eCommerce is proving to be the choice of many businesses due to the apparent downturn in the economy and consumer demand. With expected continued growth it may be time to measure up the pro’s and con’s of developing an eCommerce presence and what steps are necessary to experience growth within this proven strategyAccording to Forrester Research, 2007 online sales experienced a growth of 21% over 2006 and future trends show a continued growth of around 14% p/a over the next 5 years, despite the current wavering economy.The Dilemma of developing an eCommerce site that performs -How do you build a good eCommerce website that delivers profits to the bottom line? One of the great challenges for Australian Businesses deciding to tackle the on-line world, is in the style of site they believe they need to design to generate any real profits.Director of retail Phil Bonanno from The Leading Edge said, “Many websites in Australia are a basic catalogue pages placed on their website. There isn’t really a good demonstration of integration between websites and other technologies. A Majority of websites lack innovation, offer nothing new or exciting and fail to engage their visitors,”This identifies an untapped market in Australia, where anyone with vision can establish themselves as the market leader in their niche.Successful eCommerce websites are built by using Proven Techniques -The key to a successful eCommerce site is in establishing a solid foundation and planning the future success. It’s important to understand the message you want your potential customers to interpret from your business and how a customer will buy a product or service from you.Think of creating a new website like the opening a new outlet or store.Would you expect to have a high performing store if your customers had to walk through an unidentifiable maze to find your cash register? Or even worse, would you design a physical store where you customer is ready to buy only to discover they can’t complete their transaction as they are shopping in a display only store?It is critical for your customers to find their shopping experience simple and enjoyable.It is possible to achieve this through a combination of proven web design and eCommerce techniques.eCommerce offers a Measurable Return on Investment -One of the greatest challenges in marketing is through understanding what does and doesn’t work. Different marketing strategies can take months to come to fruition and you may not even understand if they are actually achieving a return on investment. eCommerce is proving to break free from the mould offering a medium that allows successful measure of campaigns through applications such as Google Analytics.As David Trewern from marketing agency DTDigital was quoted as saying “You are able to prove your return on your investment – it is pretty difficult to find that level of information and data from other methods of measurement. You no longer have to guess what is working which gives you an upper hand in a bad economic environment, when people want to ensure they are achieving a result.”eCommerce offers the opportunity for all businesses to compete on a level playing field -In the world of Bricks and Mortar there is a huge difference between small and big business. Myers, David Jones and Woolworths hold the obvious upper hand over smaller independent retailers. This translates across many different industries and identifies a necessity to consider other mediums in order to grow business.Any business with a solid eCommerce plan are proof anyone can out perform their competition in the on-line world.vroomvroomvroom are one of many examples of sites that demonstrate how a business can compete on the same playing field with websites like Avis, Hertz and Budget car rentals through smart design that make their eCommerce solution intuitive and easy to use.They currently have only 10 employees, and through well thought eCommerce strategies and implementation of technology have established themselves as market leaders in the Australian car hire industry. By redeveloping their eCommerce strategy they managed to grow their revenue by 121% in 12 months.Do I need to take out a second mortgage to get a piece of the eCommerce action?With expected growth of 14% p/a it is important to ensure you have a well thought eCommerce strategy to establish yourself as a leader in your niche. This will obviously involve an investment, but will not cost you anywhere near the price of setting up a physical shop and hiring a team of people to run it. Think of an eCommerce presence like a sales person servicing your customers 24/7, reducing your time and expenses you’d normally have to spend.In today’s economic climate it is critical to ensure you are adapting to the market place. What better way to do that then to become a market leader in your niche through the development of an eCommerce strategy that will outperform your competition.
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