If you regularly stop by this blog, you have probably noticed an increase in posts about eCommerce. This is of course not an accident but rather us demonstrating the increased importance and relevancy of eCommerce webstores for wholesalers and distributors. In today’s post, we will take a look at where eCommerce is headed, and hopefully illustrate the importance of online selling to meet changing buying behaviour.
Brendan Soucie of Demac Media wrote a great post on the Top 5 eCommerce Trends for 2012. In the article he addresses 5 areas in which eCommerce will play an even larger role this year:
1. Higher level engagement through social media
Social media is a powerful sales tool when combined with eCommerce. The ability for people to recommend products and have conversations about them with their friends is a dream come true for business owners. Social media is certainly much more than a buzz term at this point and is really a key to success, especially for the online selling space. It is becoming more and more common for wholesalers and distributors to sell products directly to the end consumer online. If you have not explored this opportunity, perhaps now is the time. Start building those relationships on social media!
2. Tablet & Mobile Shopping
Why not give your customers multiple ways to access your products? Surely this is not a bad thing. Customers of all types are spending more time on devices such as tablets and mobile phones. Wouldn’t it be great if they could submit orders and buy product using these devices? They may even be more likely to buy product on off-peak times like the weekend.
3. Customer Support Channels
Customers should have multiple options for help. Some customers like to email while others need to speak to a live person. The eCommerce space is necessitating changes to the way support is given to customers. For example, real-time chat is becoming more and more popular as is video conferences. What options do you currently have for your customers? Surely, you should be more than one communication channel with your customers.
4. Website Experience
No longer is it acceptable to have websites that were designed in 1995. Customers make active judgements based on site layout and functionality. This may be less of the case for the B2B space, but it is still a factor. Ensure your website is both user-friendly and conveys a level of professionalism with forward-thinking functionality. For example, can customers place orders through your website? Can they request support from your site? Is your site properly optimized for search engines?
5. Job Opportunities
Finding qualified individuals to help you run with these new trends can be hard – particularly for those businesses that have no experience in this space to begin with. Get a start on it sooner rather than later as it will likely only become more difficult in the near future to recruit for these positions. The alternative is to seek out help from organizations that have these key individuals to help you grow your business.