be the most competitive when you consider all of the additional services that are included, particularly if you have to pay for them separately for the other supplier.
Take your website provider, for instance. You may wish to take into account the added value of having a service whereby the website provider updates your website as part of the cost. In relation to shipping, go for providers who offer various services such as express shipping and package tracking.
Before making any big changes to your company or business model, it’s important to do comprehensive research. Keep on top of industry trends and the latest technologies to ensure you understand all the different possibilities. Understanding the challenges, the potential benefits and any issues that could arise are vital if a change in business model is right for your company. E-commerce can offer amazing opportunities for a business but only if it’s done well.
Cover photo credit: Tim Reckmann / Flickr