Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Should Small Businesses with an exclusive product go E-commerce?

By Dr. Cheryl Cottle
Many small businesses that deal exclusively with unique, one-of-a-kind, limited editions are now thinking about whether they should expand their exclusive business by going online. Many wonder if this approach to selling will reduce the value of their product in the eyes of their clients. The answer is no. What going online means is that you are now taking your business to a wider target audience. It means that you are now opening up what you do to others who will get a chance to see what you do, appreciate what you do and buy what you produce. It will also mean that you now have the opportunity to leverage the value of what you do. You now have a larger market; your would-be customers are no longer local but also international.

Going e-commerce does not mean that you are closing your “brick and mortar” store or your home-based store. It means that it is an extension of your business or an enlargement of your marketing plan. E-commerce simply means using a website with a shopping cart to enable your customers the ability to buy online.

 E-commerce provides you with the opportunity to increase your market and take it before an international audience. It creates the opportunity to move from your mini local market to a macro market. However with this type of marketing, there are additional changes that will incur on your production, manufacturing, marketing, customer service, machinery and equipments, computer technology, shipping and handling and other key operational processes within your company. In some cases it will require an additional workforce to manage each operation as you expand.

 Things that you will need in going e-commerce: 
  • An e-commerce website will have to be designed and constructed. You can self-design and construct your own website if you have the skills to do so
  • Access an outside web designer to translate what you have in mind with sound design techniques to come up with an e-commerce site that meets your needs.
  • Register a domain name
  • Decide which web hosting company to host your website
  • Think about the design features for your website
  • Determine which products you will display
  • Generate your product description
  • Product Photography
  • Select a shopping cart
  • Establish a merchant account
  • Establish policies (including, purchasing, customer services, shipping and handling, etc.)
  • Shipping and handling - - which shipping provider will you use to facilitate your customer’s order
  • Establish a customer service unit to deal with customer-related issues.

If you require an ecommerce website we can build it for you. For more information on how we can help contact us at: ccottle@drcottle

Dr. Cheryl Cottle is the Chief Consultant of Cottle's Professional Consulting. Cottle's Professional Consulting has a multidisciplinary portfolio including education, organizational development, professional development, and business development. Dr. Cottle is also a coach and mentor in areas of professional and business development. Interested in a service, please contact her at: ccottle@drcottle.com

©Copyright 2010 by Dr. Cheryl Cottle and Cottle’s Professional Consulting

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