By Juan Carlos Pedreira
Partner at Social Business Hub Digital (SBH)
Here’s the scoop: according to recent studies by the Adobe company, in May 2020 online sales reached a record $82.5 billion in the United States alone. This means that now is the time to adopt tools and expand your capabilities to sell your products or services online.
If your business already has a basic website, your first step should be to analyze its condition and capabilities. Did you develop it on a platform like WordPress or did you use services like Wix or GoDaddy? Did you program it manually? Have you given it very little maintenance or just a few updates?
It is possible that in order to get your webpage ready for online sales you only need to install plugins or services that help connect your main page. Today, companies that need a solution to activate online sales turn to platforms like Shopify to set up the shopping cart feature. However, before adding these plugins it is important that you consider:
- how many products you will sell online
- if the platform provides the flexibility of integrating with other applications and payment platforms
- if you have hybrid sales models for Business to Business (B2B) and Business to Consumer (B2C) transactions
Nowadays, one of the fastest growing e-commerce categories happens to be the B2B segment. Clients, who are already accustomed to dynamic services and easy transactions, seek a similar experience when conducting business-to-business transactions. This opens up a framework of new opportunities.
Prepare your e-commerce strategy
Take note of these steps to implement it:
- Define the profile of your current consumer and what other markets or new customers you want to reach to make sales.
- Check if the e-commerce system offers a solution to create an application for your company without having to develop separate or additional programming. Currently, mobile devices are the main vehicle people use to make online transactions.
- If your business works in the Business to Consumer (B2C) and Business to Business (B2B) sales mode, it is important to evaluate the implementation of an e-commerce system that has both functionalities pre-installed, such as Adobe Magento and BigCommerce.
- If you want to keep your e-commerce platform interconnected with your accounting and inventory management system, it is important to define this from the beginning. Not all e-commerce systems communicate easily with other systems. Sometimes particular integrations are needed.
- Determine the points of contact that this digital consumer would have. Will the company ship the product directly to the customer, or will it hire fulfillment services (a third-party warehouse that prepares and ships orders)? If someone places an order online, will you allow them to pick it up at the store or return items there too?
If you have an e-commerce page that is currently up and running, then your process would be one of optimization and integration to customer service channels, such as:
- Chat bots (a program that simulates having a conversation and offers automatic responses) from the WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger messaging applications.
- Integrating items online to Facebook Marketplace (the space for buying and selling on that social network) or perhaps interconnecting with the Amazon Marketplace.
The possibilities for optimizing your e-commerce system are endless. The important thing is to take those small initial steps and make your way in the world of virtual sales. Online purchases increased 76% over those made last year. As a consequence of the historical moment we are experiencing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in just months e-commerce’s growth has reached levels that were expected to be seen in four to six years. It’s time to act.
SBH Digital offers e-commerce, digital marketing, CRM, data analysis, and digital transformation consulting and solutions for companies in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. They are currently a business partner of the Adobe company to implement and support e-commerce solutions and digital marketing, among other areas. They are also a Microsoft partner for Dynamics 365, Azure, and Power BI solutions.
Banco Popular de Puerto Rico (Popular) has no affiliation or relationship with Juan Carlos Pedreira or SBH Digital. This article is of an informative nature and does not represent an endorsement or guarantee of its accuracy. Popular nor any of its affiliates, subsidiaries or related companies, are nor will be liable for any special, direct or indirect, incidental or consequential damages, including, but not limited to, loss of profits deriving from or related to communications, articles or advice provided by Juan Carlos Pedreira or SBH Digital or that may ensue from the information contained in this article. Popular is dedicated to providing banking services, so it is not engaged (directly or indirectly) in any type of merchant permit advisory services. If you require any of these services, you should seek the advice of a competent professional of your preference.