Why You Should Add an E-commerce Website to Your Business

April 10, 2020
Average Read Time: 5 minutes

If you've never considered adding an online store to your existing brick-and-mortar business, now is the time to do it. A recent report from the U.S. Department of Commerce showed a 14.9 percent increase for e-commerce sales from 2018 to 2019. Existing businesses can tap into this e-commerce market growth and leverage online sales to create new revenue streams for themselves.

Adding to or starting an online business presence by accepting online payments enables you to adopt a multichannel or omnichannel sales approach. Customers and businesses are buying and selling across multiple channels. Turning your website into an online shopping experience can delight your customers. Successful brick-and-click businesses focus on the customer experience, which includes giving them the choice of how and when to engage your business.

Check out our blog post about an omnichannel approach to commerce. It's only a three-minute read and lays the groundwork for understanding the importance of using different sales channels.

In this post, we'll explore the benefits of expanding your brick-and-mortar business into the e-commerce space with an online store. We'll demonstrate that there's more to your business than just accepting payments in your store. In today's consumer-driven market, you need the ability to sell your products online, which requires a few tools:

Build a New Website or Use Your Existing Website

If you don't already have a website or an online store for your business, there are several options available to you. Using a website builder is the quickest and most cost-effective solution. For example, the MerchantE WebCommerce tool enables you to design and launch a professional website in minutes and start selling online.

If you already have an existing website for your business, you can update your site layout in preparation for additional pages like a product inventory page and a payment page. Additionally, you should look for ways to refresh your website content periodically.

Homepage
Your website's homepage is the entrance to your online store, and the information should be up-to-date and relevant. Your homepage is a great place for you to call attention to a few of your featured products and services as well as a welcome message to your website visitors. You can also use your homepage to offer your customers an opportunity to sign up for emails and reward them with exclusive promotional codes and early access to new products or services.

Products and Services
These are the pages where you can showcase the quality and value of your products. It's important to use accurate and detailed descriptions along with high-quality images to make your product pages work well for you. Be sure to include any additional product information that might resonate with your target customers, such as material sourcing, charitable proceeds, etc.

Contact Us
When adding or starting a business online, you'll have access to a much larger potential customer base than a brick-and-mortar only business. Your Contact Us page can make it easy for your customers to find your email, phone number, and physical address. It's also a good idea to include either a Contact Us form or even a chat/Instant Message feature so your website becomes the hub of commerce for your brand.

Policy Pages - Returns, Exchanges, Shipping
Adding a page to address return policies, exchange policies, and shipping policies helps shoppers understand your policies before they complete their purchase. As you develop your website for online shopping, consider updating any return and exchange policies that are already in place with your brick-and-mortar store. Your new brick-and-click business model should provide a seamless customer experience--even with returns and exchanges.

Quick Tip: Don't forget to optimize your e-commerce website for mobile devices to create a seamless user experience.

Choose a Shopping Cart

Taking your business online means you'll need a shopping cart so customers can add products as they browse your e-commerce site. Without shopping cart software, customers would be required to purchase one item per transaction, which is not ideal. Your shopping cart software enables customers to add multiple products to a virtual shopping cart and displays the total price (including sales tax plus any additional fees). Your customers should also be able to enter discount codes and promotional codes in the shopping cart.

E-commerce sites today experience an average shopping cart abandonment rate of 69.57 percent. Read our field guide to combat shopping cart abandonment and recover the sale.

While your e-commerce shopping cart is an important component of your online store, your customers will need a place to enter their payment details. Your website's payment page is the next step in the customer journey.

Include a Payment Page

The payment page on your website enables your customers to enter their payment information and complete the transaction. The easiest and most secure payment solution for your e-commerce website is a third-party hosted payment page.

We've covered the fundamentals of using a hosted payment page, including all of the benefits, in our blog post, What Is a Hosted Payment Page?

Connect with Social Media

As we mentioned in our blog post about the value omnichannel commerce, successful businesses are engaging their customers and target customers wherever they are. For today's consumer, that means you'll need to engage them in the store, online, and on social media channels like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

All-in-One Solution: MerchantE WebCommerce

The MerchantE WebCommerce product, included in our Business Essentials bundle, is a comprehensive solution that enables you to build a website and have it up and running in minutes. The shopping cart and secure hosted payment page are included, and they're powered by our end-to-end financial technology platform. Contact us today to take your business online.

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