Why do you have an eCommerce site? This is the question that thousands of manufacturers need to be asking themselves as they review their strategy for 2014. If you do not have a good answer for this question then it is time for a change.
If you are selling in a B2B manufacturing environment and you have an eCommerce component to your site, chances are it is out of date. Your development company, who you no longer use, told you that you needed it years ago and convinced you that it was going to make a huge impact on your sales. Ideas of revenue growth without the overhead of a sales person and extending your reach to new prospects got you excited and you okayed the eCommerce platform.
1) Checkout Issues
Selling online all boils down to one thing; trust. In order to get someone to commit to giving you their credit card information, without talking to you or meeting you in person, there has to be a certain level of trust established. Gaining the customer's trust is extremely hard and it may be a take a long time, but losing it can happen quickly. There is no worse way to lose the buyer’s trust than issues with the checkout process. They are interested in your product. They are qualified and ready to buy. They trust your value add and your price point. Then they are gone forever. Without proper inbound marketing strategies in place, you may lose this customer's business and have no way of getting it back. They committed to you and you let them down
2) You Don’t Know How to Update Your Site
On of the craziest things that I hear regarding manufacturers with outdated eCommerce sites is that not only have they not made updates in years, but they do not even have the log in information to make the updates. If you are going to be outsourcing your eCommerce development and strategy work, you need to ensure that you are always keeping record of all log in information. This sounds very simple, but it happens and can delay your future developers from do their job properly.
3) Your Site Looks Dated
There needs to be market research to make sure that your site is not only keeping up with your competitors, but also for total industry standards. Saying that your competitors have an old looking site is not a good excuse. People expect there to be a certain level of professionalism and functionality when they come to an eCommerce website. People are not going to stop at a old, dilapidated, and worn-out looking building; why would they stop at your site?
4) Your Login Process is not Convenient
If you are selling into long term accounts, there needs to be a specific login for each account. This is a great way to track orders, provide discounts, and make for overall easy reordering. I understand that there may be a sales person connected to the account, but there needs to be an easy ordering process for these accounts. People are busy and they are purchasing differently. Make ordering as easy as possible and you will be sure to make it harder for them to run to a competitor.
5) Outdated Product Catalog
If you have a site with an outdated product selection, you are missing opportunities. Sites that are out of date do nothing to help you in your sales process. Even if your sales team is communicating new products and benefits during calls and presentations, your potential customers are still going to your site for validation. You need to look at your site as a resource and a vital part of your sales process.
Your customers shop differently. If you have invested in an eCommerce site in the past, make sure that you leveraging it correctly. An eCommerce site is opportunity. If you do not have the resources internally to keep your site updated and functioning correctly, reach out to an agency. When working with an agency, understand your investment and focus on long-term ROI. Review your current eCommerce site and if any of the signs discussed are true, it is time to update.
For another blog post about eCommerce, check out:
5 Smart SEO Strategies for eCommerce